Auburn Hills — The Pistons won three NBA titles with big men stretching the floor shooting 3-pointers.
It's likely their next title will come in the same fashion. And for Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy, that key piece to his puzzle could be sitting in next month's draft.
The Pistons are lucky. The hot-shooting big man is a hot commodity and it might be the deepest position in the draft. It will be a definite need for the Pistons, especially if power forward Greg Monroe leaves for free agency this summer.
And, the Pistons don't need to hit the jackpot in Tuesday night's NBA lottery, where they have a 2.8 percent chance of garnering the No. 1 pick. Chances are the Pistons will remain at No. 8 and have a shot at 6-foot-8 shooting guard Mario Hezonja of Croatia.
"If you have a good one, you have a pretty potent weapon," NBA and college basketball analyst Greg Kelser said of the "Stretch Four," the term used for a big man who can shoot from deep. "If he is able to do it (shoot) on a pretty consistent basis, it becomes a huge weapon for you. It brings a big guy away from the basket. And if you have a center that can do it, it really disrupts a team's defensive setup."
The Pistons also could look at Kentucky's Trey Lyles (6-10), Texas' Myles Turner (6-11) or Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky (7-0). They also could try to trade up to snag Latvia's Kristaps Porzingis (7-0).
"I think the term 'Stretch Four' came to life with Dirk (Nowitzki, Mavericks) coming into his own," Fox Sports Detroit analyst Grant Long said. "Everybody tried to get that power forward and do the same thing inside and outside. But I don't think anybody has really been able to do that. Maybe LaMarcus Aldridge is the closest to that guy that has the 3-point range and is not afraid to mix it up inside. Most stretch fours are just shooters."
The Pistons were more of a post-up team this season with Monroe. They were just about as effective but the game slowed down as they worked the ball into their big men.
So, is the "Stretch Four" the best option for the Pistons?
"It depends on how they suit up in training camp," Long said. "When Greg Monroe was hurt, it really opened things up for Reggie (Jackson) to go one-on-one, and lob the ball inside to (Andre) Drummond. They could definitely look at it if they do not have Greg Monroe (free agent). If they do have him, I don't know."
The Pistons select ...
Players who could be available when Detroit picks:
Mario Hezonja, 6-foot-8, Croatia: The Pistons scouted him and are high on him. Hezonja is an accurate shooter from the outside and also can roam inside. The knock on him is maturity.
Kristaps Porzingis, 7-1, Latvia: He's skinny and easily can be knocked off the ball. But he can shoot. Eventually, Porzingis could be a rim protector, something the Pistons need.
Trey Lyles, 6-10, Kentucky: He got lost in the shuffle because he played with Karl Anthony-Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein. Lyles' strength is defending on the perimeter, and he has good foot speed. He must get tougher.
Myles Turner, 6-10, Texas: He's stronger inside and can attack the basket and block shots. And Turner's not afraid to take outside shots. The problem is health.
Frank Kaminsky, 7-foot, Wisconsin: College basketball's player of the year, he can put it on the floor and shoot from the outside. The knock is Kaminsky might not be athletic enough to guard other stretch fours on the perimeter.
NBA draft lottery
When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, New York
Playing for No. 1
Percent chances that the teams in the NBA draft lottery will end up with the No. 1 pick:
Minnesota, 16–66 record, 25 percent
New York, 17–65 record, 19.9 percent
Philadelphia, 18–64 record, 15.6 percent
L.A. Lakers, 21–61 record, 11.9 percent
Orlando, 25–57 record, 8.8 percent
Sacramento, 29–53 record, 6.3 percent
Denver, 30–52 record, 4.3 percent
Detroit, 32–50 record, 2.8 percent
Charlotte, 33–49 record, 1.7 percent
Miami, 37–45 record, 1.1 percent
Indiana, 38–44 record, 0.8 percent
Utah, 38–44 record, 0.7 percent
Phoenix, 39–43 record, 0.6 percent
Oklahoma City, 45–37 record, 0.5 percent