In the past three NBA Drafts, a player projected to be selected before the Detroit Pistons’ pick has fallen into their laps. With the surprise of PF Anthony Bennett going 1st overall to Cleveland and PF Cody Zeller going 4th overall to Charlotte, it looked as though the Pistons were going to be fortunate again. After the Sacramento Kings took SG Ben McLemore with the 7th pick, all three of the top point guards (Trey Burke, C.J. McCollum, and Michael Carter-Williams) were still on the board. While it had been reported that the Pistons were interested in drafting a point guard and moving current PG Brandon Knight to shooting guard, Detroit surprised everyone when they selected SG Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’6” – 204lbs.) out of Georgia.
The Pistons definitely had a need for a shooting guard with good size and deep range, and Caldwell-Pope certainly fits that description. Caldwell-Pope played under the radar in his two years at Georgia, but he is one of the best shooters in this year’s draft (43% from the field and 37% from 3-point range last season). KCP is a good athlete with a high basketball IQ, and he gives the Pistons the legitimate shooting guard that they haven't had since Richard Hamilton. KCP averaged 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game on a very average Georgia team. With his quick release and range, KCP will help Detroit stretch the floor and provide a little more room for PF Greg Monroe and C Andre Drummond to work down low…something the Pistons haven’t had in a while. When the defender closes out on him, KCP can find the open man and deliver it with a good pass. KCP also plays both sides of the floor proving to be an excellent and willing defender. He still needs to work on his ball handling and mid-range game a little, but KCP is a hard worker willing to put in the time needed to continue to improve. If head coach Maurice Cheeks and the Pistons believe that they can mold Brandon Knight into a more effective point guard, Caldwell-Pope will give Detroit a nice weapon from the outside to continue to build with and around. (Photo from Google Images)
With the 37th pick, the Pistons took PF Tony Mitchell (6’9” – 236lbs.) out of North Texas. Mitchell is an outstanding athlete that was projected to be selected in the 1st Round. While Mitchell needs to improve his range as a shooter and his strength, he is an excellent rebounder averaging 9.3 rebounds per game in his two years at North Texas. He also does a nice job in transition and on the defensive end with the ability to block shots (2.85 per game) and guard multiple positions. Mitchell should become a nice rotation player for the Pistons behind Monroe and Drummond. (Photo from Google Images)
With the 56th pick, the Pistons finally addressed the point guard position by taking PG Peyton Siva (6’1” – 181lbs.) out of Louisville. Siva is a quick, athletic guard that can blow by you with his speed. He sees the floor very well and finds the open man. While not a major scoring threat, Siva really shows his value as a distributor and as a lock-down defender. In his three years as a starter, Siva averaged only 10.5 points per game, but he also averaged about 5.5 assists and 2 steals each game. Siva needs to continue to work on his 3-point shot (29% in college) to take his game to the next level, but he brings great energy and should be at least a nice backup. (Photo from Google Images)
Overall, I would give the Pistons a solid “B” for their three picks. If Knight can become a more effective point guard, the selection of Caldwell-Pope looks even better and would bump the grade up to a B+. The addition of Caldwell-Pope and his range should allow Monroe and Drummond a little more freedom to work without the constant threat of being double-teamed. Mitchell’s athleticism and presence on defense, in the fast break, and especially on the boards will be a welcomed addition off the bench. Siva could be a terror off the bench for opposing point guards to have to deal with, especially if both PG Jose Calderon and PG Will Bynum leave in free agency.