Mock roundup: Indiana’s Langford leader in the clubhouse for Pistons pick at 15
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AUBURN HILLS – Huh. So I decided to rummage around and see if there was any clarity emerging on the NBA draft, especially regarding what the lottery looks like given that the Pistons are picking one spot outside of it.
I expected mock drafts to be an absolute jumble with nearly as many names parceled out to the Pistons as mock drafts conducted. Then the first four I looked up – ESPN.com, SI.com, The Athletic and Bleacher Report – all had the same player routed to the Pistons: Romeo Langford.
It got considerably less uniform after that, though, so make of it what you will.
The names are the usual suspects – with one extreme outlier.
Mostly what this should tell you is that nobody really knows anything at this point other than Zion Williamson is going No. 1 to New Orleans.
Here’s a look at what some of the most popular NBA websites are saying about the Pistons and the 15th pick with comments when provided:
- ESPN.com – Romeo Langford, Indiana
“Langford will be one of the players under consideration for any teams in this range with needs on the wing. The Indiana freshman played most of the season with a torn ligament in his shooting hand, but he displayed impressive glimpses of potential as a shot creator operating out of the pick and roll. The Pistons have precious little ballhandling on their roster and could certainly roll the dice on a player with Langford’s talent.”
- Sam Vecenie, The Athletic – Romeo Langford
“This is a bit of a drop for Langford, but NBA teams who have spoken with The Athletic continue to note that Langford is far from a sure-fire lottery pick after his season at Indiana. Largely, the questions about his explosiveness athletically and his jump shot continue to cause concern around the league. … Throw in on top of it that Langford’s ability to gain separation has also come into question and teams look at him as a potential role player who can’t shoot right now – something of a non-starter around the league. Still, there is potential that Langford can learn to shoot. He has good touch and he might be the best wing in this class at finishing around the basket. But after he recovers from thumb surgery, he’s going to need to work really hard to prove himself. The Pistons need a ton of help on the wing and could use a bucket-getter like Langford even if the shooting questions don’t make this a perfect fit.”
- Bleacher Report – Romeo Langford
- Steve Kyler, Basketball Insiders – Daniel Gafford, Arkansas
Yeah, there’s the outlier. Gafford isn’t considered a sure-fire first-round pick, let alone one taken with the last pick of the top half of the first round. He’s the No. 40 prospect according to ESPN.com and is projected as the 34th pick by The Athletic, for two of many examples. Gafford did work out for the Pistons after the NBA draft combine, for what it’s worth. Kyler’s mock draft is merely a list, so there’s no explanation for his projection of Gafford to the Pistons. Shrug.
- Jeremy Woo, SI.com – Romeo Langford
“It’s been hard to find teams particularly enamored with Langford after the season he just had, and though his body and athletic tools look the part, there are valid concerns about the holes in his skill set, particularly his ongoing jump-shooting struggles. While Langford was mostly productive and played through a thumb injury, he struggles to create good shots off the dribble and lacks a degree of creativity to his game that will create problems against better defenders. The Pistons need help on the wing, and at this point in the draft, it’s easier to justify taking the plunge.
- Yahoo! – Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
“The Pistons are in win-now mode and could use some frontcourt depth behind Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Jon Leuer, Thon Maker and Zaza Pachulia didn’t exactly cut it last season. They get a high-floor prospect in Hachimura who should contribute from Day 1.”
- NBADraft.net – Keldon Johnson, Kentucky
- CBSSports.com – Kevin Porter Jr., Southern Cal
“Questions surround Porter Jr. after he was suspended last season at Southern Cal for conduct issues, but he’s so talented it’s unlikely he falls far past the lottery (if he’s not snatched up inside the lottery). A great creator with the ball in his hands, Porter Jr. has drawn comparisons to James Harden in part because of his left-handed release and also because of his ability to create separation to manufacture his own shot. Detroit needs shot cheaters and secondary ballhandlers and Porter Jr. could address both of those needs.”