- The Pistons will draft 12th in this summer’s NBA Draft, so Keith Langlois of the team’s official site has put together a rundown of the types of players who will likely be selected prior and thus not be available when Detroit is on the clock.
After a disappointing 2016/17 season, the Pistons will be looking this offseason for ways to improve the team’s outlook for next year. However, as Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press details, Andre Drummond doesn’t believe a roster overhaul is necessary.
“I don’t think we need to do any changes,” the Pistons center told reporters earlier this week. “We had a lot of bumps in the road last season with different things going on, and it took everybody out of sync. … With this summer coming up, we have to do a better job staying connected — the more stuff we do together, the better our camaraderie will be.”
Even if the Pistons were interested in making major changes to their roster, they would be tricky to pull off. Detroit has nearly $95MM in guaranteed salary on its books for 2017/18 without counting Aron Baynes‘ $6.5MM player option or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s $9.2MM cap hold, so the team won’t have cap room to work with.
Welcome to the fifth installment of Hoops Links, where we round up our favorite content from around the NBA blogosphere and shine a light on it here. Every week we set out to feature entertaining, original content powered by the blogging community.
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With a roster full of young players and a negligible chance of winning a meaningful amount of ball games, the Suns made the decision with months remaining in the season to tank unabashedly. After Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, in which Phoenix dropped from a projected No. 2 seed to the No. 4 seed, Adam Maynes of Valley of the Suns wrote a spirited column suggesting that the organization got what it deserved.
We’re all happy to buy into the quirky Joel Embiid narrative whenever the goofy big man does something like sip a Shirley Temple on live television. But what if we’re living a lie? Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers revealed that the pink beverage at Embiid’s side during the Draft Lottery was little more than a prop.
Are the Bulls less likely to deal Jimmy Butler to the Celtics now that Boston has landed the No. 1 pick in the draft? Vijay Vemu of Blog A Bull suggests as much, writing that Danny Ainge took a risk holding onto the pick at the deadline rather than going the safe route and dealing for an established star.
The Hawks could have done more to involve Dwight Howard in their offense, Da’Vonte Hughes of Soaring Down South writes, suggesting that the big man had reason to be upset with how he was utilized during his first season Atlanta.
Did you forget that Joel Anthony was still in the NBA? You aren’t alone. Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie noticed the big man’s name trending on Twitter and discovered that people all around the world were shocked to see the veteran big man suit up in the Spurs‘ blowout loss Wednesday.
There are similarities between Jimmy Butler and Stanley Johnson, including underwhelming freshman and sophomore seasons, says Luke Wolthuis of Piston Powered. Could Johnson, a well-built two-way forward, make a leap similar to that of Butler’s in Year 3?
Although he may not win the award, Harrison Barnes deserves a spot in the Most Improved Player conversation, Sam Guertler of Mavs Moneyball suggests. The forward’s offensive game improved dramatically in his first year as a targeted weapon in Dallas, without any compromise in efficiency.
It takes a delicate balance of usefulness and expendability for a player to suit up for three different franchises in one season. This year, Ersan Ilyasova dressed for the Thunder, Sixers, and Hawks, and still managed to set a new career high for points in a season. Miles Wray of The Step Back took a good long look at how the season stands up historically.
Rating: 9 out of 10 Bonus Points For Playing For Two Altogether Different Teams Last Year
Author: Miles Wray – @MilesWray
Link: NBA players who play for three teams in one season
It was hard to evaluate the first season in the NBA for Jakob Poeltl, a lottery pick on a reigning Eastern Conference Finals squad, but Brian Boake set out to do so anyway for Raptors Rapture. In Poeltl, the Raptors have a cheap, malleable option to audition as their Stretch 5 of the Future.
Over the years, Gregg Popovich has simply owned Mike D’Antoni in the NBA playoffs, so much so that the J.R. Wilco over at Pounding the Rock had a particularly specific video commissioned just to drive home the point.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Clippers free agent J.J. Redick will get a lot of interest from the Eastern Conference, and the Sixers may be the leading contender, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. In a video posted on the Vertical website, several analysts offer their visions of the future for Philadelphia after winding up with the third pick in next month’s draft. Wojnarowski believes the Sixers will make a strong play for Redick, an 11-year veteran who would fill a position of need at shooting guard while bringing leadership to the locker room. Redick will probably receive offers starting at $16MM to $17MM annually, Wojnarowski predicts, and Philly’s strongest competition for him will come from the Nets, as well as the Knicks if they can clear enough cap room.
