Auburn Hills — When Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson walked into his introductory news conference at The Palace on Saturday afternoon, he grabbed everyone's attention immediately.
The main reason was because of the fluorescent pink suit he sported, along with a white shirt and no tie.
The continuing task for Johnson, the No. 8 pick in Thursday's NBA draft, will be to live up to the billing of being a top-10 pick. The 6-foot-7 forward distinguished himself in workouts during the predraft period, putting himself at the top of the Pistons' draft board, where they selected him over Duke's Justise Winslow, Kentucky's Devin Booker and Wisconsin's Sam Dekker, among others.
Team president and head coach Stan Van Gundy introduced the Pistons' two rookies — Johnson, along with second-round pick Darrun Hilliard — at a news conference Saturday.
"It's pretty rare that you go into a draft and walk away with the two guys you expected to walk away with at the beginning of the night," Van Gundy said. "There wasn't a ton of drama for us and that's a good thing."
Many experts and fans debated the choice between Johnson over Winslow, but Van Gundy said it wasn't just an either-or proposition between those two players.
"When we go through the draft discussions, you basically compare everybody in that range to everyone else. It wasn't like those were the two guys and that's all we talked about," Van Gundy said. "It wasn't a head-to-head comparison that did it — we did it on every single guy.
"We loved his versatility and we really liked his mentality. The more we talked to people, we became very confident that this is a guy who is driven to be great, not just talking about it but will put in the work to do it."
Although the plan isn't for Johnson to start immediately, Van Gundy said he wouldn't be surprised if Johnson worked as if that was the aim from Day 1. Johnson made an immediate impression on Van Gundy and his staff, among the group of prospects brought in for workouts.
"We brought in 57 guys and he was easily the most aggressive guy defensively in workouts," he said.
While there might be some questions about Johnson's shooting ability — he hit 37 percent on 3-pointers last season at Arizona — he's developing many part of his game. But Van Gundy admitted there wasn't one particular thing that made Johnson the most attractive choice at the No. 8 spot.
"We loved his versatility; we loved the fact that on defense he can guard multiple positions," he said. "He was the best rebounding wing in the draft and on offense, he's a guy who can get to the free-throw line and he's improved every year shooting the 3.
"It's hard to find guys who get to the free-throw line and shoot the 3; there just aren't very many of them."
Johnson begins the process of moving from the West Coast and acclimating to Detroit as he readies to start workouts on Tuesday in preparation for next week's NBA summer league in Orlando.
Van Gundy says Hilliard, a 6-foot-6 guard who played four years at Villanova, has the ability to come in and help the Pistons with his shooting and floor game.
"We like guys who have come out of successful programs. We have two very versatile guys, the leading guys on very successful teams and can do a lot of different things on the floor."
For Hilliard, who wore a more conservative suit with a pink tie, it's time to go to work and establish himself with the Pistons and within the Detroit community.
"We are going to come in and work and hopefully put our two cents in to bring Detroit basketball back to where it's supposed to be," Hilliard said.
Johnson endeared himself to many Detroit fans by dropping a "Detroit vs. Everybody" reference in an interview after he was drafted, but now begins the transition to becoming a Detroiter himself.
"I know Detroit is a sports town and a lot of pro sports and you guys are used to winning," he said. "I've been here once, on my visit, and I know it's going to be a cold, cold winter, which I haven't experienced before."
Although the pink suit may go with some of the Detroit culture, he explained the choice was a snafu and a quick makeup.
"At the draft, my suit didn't go as planned. The designer I originally had, I fired him. I had to go with another designer who had to get a suit ready in 16 to 24 hours. The only colors not getting picked were the most available," Johnson said. "I tried to make it work; I thought it would be more purple than this, but I guess it's pink and it's going to work out for me."