Pistons address frontcourt in NBA mock drafts

The Detroit News
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura is slated to go the Pistons at No. 15 in CBS Sports' most recent NBA mock draft.

With their stay in the NBA playoffs short, the Pistons now look at next season.

That likely starts with the NBA draft June 20, where the Pistons own the No. 15 and No. 45 picks.

A pair of mock drafts have the Pistons addressing the frontcourt, with CBS Sports projecting them to take Gonzaga power forward Rui Hachimura and the Sporting News slotting to them Kentucky small forward Keldon Johnson.

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Hachimura, who passed on his final season to enter the draft, averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, shooting 59.1 percent from the floor.

"Hachimura just turned 21 in February but he's already got three seasons of college development on his resume, including a career-year last season at Gonzaga ...," writes Kyle Boone of CBS Sports. "Best of all: His best days figure to be ahead of him. He didn't pick up basketball until his teens and he's steadily improved each year since."

The 6-6 Johnson, meanwhile, played just his freshman season at Kentucky before declaring for the draft. He was the Wildcats' third-leading scorer and rebounder at 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He also hit 38.1 percent of his 3-pointers.

"Johnson is an NBA-ready wing who can give the Pistons some much-needed scoring punch," Sporting News NBA writer Sean Deveney writes.

Deveney also has Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis squeezing into the first round, going at No. 28 to the Warriors. Brazdeikis has declared for the draft, along with teammates Jordan Poole and Charles Matthews. However, unlike Poole and Matthews, he hasn't officially ruled out a return for his sophomore season.

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The 6-7 Brazdeikis was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after leading the Wolverines with 14.8 points per game.

"Brazdeikis is a talented lefty scorer who needs some defensive work," Deveney writes, "but should be able to contribute to an NBA bench relatively quickly."