Pistons visit Spain in search of big men who can shoot

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy is looking for a few big men who can shoot.

That's why he and general manager Jeff Bowers are in Spain looking at Mario Hezonja (6-foot-8) and Kristaps Porzingis (7-1).

Both have the ability to shoot from the outside. The downside is both are immature and lack NBA bodies to survive an 82-game season.

But the Pistons are looking for a boost to their 3-point shooting, which ranked 17th in percentage (34.4). Van Gundy said he wanted the team to shoot at least 36 percent.

The Pistons could use Hezonja at small forward, where the team lacked scoring punch.

He shot nearly 40 percent on 3-pointers, but may be better suited off the bench, which is his role in Europe. He's also athletic enough to attack the rim.

Hezonja plays defense in spurts, but is not known for being a good on-the-ball defender.

As for Porzingis, he could replace Greg Monroe, if he leaves the Pistons, and help stretch the floor and make Andre Drummond the primary interior offensive weapon.

Porzingis is tall and thin, which forces him to settle for jump shots. He is shooting 32.9 percent on 3-pointers and has a good catch-and-shoot game. He lacks in the passing game, and sometimes the game seems too quick for him.

The Pistons are likely to have the eighth or ninth pick in the June draft, and Hezonja and Porzingis might be there for the taking, although Hezonja could be a hot commodity and may not be around at Nos. 8 or 9.

terry.foster@detroitnews.com

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On the clock

A look at possible Pistons draft picks:

MARIO HEZONJA

Position: Small forward

Ht.: 6-foot-8 Age: 20

Team (stats): FC Barcelona (4.7 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists)

Country: Croatia

KRISTAPS PORZINGIS

Position: Power forward

Ht.: 7-foot-1 Age: 19

Team (stats): Baloncesto Sevilla (10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds)

Country: Latvia