Moritz Wagner

Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Bucks, Workouts

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.

Here’s more from around the Central division:

Draft Notes: Collins, Comanche, Combine, Jazz

Gonzaga big man Zach Collins is quickly rising up draft boards, tweets Jon Rothstein of Fanrag Sports. The 7’0″ freshman didn’t play a lot this season, but he has become a favorite of NBA scouts. Collins averaged 10.0 points and 5.9 rebounds in just 17.2 minutes per night for the national runners-up. He is ranked 12th in Jonathan Givony’s latest list of the top 100 prospects at DraftExpress and 11th by ESPN’s Chad Ford. Collins is the top-rated center on Ford’s list, while Givony has him one spot behind Jarrett Allen of Texas.

There’s more draft-related news today:

  • Sophomore big man Chance Comanche of Arizona has announced via Twitter than he plans to remain in the draft. He averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds this season and is a long shot to be drafted.
  • Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders examines players who have gone on to NBA success after not receiving invitations to the draft combine. This year’s edition will be held this week in Chicago.
  • Kentucky guard Hamidou Diallo may be the best athlete at the combine, an NBA executive tells Rothstein (Twitter link). Diallo is projected to go early in the second round by both Givony and Ford.
  • Three Michigan players are headed to the combine, writes James Hawkins of The Detroit NewsMoritz Wagner and D.J. Wilson, who entered the draft without hiring agents, both received invitations, along with senior Derrick WaltonAnother Wolverines senior, Zak Irvin, also has draft aspirations but wasn’t invited to the combine.
  • Wagner will be among six players working out for the Jazz on Sunday, according to a tweet from the team. Joining him will be LSU’s Antonio Blakeney, UCLA’s Aaron Holiday, Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Georgetown’s L.J. Peak and BYU’s Eric Mika.

D.J. Wilson, Moritz Wagner Testing Draft Waters

A pair of Michigan Wolverines, power forward D.J. Wilson and center Moritz Wagner, announced today that they’ll test the 2017 NBA draft waters, entering their names without hiring agents. Both Wilson and Wagner made their announcements on Twitter.

Wilson, a redshirt sophomore, is viewed as a possible first-round pick, ranking 34th on the DraftExpress big board and 31st on ESPN’s list of top prospects. Wilson received significant playing time in 2016/17 for the first time in his college career, and responded by averaging 11.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 1.5 BPG, with a shooting line of .538/.373/.833.

According to ESPN’s Chad Ford, Wilson has “all the tools” necessary to be an effective modern NBA power forward, including an ability to protect the rim and shoot from outside. Ford notes that Wilson’s mediocre rebounding numbers are hurting him a little, but he still projects as a late first-rounder or early second-rounder if he keeps his name in the draft.

As for Wilson’s teammate Wagner, the 6’11” sophomore doesn’t show up at all on DraftExpress’ top 100 list, but Ford is bullish on the 19-year-old’s draft prospects, placing him 25th overall on ESPN’s big board. Ford acknowledges that Wagner’s sophomore year was inconsistent, but notes that he had a huge game against Louisville in the NCAA tournament and “ticks a lot of boxes” for NBA scouts. Wagner averaged 12.1 PPG and 4.2 RPG with a .395 3PT% in his sophomore year.

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