Tim (Pontiac, MI): Are the Pistons still targeting Rodney Stuckey at 15? Will he be there?
Chad Ford: I don't think they are targeting him. I think if Al Thornton and Nick Young are off the board, he's the guy. If those other guys are there ... I'm not sure what they'll do. Stuckey is also getting play at No. 11.
Apparently, nobody really knows what the Pistons will do on this draft day.
Chad Ford's mock draft reasoning is the closest to reality.
The skinny: At this point, the Pistons will take the best player who slides to them. Thornton, Nick Young and Stuckey are all on the radar screen here.
I could care less for the mock drafts and the positing of such purveyors. Most of their reasoning tends to make sense, but the only opinion that matters for Detroit is the one from Joe Dumars, and much like San Antonio, of late, both teams have been rather quiet.
You could care less for more draft strategies and theories, but here's my idea of Joe's draft section on his to-do list that he mentioned when he spent a day with the media:
1. Draft starting center
1a. If no pick at #15 exists for immediate use, package for trade.
2. Draft backup point guard who can play shooting guard.
3. Draft backup small forward who can drive lane and score.
Detroit's only chance to select a starting center guaranteed to play today in this draft . . . that's Greg Oden, and there was never a way to get that guy. There was hope at various points that we could select someone who had experience as a center, but the way this draft's shaping, you're not looking at many starting centers and points. That's almost always the case, anyway, so it's not a "man Detroit never gets what they need" gripe that I sometimes let slip.
I could live with Stuckey, and I could probably live with any of the points taken at 15 minus guys like Crittendon who have been identified as guys who need more time to contribute quality minutes . . . even off the bench.
I wouldn't mind Spencer Hawes. I would mind Sean Williams. I wouldn't mind Jason Smith. I would mind Glen Davis.
I could see Detroit filling the point backup in the draft with their first pick, and then, Detroit tries for a backup center. Or, if the points and guards are not optimal, Hawes might be a slight stretch at 15, but as far as reaching is concerned . . .
Also, excuse me if I chuckle when I hear Marco Belinelli at 27. This is the Italian version of Carlos Delfino. No thanks. Did Detroit deal Carlos so they could parse minutes for one backup shooting guard among two more? I don't think Flip Murray's going anywhere, and as much as they wanted Carlos to be a shooting guard / small forward, he wasn't much of either while he was here. That's Belinelli, from what I can read. G / F . . . not a substitute for a backup small forward.
As for other teams, the quick hits:
1. Portland: Take Oden. This will not be a Bowie / Jordan situation. I don't believe either will be significantly better or worse than the other. Both should be solid. If one fails due to injury, that's not an easy prediction. Clippers aren't sitting there screaming about how they should have known Shaun Livingston's knee disclocation was a matter of time. Oden's current ailments of back and hand aren't Grant Hill Serious. If we were talking ankle or knee, then yes. We aren't. Select Oden.
2. Seattle: Take Durant. This will not be a Bowie / Jordan situation. Durant's frightfully thin, but so is Tayshaun Prince. That's your worst case scenario. In fact, Durant's probably a lot better than Tayshaun on offense. The same Oden worries about injury are moot. Durant has no significant history of such injuries. You and Portland would only get jobbed by poor fortune if one or either flopped. Neither are likely to do so. So, select Durant.
3. Atlanta: If there is any truth to your part in this story, then shame on you. Essentially, it seems like you passed on landing Amare Stoudemire because one owner vetoed the deal. The world hates Detroit, but I hate your sorry franchise. Your in-fighting makes professional sport look awful. You are billionaires and millionaires bickering like two homeless people over a hot dog in the garbage. If franchises could get pregnant . . . I would abort your children. Stoudemire was your best option. No other trade will likely be acceptable. You take Al Horford. You will screw this up, which is a more likely outcome.
After Atlanta, because of Atlanta, it's murky.
However, in a draft like this, so pregnant with talent . . . I can't help but think that Yi Jianlian is Darko Milicic. If you care, please review their draft day material, and tell me if I'm dead wrong.
Guys I like:
Anyone on Hollinger's new pro rater mathy-math formula (need ESPN Insider to see). I'll go with him . . . loosely, I'll go. He admits where he's wrong, and he tries to figure out why his systems fail . . . and his systems work more than they don't. One way his system failed was in the 2003 NBA Draft. He had Mike Sweetney rated #2 overall among NCAA prospects. Sweetney is a head-scratcher to Hollinger where it isn't to me. You can't always predict a guy who literally is eating his way out of the pro league. When Sweetney couldn't put down the sandwich, that's where that Hollinger system failed.
So, Hollinger's rater looks like this. My bit's in parentheses:
1. Kevin Durant 2. Greg Oden 3. Mike Conley Jr. 4. Thaddeus Young 5. Brandan Wright 6. Al Horford 7. Nick Fazekas 8. Josh McRoberts (?!?) 9. Rodney Stuckey 10. Jared Dudley (?!?) 11. Joakim Noah 12. Glen Davis (Not just the draft day injury - he's a whale. No. 2nd round.) 13. Sean Williams (Immature. 2nd round.) 14. Jeff Green 15. Kyle Visser (?!?) 16. Herbert Hill (?!?) 17. Javaris Crittendon 18. Wilson Chandler 19. Julian Wright (Wow.) 20. Daequan Cook 21. D.J. Strawberry 22. Jason Smith 23. Alando Tucker (?!?) 24. Corey Brewer (Wwwwooowww.) 25. Al Thornton (BBQ) 26. Marcus Williams 27. Acie Law (Wow). 28. Aaron Gray 29. Zabian Dowdell (Just a thought - Zabian's a bad name. Schoolyard beatdown bad.) 30. Spencer Hawes (Wow.)
Nick Young, from USC, he rates really low.
I think Hollinger's point is that some of these guys in the 2nd round could go in the first. There's a lot of hype in this draft, just like there was in the 2003 NBA Draft.
Do remember that these are the NCAA players available, among Hollinger's rankings. I have no idea how guys like Yi translate. To me, they're all Darko and Maciej Lampe. I'm biased against foreign talent, since they're top dogs in a small pond for talent. They're rarely Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, or Dirk Nowitzki when they play in the NBA.