So being a Pistons fan is depressing.. Being a Pistons fan watching arguably the best basketball in the history of the league is really depressing. That being said I want to have a little fun, while at the same time making me want to cry by putting together a completely hypothetical, very unrealistic Pistons lineup that we could have potentially had based on “re-drafting” our picks since the 2010 NBA Draft. To emphasize the point again, this is completely unrealistic as having these players would result in later draft picks year after year, and most of these contracts wouldn’t work out in the long run, but again just having some fun trying to make May as a Pistons fan slightly more entertaining. I’ll start by displaying potential draft picks since 2010 (all players taken after the Pistons selection) and then put together our rotation with a starting lineup, and full bench lineup with a couple cheap free agent pick ups to fill it out.
Actual Pick: Greg Monroe
New Pick: Paul George
Newly self-appointed Playoff P comes to Motown instead of Indy, and boy would he be welcome. He hasn’t had much playoff success for the nickname, but he’s been one of the best players in the league since he was drafted in 2010 with 5 all-star appearances even made his way onto an all-defensive team. Moose was a good passer out of the post, and a decent offensive player in general, but couldn’t run the floor and couldn’t play a lick of defense.
Actual Pick: Brandon Knight
New Pick: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard has been in a weird situation all year, but when healthy there’s no doubt he’s one of the best two way players in the league. He’s an all-time great defender who can shoot the 3, get to the basket, and has shown the ability to play big in big moments, as the Finals MVP in 2014. Do I have to talk about Brandon Knight?
Actual Pick: Andre Drummond
New Pick: Draymond Green
Andre Drummond has been the only “hit” of our last 8 drafts, an all-star and the leading rebounder in the league, he’s been a dominate force at times down low for our Pistons. Draymond Green is an NBA champion, arguably the best defensive player in the league, and a “jack of all trades” type player with an incredibly high basketball IQ that would succeed in any city on any team. This was probably the most difficult decision of the exercise but ultimately it came down to the fact that Draymond is a much better fit in today’s NBA, in 2001 Andre is the pick every time.
Actual Pick: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
New Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo
This one hurts, potentially having a once in a generation type player in Giannis. It is worth noting that Giannis was not on anybody’s radar as a lottery pick in this draft, and the Pistons (and fans) were between KCP and UofM star Trey Burke. KCP was actually a very quality player for the Pistons but having an all-world talent drafted 7 spots below him is a tough pill to swallow.
Actual Pick: Spencer Dinwiddie
New Pick: Nikola Jokic
Not having a 1st round pick in the 2014 draft, we selected Dinwiddie in the 2nd round of the 2014 draft. It was a good pick at the time, and looks like it would be an even better pick now, as he has become a solid starter for the Brooklyn Nets. That being said, 3 picks after Dinwiddie the Nuggets drafted an unknown player out of Serbia, a player who averaged 18.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game this last season. He’s one of the best young players in the league and is right next to Draymond Green as the best 2nd round picks in recent memory.
Actual Pick: Stanley Johnson
New Pick: Devin Booker
Some say the verdict is still out on Stanley, some have already given up on his broken jumper. I will say I’ve given up on his all-star potential, but he is a serviceable player in the NBA as a plus defender and a very good transition scorer….. But Devin Booker scored 70 points in a game. This is a no-brainer. Booker is a volume scorer tailor-made for today’s NBA and would be welcome in any offense.
Actual Pick: Henry Ellenson
New Pick: Dejounte Murray
I firmly believe that Ellenson hasn’t gotten enough of a chance to fit into this Pistons lineup, and can be a serviceable NBA player. I’m not saying he has any kind of star potential, or that he will even be a plus starter, but it is a head scratcher that a guy who looks decent in his limited time hasn’t gotten a shot as a first round pick. Dejounte Murray has taken over for Tony Parker in the San Antonio starting lineup, and deservedly so. He’s a 6’5 point guard who is a plus defender, a decent shooter, and can get to the rim frequently when he’s on his game.
Actual Pick: Luke Kennard
New Pick: Donovan Mitchell
Do I even need to say this one? Mitchell has made this selection more and more painful as the season has gone on by showing true star potential bringing his game with him to the playoffs where he dominated right until elimination. This one hurts the most of all of these missed picks because he should be a Piston. Mitchell said himself that he felt Detroit would take him, adding that he made just about every shot in their workout, and had great conversations with front office staff. This one is going to hurt for the next decade.
Projected Starting Lineup
PG- Dejounte Murray
SG- Kawhi Leonard
SF- Paul George
PF- Giannis Antetokounmpo
C- Nikola Jokic
PG- Jose Calderon
SG- Devin Booker
SF- Donovan Mitchell
PF- Draymond Green
C- Boban Marjanovic
This turned out to be even more depressing than I thought I would to start. To add the disclaimer again, this is completely unrealistic and a pointless exercise. Now again picture this lineup and try imagining us losing a single game ever.
The starting lineup is absolutely devastating. There’s a tall, defensive minded, floor general point guard in Murray. There’s arguably the best two-way player in the league playing out of position but being bigger and stronger than everyone guarding him, and quick/long enough to guard any 2 guard in the game. There’s one of the better small forwards in the game today who can shoot the lights out when his game is on. There’s the future of the league in Giannis, a complete unicorn of a player who would end up taking the ball up frequently in this lineup. Then there’s a big, versatile center who can rebound and has tremendous court vision. This lineup is full of guys who have a high basketball IQ, can space the floor, and are all great defenders.
The bench is one of the better starting lineups in the NBA. I picked up a cheap veteran contract in Jose Calderon, an experienced point guard who can shoot it. Then we have someone who would light up the scoreboard off the bench in Devin Booker, and Donovan Mitchell who would feast on 2nd team players. Draymond Green brings energy, defense, and leadership to the 2nd unit, and my man Boban brings a force down low.
Ultimately this team would easily score 120 points per game, and might shut down opponents to the tune of 90. This is one of the best defensive teams in league history top to bottom, and has plenty of scoring to make sure that Pistons fans can enjoy blow out after blow out in Little Ceasers Arena.
Well that was a depressing trip down memory lane, hope you enjoyed because I shed a couple tears…. okay I cried……. okay I cried a lot shut up and enjoy.