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Van Gundy says Pistons will take best player available

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

New York — The Lions do it, so why not the Pistons?

"We will take the best guy," Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy said of the June draft.

Even if it is a center who would back up Andre Drummond or clog the middle as Josh Smith did?

"We will take the best guy," Van Gundy repeated.

If that's the case, the Pistons better hope the best player available is a wing who can shoot.

In any event, the Pistons must prepare for life without power forward Greg Monroe, who becomes a free agent this offseason. And that also could leave Van Gundy in a position to draft a shooter.

The Pistons were 19th in the NBA on 3-pointers entering Wednesday's game against the Knicks, making 34. 4 percent, and were 29th in overall shooting at 43.1 percent.

But there are more issues facing the Pistons than just shooting and losing Monroe.

Their defense is a major concern.

And if the Pistons are unable to address their needs come draft time, there's a possible solution: Draymond Green.

The former Michigan State and Saginaw High standout will be a restricted free agent, and the Warriors may be unable to sign him. And he's exactly what the Pistons need — a leader, a defender and a 3-point threat.

"Home is always home," Green said about the possibility of playing for the Pistons.

"But I don't really think about it because trying to win a championship is enough to think about on a daily basis, and I think we have all the ingredients we need to win a championship. I don't have time for me to sit and think it sure would be great for me to go back home and play in Detroit."

It's not known where the Pistons will draft, but they are in the eighth position today, which gives them a 2.8 percent chance to grab the top pick.

Assuming they select eighth, here are some names to look for:

Stanley Johnson, 6-foot-7 forward, Arizona: He has not declared for the draft because he wants to make sure he's a top 10 pick. Chances are he will. He is strong defender who can slash and is a good outside shooter.

Mario Hezonja, 6-8 small forward, Croatia: He can shoot and get to the rim, which is a deadly combination. The problem is he's young (20) and frustrated easily.

Justise Winslow, 6-6 forward, Duke: He might have played himself into a top five pick when the Blue Devils switched him to power forward and they won the title. He showed he can play multiple positions at a high level.

Kristaps Porzingis, 7-1 power forward, Latvia: He would be the perfect guy to replace Monroe. He's a shot blocker and could clog the middle. He also can step out and hit 3-pointers.