There’s more tonight out of Philadelphia:
- The Sixers may try to trade down in the draft, suggests The Vertical’s Bobby Marks in the same video, because there isn’t a perfect fit for them at No. 3. They are believed to have interest in Kentucky guard Malik Monk, who could be available a few picks later. Marks says the Kings, who own picks No. 5 and No. 10, might emerge as a trading partner. He adds that Philadelphia also owns an unprotected Lakers pick next season, an unprotected Kings pick in 2019 and a pick from the Thunder in 2020 that is top-20 protected, all of which could be used as trade assets.
- President of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was planning a “measured, organic growth path” if the Sixers came away from Tuesday’s lottery with two picks, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Instead, the Lakers landed in the top three and got to keep their selection for another year, which leads Colangelo to a more aggressive approach that will involve seeking veteran help through trades and free agency. “We are going to have both opportunities available to us now,” he said. “We are going to look at all those alternatives, all those options.” Pompey lists Redick, Kyle Lowry, Otto Porter, Danilo Gallinari and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope as free agents the team might target.
- Jahlil Okafor is an obvious candidate to be used as a trade chip, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. The second-year center has been a poor fit in Philadelphia since being drafted in 2015. Many observers expected him to be dealt at the February deadline, but Nerlens Noel was shipped to Dallas instead. “I want to find a situation that’s great for us and great for Jahlil, and if that means him staying here then that’s great,” Colangelo said. “He’s a great kid and a great player and we’re going to see how he fits with this group.”
Having remained at No. 12 after Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, the Pistons are scouting a wide range of prospects and won’t necessarily target a player at a position of need next month, per GM Jeff Bower (link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). As Bower explained, a player’s value and long-term potential may make him the best pick for Detroit, even if he doesn’t immediately fit into the team’s rotation.
Our list of draft picks by team shows that the Pistons’ 12th overall selection is currently their only pick in this year’s draft. That could make it difficult for the club to bring in second-round prospects for workouts, but Bower remains hopeful that those players will be willing to audition for the team, recognizing that they could be undrafted free agents, or that the Pistons could acquire a second-round pick.
“Some guys aren’t going to want to come in and work out if they don’t see a vehicle at the end of it,” said the Pistons’ GM. “The reality of it is we are looking for guys where we don’t have a second-round pick now — we could (via a trade) — but those possibilities change, so you want to try to be prepared. … Our relationships with agents are strong. They like our program and like their guys to have the exposure to us.”
The Celtics will pick first overall in the 2017 NBA draft, having won Tuesday night’s lottery one night after they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. The C’s, who exercised their rights to swap with the Nets, entered the lottery with the best odds (25.0%) to land that No. 1 overall pick.
The Lakers were the other big winners in the lottery, moving up to No. 2, ensuring that they’ll keep both this year’s pick and 2019’s first-rounder. Had Los Angeles’ pick fallen outside of the top three, it would have been sent to the Sixers, and the Lakers would’ve owed their unprotected 2019 first-rounder to Orlando. Instead, the Lakers will keep this year’s pick and 2019’s, and will send Philadelphia their unprotected 2018 first-round selection.
The Kings also moved up into the top three, but the Sixers will acquire that pick, exercising their right to swap with Sacramento. The Kings will pick at No. 5, which is where Philadelphia would have selected. Sacramento will also land the Pelicans’ selection at No. 10. That New Orleans selection was acquired by the Kings in February’s DeMarcus Cousins trade and was top-three protected.
The Suns are the night’s biggest losers, having moved from No. 2 in the lottery standings down to No. 4 overall. The Magic, Timberwolves, and Knicks each moved down one spot as well.
Here’s the full lottery order for the 2017 NBA draft:
- Boston Celtics (via Nets)
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Philadelphia 76ers (swapped with Kings)
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings (swapped with Sixers)
- Orlando Magic
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New York Knicks
- Dallas Mavericks
- Sacramento Kings (via Pelicans)
- Charlotte Hornets
- Detroit Pistons
- Denver Nuggets
- Miami Heat
Tonight’s lottery results are fascinating on a number of levels, but particularly so for two of the NBA’s most-storied franchises, the Celtics and Lakers. Boston is in position to either pick a player like point guard Markelle Fultz, considered by draft experts to be a future star, or to dangle that No. 1 overall pick in a trade for an established veteran star next month. The Celtics are coming off a season in which they earned the top seed in the East, and they also own the Nets’ unprotected first-round pick in 2018, so the franchise is extremely well-positioned for the future.
As for the Lakers, they’ll breathe a sigh of relief after hanging onto their 2017 first-rounder, and they’re in position to create a union that has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks. UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball is widely viewed as the second-best prospect in this year’s draft, and he and his father LaVar have made no secret of the fact that Lonzo wants to play for the Lakers. Tonight’s lottery results make that a very real possibility.
