Pistons get eighth pick in draft lottery
Auburn Hills — The Pistons entered Tuesday's NBA draft lottery with no worse than the eighth pick.
There was movement, but not for the Pistons, who remained at No. 8 after the nationally-televised lottery from the Hilton Midtown Hotel in New York.
The only movement came at the top, where the Knicks fell from third to fourth. That moved the Lakers into the top three. And when the final call came, the Timberwolves took home the No. 1 pick, followed by the Lakers and 76ers.
It's the first time the team with the best odds — in this case Minnesota — of getting the No. 1 pick won it since 2004.
Pistons general manager Jeff Bower doesn't mind the eighth pick, and believes the team can get a quality player that fits their needs.
"I think the lottery is just starting to get fun guys, because we know where we will be," Bower said. "We won't follow the assumptions and we are not making this pick without doing our own diligence as to who we feel fills needs and who fits long term projections and talents that can be useful for the Pistons."
The Pistons are looking at big men that can play inside and shoot 3-pointers, which puts 6-foot-7 Croatian guard Mario Hezonja, Texas big man Myles Turner or 6-10 Kentucky forward/center Trey Lyles on their radar.
The Pistons also need a productive small forward, and could go with Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson.
"There is a lot of depth at positions in this draft that fits targets that we would have to fill this summer whether it is in the draft or through free agency," Bower said. "As we look at this class and this draft there are a lot of players that do have that projection of being at that position. We are encouraged by that but at the same time we are not going to limit to a position because the draft is too important to narrow any type of decision."
The last time the Pistons picked eighth in the draft, they angered their fan-base by passing on Michigan point guard Trey Burke for Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
There is a chance the Pistons could trade down and still pick up a strong impactful player. National player of the year Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin) should still be available deep into the draft, as well as his teammate Sam Dekker, a 6-9 forward.
Both provide a need — shooting.
"I think you see the value of shooting in the actual points that the shot creates but also in the way it impacts the floor," Bower said. "With the inside potential that we have and the driving ability we showed last year the thing that makes both of those factors more effective is having the floor spread out and defenses having to be wider which will allow lanes to be open.
"Shooting is a big deal. Shooting is changing the way the game is being played. And those are all skills that we value very highly."
DRAFT LOTTERY ORDER
2. L.A. Lakers
4. New York
14. Oklahoma City