With five games remaining in the regular season, the Pistons currently are the owners of the eighth worst record in the NBA. Unfortunately for Detroit, the NBA has a draft lottery where any of the teams that do not make the playoffs can move up the draft order or move down.
Detroit’s first-round pick is top-eight protected this season, meaning that if they get a pick in the top eight, they keep it. If it falls to ninth or lower, Detroit must give up the rights to their pick to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Who could the Pistons target? Who would look good in the red, white and blue? Horsepower gives their first 2014 NBA Draft preview. Here are five candidates that make perfect sense for Detroit in the eighth spot:
1. Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
Wiggins is one of the most sought after prospects in recent history. He is a player that can shoot well, play above average defense and has superb athleticism.
Wiggins has a lot of similar characteristics to Kevin Durant, in that they are both very slender guys. However, Wiggins at the moment lacks the offensive aggression that Durant has, but that can be worked on.
Would he look great in a Pistons’ uniform? Of course. Unfortunately, the only way that happens is if the Pistons find lightning in a bottle and move into the top two in the draft order.
2. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
Smart could have been a top-five pick in last year’s draft, but he decided to return to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season.
He is a great leader with a ton of talent, but possesses some major character issues that could scare some NBA executives away.
Ultimately, he will be a top-10 pick and could even be top-five. The Pistons could use more of a playmaking point guard, but Smart has a ton of upside.
3. Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)
Ennis might be the perfect fit for Detroit. He provides the perfect mix of scorer and playmaker.
The freshman from Syracuse had a terrific season and was one of the clutchest players in college basketball.
His one downside is that he does not possess as much athleticism as some of the other elite prospects in this draft.
4. Gary Harris (Michigan State)
Harris is not expected to go in the top 10, but he would make a lot of sense for the Pistons.
He is arguably the best defensive guard in the draft and does not have any trouble on the offensive side of the ball either.
Harris can attack the rim, shoot the three ball and about anything else a coach could ask for. He is a better three-point shooter than his three-point field-goal percentage (35.2) indicates.
Joe Dumars passed on local star Trey Burke (Michigan) last June, but a new general manager might not be as willing.
5. Nik Stauskas (Michigan)
Stauskas at the eighth would be a reach, but he would immediately be the Pistons’ best three-point shooter.
Stauskas made incredible improvements between his freshman and sophomore seasons and showed the nation that he can be more than just a three-point shooter.
He needs to get bigger in order to continue attacking the rim, but that can easily be worked on.
Stauskas possesses a swagger that might drive a lot of people crazy, but he is the type of player you love to have on your team.
At the moment, Harris is the more complete player and will probably be drafted first, but if for some reason he is off the board at eight, Stauskas makes a whole lot of sense.
Cameron Billes is the host of Horsepower for Impact Sports.