The Kings are another winner tonight, having moved up from No. 8 to No. 5 and having also held onto the Pelicans’ pick at No. 10. Sacramento will be in a great position to pick two cornerstone pieces to kickstart the club’s rebuilding process.
The NBA confirmed each team’s representatives today for this year’s draft lottery, which will take place on Tuesday night. As confirmed by the league (via Twitter), here are this year’s reps for lottery teams:
- Boston Celtics: Wyc Grousbeck (owner)
- Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker
- Los Angeles Lakers: Magic Johnson (president of basketball operations)
- Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid
- Orlando Magic: Frank Vogel (head coach)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins
- New York Knicks: Walt Frazier (MSG Network broadcaster)
- Sacramento Kings: Dave Joerger (head coach)
- Dallas Mavericks: Michael Finley (assistant VP of basketball operations)
- New Orleans Pelicans: Alvin Gentry (head coach)
- Charlotte Hornets: Rich Cho (GM)
- Detroit Pistons: Jeff Bower (GM)
- Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris
- Miami Heat: Alonzo Mourning (VP of player programs)
Additionally, the NBA also announced that it will reveal several award winners and award finalists later this week. The league will unveil its three All-NBA teams on Thursday. Then, prior to the Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Friday, the NBA will name its three finalists for each major award: MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, and Coach of the Year.
Those individual awards won’t be officially announced until June 26, during the NBA’s inaugural awards broadcast on TNT. However, the All-NBA announcement on Thursday will be an intriguing one. A team’s ability to offer a player a more lucrative Designated Veteran Extension hinges on whether or not he earns an All-NBA nod. So teams like the Pacers and Jazz will be watching very closely to see if Paul George and Gordon Hayward earn All-NBA spots and become eligible for those super-max extensions.
Pistons center Andre Drummond may start wearing a facemask to protect his nose, according to Vincent Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Drummond recently underwent surgery to fix a deviated septum, which has limited his breathing for several years. Coach Stan Van Gundy said the procedure could make Drummond more vulnerable to having his nose broken, which is why the mask is being considered. “The only thing is there’s a little bit of a chance that it makes you more susceptible to breaks, which he knew going in, which means he may have to wear a mask, at times,” Van Gundy said. “Or if it gets hit. So we’ll see.” He added that Drummond is ” feeling a thousand times better” since the procedure.
There’s more news out of Detroit:
- The Pistons asked the prospects they interviewed at this week’s draft combine to break down film clips, Ellis adds in the same story. Gonzaga big man Zach Collins said Detroit was one of the few teams he talked to that asked for film analysis, but Van Gundy is a believer in the technique. “There is no right or wrong answer; I just like to hear them talk about basketball and articulate what they see on the court,” Van Gundy said. “Most of them will go back to their rules in college about defensive rotations. I’m not worried about what it is [they know], but more if guys have a pretty clear understanding of what they think should be done.”
- Second-year swingman Stanley Johnson expressed a willingness to play in the Orlando Pro Summer League, but the Pistons seem to have decided against it, Ellis relays in another story. Van Gundy says the decision was made in last month’s exit meeting. “I think what we might do with him is – and he talked it about when he left – go down [to Orlando] and practice with us,” Van Gundy said. “[Reggie] Bullock did it with us last year. Go down and practice, but not anything else.” He added that rookies Henry Ellenson and Michael Gbinije will definitely be part of the summer league team.
- Pistons legend and former executive Joe Dumars is honored to be a candidate to run the Hawks, Vincent adds in a separate piece. Appearing this week on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Dumars addressed rumors that he is being considered for the top job in Atlanta. “There’s only 30 of these jobs in the world,” he said. “If I’m fortunate enough to be with the Hawks or anyone else, I look at it as a great opportunity because these are tough jobs.” Grant Hill, Dumars’ former teammate in Detroit, is a minority owner of the Hawks.
- The Pistons are in a tough spot with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s pending restricted free agency, Bobby Marks of the Vertical writes. The 24-year-old could sign a lofty offer sheet with another organization, forcing the club to flirt with the luxury tax if they wish to retain him. Choosing not to retain him, however, won’t free up enough cap space for a suitable replacement.
- The Pistons struggled from behind the arc this year and Ansar Khan of Mlive wonders if Jackson could be a fit because of his improved 3-point shot. The small forward shot 29.2% from behind the arc as a sophomore, but he increased it to 37.0% last season. Detroit is currently slotted in the 12th spot, but the team has a chance to move up during Tuesday’s lottery.