What they’re saying about new Piston Luke Kennard

The Detroit News

Here is a roundup of how national experts view the Pistons' selection of Duke guard Luke Kennard at No. 12 overall.

Chad Ford, ESPN: The Pistons wanted a shooter and Kennard is in a small group of players who can stake a claim to being the best shooter in the draft. He also has terrific toughness, a high basketball IQ and the ability to play some point guard in a pinch. I think he was selected a little high, but if the Pistons were drafting for need, it was a good pick in that sense. Grade: B

Sam Vecenie, The Sporting News: The Pistons were among the worst shooting teams in the NBA last season, so it makes sense for them to add one of the best shooters in the draft in Kennard. He'll also help with their ball-handling/point guard issues, as he'll be able to occasionally slide over and run some offense. An excellent fit here. Grade: A-

Adi Joseph, USA Today: Kennard is one of the draft's best shooters and more versatile than he gets credit for being. He's also tough and could be a good defender. The real question here is what this means for the Pistons' future with starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Caldwell-Pope might be the Pistons' best player and is a natural shooting guard, like Kennard, but they both are big enough to play together on the wings. Still, Donovan Mitchell's positional versatility and athleticism might have been the better fit here, given the Pistons already have plenty of good shooters. Grade: B-

Beard: Luke Kennard electric on offense, not NBA-ready on defense

Andrew Lynch, Fox Sports: Kennard should make Coach Stan Van Gundy happy on the offensive end, where the Duke wing can shoot threes with the best of them. His defense is a huge red flag, however, and Van Gundy already has told reporters Kennard has to improve on that end to earn minutes. All in all, this is a solid enough pick that's just a bit of a reach. Grade: C+

Jordan Schultz, Yahoo Sports: The Pistons got an absolute stud in Duke’s Luke Kennard. The misconception around him has been that he’s merely a shooter. It couldn’t be further from the truth: Kennard, with his unparalleled footwork and shiftiness as a lefty, flourishes on and off the ball. He is a creative playmaker – one executive compared him to Manu Ginobili – who finishes well in the lane and will become an effective pick-and-roll guy in time. Perhaps best of all, Kennard converted 44 percent of his 3-pointers as a sophomore last season, displaying legitimate NBA range while doing so. Grade: A+

Adam Fromal, Bleacher Report: The Detroit Pistons love them some shooters, regardless of whether they continue to pursue head coach Stan Van Gundy's patented four-out, one-in stratagems. If they keep trying to surround Andre Drummond with floor-spacing threats, they'll need players capable of taking and making threes. And even if they don't, shooting never hurts in today's NBA. Enter Luke Kennard. The former Duke standout is a solid athlete, even if he doesn't possess the hops that typically go hand-in-hand with lottery wings. His 6-5 wingspan won't help him on the defensive end, either. But so long as he drills triples, the other aspects of his game—smart positional defense and a knack for secondary playmaking are chief among them—won't matter much. During his sophomore season for the Blue Devils, Kennard took 5.4 treys per game and connected on 43.8 percent of them. Those are elite numbers, and undergoing slight regression as he adjusts to the NBA's three-point arc will still leave him operating as one of the best shooters Detroit has rostered in quite some time. Grade: A-

Niyo: Drummond stays for now, as do Pistons’ problems

Reid Forgrave and Jack Maloney, CBS Sports: Smart player, smart pick. A great shooter but not just shooter — he's a scorer. Fits need. Grade: A

Jonathan Tjarks, The Ringer: It’s hard to avoid comparing Kennard to J.J. Redick, another elite 3-point shooter from Duke who was taken in the later lottery and had questions about his defensive upside when he came into the league. Redick is the best-case scenario for Kennard, but he changed his body in his first few seasons in the NBA and maximized every bit of his upside. It’s just as likely that Kennard becomes (former Piston) Jodie Meeks with less shot-creation ability. Stan Van Gundy’s teams always need 3-point shooting, so there should be playing time for the Duke product right away, but this might have been a situation where a coach/GM opted for immediate help rather than taking someone with more long-term upside. Grades: Value C; Fit A

Ricky O’Donnell, SBNation: Luke Kennard might be the best shooter in the draft. It’s all part of Stan Van Gundy’s plan to turn the Pistons into the 2009 Orlando Magic. Grade: B

Matt Moore, CBS Sports: Hindsight could crush me when Luke Kennard becomes a great player. However, there were great shooting-guard options available at No. 12, including Donovan Mitchell, who would have worked perfectly. Instead, the Pistons went with Kennard, a defensively-limited shooter who is not athletic enough to play in many situations. Is he going to be able to chase good shooters around screens? Can he dig and recover? Can he free himself when teams overplay him at the 3-point line? There are a lot of questions for a guy picked that high. Grade: None offered