Second-Round Candidate: Kevin Hervey
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ID CARD: 6-foot-7¾ small forward, senior, Texas-Arlington, 21 years old
DRAFT RANGE: Ranked 46th by ESPN.com, 44th by SI.com, mentioned by NBA.com in a group ranked 16-19 among wings
SCOUTS LOVE: Hervey’s productivity is hard to ignore. Granted, it came in the Sun Belt Conference, but a three-year starter who sports career averages of 15.5 points and 8.0 rebounds – topping out at 20.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as a senior – is someone who’s demonstrated a consistency of production that NBA teams find appealing. Hervey was a local kid who drew little recruiting interest but grew a few inches and turned himself into a player immediately at Texas-Arlington. He scored in a variety of ways in college, suggesting he could turn his tweener status into an advantage by scoring outside against plodding defenders or posting up smaller ones. He shot the 3-pointer very well in drills at the NBA draft combine, both stationary and running into shots.
SCOUTS WONDER: Does Hervey have that one plus NBA skill that sometimes is the key to getting on the court? He shot a lot of 3-pointers – 5.5 a game over his career, 6.9 as a senior – but never hit better than 34 percent for a season at the shorter college distance. He won’t wow anyone athletically – his max vertical at the NBA combine was 32 inches, well off the top tier, and his speed and agility were all middle of the road – and a torn ACL cut his junior season in half after he’d already previously torn the other ACL. The fact he came back to have such a strong senior season won’t stop NBA teams from poring over his medical records with extra caution.
NUMBER TO NOTE: – 8-foot-11 – That’s Hervey’s standing reach, a phenomenal number to go along with a 7-foot-3 ½wing span, and speaks to his potential to be a disruptive defensive player.
MONEY QUOTE: “Kevin Hervey was the most intriguing player at the combine. At 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-4 wing span, the UT Arlington forward his spot-up 3s, defended multiple positions and hit a tough contested jumper off the dribble, which is something he did a lot of in college. … His potential is tantalizing in the late first or early second round, areas where risks can be taken. With Hervey, a team may hit a home run.” – Kevin O’Conner for The Ringer after the NBA draft combine last month
PISTONS FIT: If the Pistons see Hervey as a wing, capable of guarding small forwards and even some shooting guards, then the fit is an obvious one. They need depth behind Stanley Johnson. If they see Hervey as more of a modern-day stretch four – he was listed as a power forward at the combine – then the appeal diminishes greatly for a roster that already has Blake Griffin, Jon Leuer and Henry Ellenson at that spot.
BOTTOM LINE: Hervey might be among the more divisive prospects realistically in range for the Pistons with their pick at No. 42 overall. The torn ACLs, the uncertainty over his eventual position and the modest 3-point accuracy in a mid-major conference must be weighed against four years of high-end production, unusual length and long-term potential Hervey possesses.