Nerd of Batman, sports, logic, objectivity, Star Trek, personal enlightenment, Lincoln, the Rays, psychology, mic dropping. Kind've in that order.
KCP - Kentavious Caldwell Pope
WAR - Wins Above Replacement
FIP - Fielding Independent Pitching
LD% - Line Drive Percentage.
LOOGY - Left Handed One Out Guy
B/S - Batman/Superman
What ever are the Pistons (and every other team in the lottery for that matter) going to do with their 8th pick in Thursday night's NBA draft?
Without jumping up a few spots, the only player that could reasonably fall to them would be Trey Burke, right? No Oladipo, no Porter, no McElmore. Those are the three most obvious players who'd fill the Pistons need for a 2 or a 3, or a combo of both, to add some kind've reliable scoring punch to a rather uninspiring and at times a desperate offense.
I like Trey Burke. I've thought the Chris Paul comparisons dating back to Burke's freshman year at Michigan were appropriate. Their size, unselfishness and court awareness are quite comparable. But expecting Burke to BE Paul, or even close to that, is unreasonable. As much as the league rules now make it easier than ever to be a quality, penetrating point guard, it would seem that Burke, lacking one go-to and unstoppable trait (aside from his innate ability to usually make the right play) is at best destined to hit the ceiling of a player liek Jameer Nelson. Double digit points, six assists, and steal and a half and a lot of unnoticed smart plays each night. (A link below makes a DJ Augustin comp.)
I think the correct pick for the Pistons is Kentavious Caldwell-Powell. But of course with a caution to come.
I know. It's a struggle to find a mock draft that has KCP as high as 8. You can probably find him highest at 9 to Minnesota.
If you're of the mind that the Pistons need a wing scorer, who can attack the basket and even with his rather ordinary freshman season at UCLA, you'd likely be satisfied with Shabazz Muhammad as a Detroiter after Thursday night.
The evaluation of Muhammad that's stuck with me for months went something like this...
Top five pick going left.
End of the first rounder going right.
If he can be taught, and he can work endlessly to refine and improve his game, maybe you've got a relentless basket attacker where James Harden comparisons don't become laughable.
Even in a draft where there are little assurances, I have doubt.
But give me the guy with the guy with the just about ready made jump shot. That's KCP. And at 6'6" 205, his size is equatable to Muhammad's. But...(if I had a dollar for every but in this blog)
Even if KCP is the RIGHT pick for the Pistons, they may still go elsewhere because of the results of last year's draft.
I'm all for searching for that diamond in the rough, but second round picks rarely pan out, so, if the Pistons having serious interest in KCP, I hope the new coaching staff has done its diligence on Khris Middleton and Kim English. Neither of whom played much last year, and were second round picks for a reason.
They've got similar bodies and game's to KCP, and the last thing the Pistons need to do (well, besides adding ANOTHER big, IMO) as they're trying to scratch together 40 wins, is to waste another roster slot on a redudant player. And remember, Kyle Singler fits the mold of the three previously mentioned players as well. See, the Pistons do have some perimeter/wing players, we just don't know if they're plausible NBA contributors.
Before, I offer up some scouting reports, I'm also not against MCW. But (and another) his inaccuracy as a shooter worries me. If his jumper is never ever a threat, he'll never be guarded closely enough to allow his PG talents to shine.
CJ McCollum? Hooray for the little guy, from a place I lived, but the Pistons have to see more of this Brandon Knight thing through. And I remain steadfast that Knight should be built to thrive as an off-the-bench 40% 3 point assassin. I think he can be built into that. He's a 37% 3 shooter in two season. With reduced responsibilities, he COULD be the Pistons Danny Green.
This collection of scout's takes don't seem to like any player 100%.
It's a class of B+'s.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6-6 guard, Georgia: "He takes tough shots, but he makes a lot of 'em. He can score in a multitude of ways. He scores really high in our analytical projections. His weight is a concern because he'll have to defend some of the stronger two guards, but that's about it. He's a great kid, just a southern nice guy, not overwhelmed by the process.
Caldwell-Pope's biggest weapon when he looked to score was his pull-up jump shot. With nearly three-quarters of his shot attempts coming from the perimeter in the half court, roughly half of which were off the bounce, he scored a second ranked 1.118 points per-shot as a pull-up jump shooter, an impressive mark relative to his average 1.066 points per-shot in catch and shoot situations.
Strengths: Outstanding shooter with good range and quick release; good passer; good defender; good rebounder; jumps well.
Weaknesses: Ball-handling needs work; isn't explosive off the dribble; needs to add strength; tends to favor long-distance shots and shot selection is questionable at times.
Strengths: Natural scoring ability (18.5 PPG) and effortless range (37% 3PT) in a classic shooting guard frame. He displayed massive improvement from freshman to sophomore campaigns. A more relaxed shooter in his second year, fully utilizing his foundation for better balance to spring into the shot. Solid elevation and consistent point of release. The trey is his layup.
Weaknesses: Caldwell-Pope's repertoire is highly dependent on perimeter accuracy. Often takes the easy way out, settling for long range bombs rather than using his athleticism. 52% of his shots come from behind the arc. Smooth athlete, but lacks short range quickness or explosiveness -- while he uses the dribble adeptly to buy space for jumpers (hesitation and step back), he does not possess blow by or shake up handles to get all the way to the rim.
For comparison's sake, on Kim English prior to the '12 draft...
English was forced to run the point in lieu of the other wings on his team's roster who struggled mightily before the former Missouri Tiger was handed the reins. Despite the position he was put in, English rose to the challenge, playing aggressively on the offensive end. Although he may have forced the issue on a few occasions, English made some nice plays scoring and passing the ball, found ways to create shots for himself around the basket, knocked down his open jump shots with solid consistency, and showed a high basketball IQ. English may lack elite athleticism, but he plays intense defense, makes the extra pass, and seems well-equipped to fill a Daequan Cook type role in the right situation given his prolific jump shooting.
Strengths: Middleton is a late blooming prospect with solid size for a SF at 6’7 210, and he’s still growing into his body…Silky smooth operator on offense, and can score effectively at all 3 levels…Has a sweet jump shot…Soft touch, and is consistent out to about 22 feet and shows raw NBA range…Able to make shots off screens, spotting up or off the dribble…Functional in the triple threat…Likes to operate in the mid-range area, most comfortable from 15-18 feet, and utilizes a nice pull-up game and an interesting blend of runners in his arsenal...
KCP, MCW, Burke, nor anyone in the draft is the Pistons remedy for loss after loss. I know the organization wants playoffs in the spring of '14, but if it's a slow, but prudent summer of roster decisions and a dud of '13-'14 in targeting a TOP FOUR presence in the East for '14-'15, then IMO (of course it is, it's my blog), then the correct path was traveled.