(Editor’s note: Pistons.com continues its 14-part draft series with a look at a group of nine big men who could be under consideration by the Pistons with either of their second-round picks, 39 and 44. Coming Tuesday: a look at perimeter players for those two picks.)

Merely mention the name of Mike Mamula and every NFL general manager will know exactly the implication. In 1995, Mamula cashed a dazzling performance at the NFL draft combine into the No. 7 pick, by Philadelphia, despite a Boston College career that didn’t seem to warrant such status.

Whatever appears certain in the days leading to the NBA draft can turn 90 degrees with a surprise pick or a trade that skews the logical order of a run of picks. The Pistons were reminded of that dramatically a year ago, when one surprise pick and one trade sent guards Brandon Knight and Kemba Walker tumbling and sucked up all the big men they’d focused on in the weeks prior to the 2011 draft.

Back when the NBA was run more like a mom-and-pop enterprise than the global corporate conglomerate it would become, general managers would show up at the draft with dog-eared copies of Street & Smith’s Basketball Yearbook under their arms.

(Editor’s note: Pistons.com’s 14-part draft series continues with a look at a group of players projected to go either in the late first or early second round but could slip to the Pistons’ pick at No. 39 in the second round. Coming Monday: A look at the group of big men who could be considered with either of Detroit’s second-round picks at 39 and 44.)

(Editor’s note: True Blue Pistons continues a 14-part series leading to the June 28 draft with a look at Terrence Jones, the last profile among the seven big men who could be on the board when the Pistons pick at No. 9. Coming Friday: A look at prospects who could slip out of the first round and be available when the Pistons pick at No 39 in the second round.)