Point guard not a glaring need, but Pistons could go for one with size at 38
William Mancebo (Getty Images)
(Editor’s note: Pistons.com continues a five-part draft series with a look at the group of point guards. Coming Thursday: a look how the draft is shaping up given the latest news and speculation.)
The Pistons start their off-season understanding they need to find 3-point shooting in whatever form they can land it. Depending on what happens with Greg Monroe’s free agency, they could determine an urgent need to add frontcourt size and depth. Adding a player or two with the size and athleticism to defend wing scorers adequately wouldn’t be a bad route, either.
Point guard is the one position on their roster with three – and perhaps four, depending on whether the Pistons exercise their option on Chauncey Billups – capable players already under contract.
But the three for-sure returning players – Brandon Jennings, Will Bynum and Peyton Siva, assuming the Pistons pick up the second year of his deal, which appears a lock after the promising finish to his rookie season – are all, essentially, 6-footers.
In a division with big, athletic point guards like Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and George Hill, the Pistons would do well to give themselves a little more backcourt defensive flexibility.
So on Thursday night, if the draft gets to 38 and the Pistons don’t see a 3-point shooter ready to contribute or a big man who’d offer some immediate depth, it wouldn’t be a stunner if they drafted a point guard – especially one who could defend either backcourt spot.
Here’s a look at some players who could fit that profile or offer value too good to pass up at 38.
Spencer Dinwiddie – From Chauncey Billups’ alma mater, Colorado, Dinwiddie was considered a first-round prospect until tearing his ACL early in the Big 12 season. Though his prognosis is good, Dinwiddie wasn’t able to work out for teams and won’t be available to play in Summer League or much before training camp, if then. At 6-foot-6, he’s got great size for the position. He’s not the athlete that high lottery pick Dante Exum is, but Dinwiddie can handle and shoot and likely will prove capable of defending either guard spot.
Semaj Christon – At 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-7 wing span, Christon is an elite athlete who could develop into an elite perimeter defender with strength and experience. He’s leaving Xavier after a sophomore season in which he averaged 17.0 points and 4.2 assists. Nobody’s really sure where he’ll fit in the NBA, though. There are questions about his feel for running a team and his jump shot is a work in progress, but he’s a good passer by all accounts.
Vasilije Micic – Think Mark Jackson, the player. Micic is all point guard, but not really a scorer or shooter. He’ll draw high marks for his vision, playmaking and basketball IQ. At 6-foot-4, he’s got ideal size. The question is if he’s athletic enough to defend NBA point guards. From Serbia, Micic is 20 years old.
DeAndre Kane – He sometimes looked like a man among boys in college, which figures – Kane turned 25 earlier this month. A transfer from Marshall who came to Iowa State with some character red flags, Kane was a model citizen for the Hawkeyes and his toughness helped make the Cyclones a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament in March. At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Kane obviously would change the makeup of the Pistons’ point guard crop. He wouldn’t help their 3-point shooting, though.
Nick Johnson – The 6-foot-3 junior from Arizona is more shooting guard than point guard right now, which is why he almost certainly will be available at No. 38. But the tools are all there – size, plenty of athleticism and the ability to defend – to become a solid point guard if he can make the transition. Johnson averaged 16.3 points and played 33 minutes a game for the team that spent more time ranked No. 1 than anyone last season. He can shoot it, too, hitting 37 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Deonte Burton – Burton might be 6-foot-1, but with a long (6-foot-7) wing span and a solid 193-pound frame, he’d give the Pistons a little more size at point guard on the defensive end. Like Johnson, he’s probably more combo guard than pure point guard. Another very good athlete, he’ll attack the rim with the best of them. He averaged 20.1 points and 4.4 assists as a Nevada senior. He turns 23 on draft day.
Jahii Carson – The Arizona State sophomore, 21, was an immediate impact player for the Sun Devils, averaging 18.5 points as a freshman and staying remarkably consistent, averaging 18.6 as a sophomore. He wouldn’t add any size to the position for the Pistons at 5-foot-11, but he’s a unique player and an amazing athlete. He wouldn’t be his team’s featured scorer in the NBA, though, and that leads scouts to wonder what else he has to offer. Rarely uses his left hand.