The 2007 NBA Draft took place last Thursday, and many great NBA prospects were selected by all 30 of the NBA teams. If any of you have watched ESPN’s Sports Center in the last month, then you probably know about Greg Oden from Ohio State and Kevin Durant from Texas. However, since Detroit didn’t have a high enough draft pick to get either of those two, I want to go into detail about the three men the Pistons did draft.
Rodney Stuckey was the Pistons’ first pick in this year’s NBA Draft. As the fifteenth overall selection, Stuckey looks to be a promising rookie for next season. In college Rodney averaged in just two seasons with Easten Washington University, Stuckey averaged 24.4 points per game over his two seasons. Other than the little I have read about Stuckey, I don’t really know anything about him. I was unable to find any video footage of Rodney actually playing in a basketball game. I’m sure that is due to the fact that Eastern Washington isn’t a big name college, and they don’t get on television very often. From what I have read, Stuckey is a good guard who can play both the point guard and the shooting guard positions. He is a mostly a scorer, and a good ball handler and passer. Hopefully Stuckey will bring something to the Pistons that they seem to lack at times. And that thing is scoring. If Detroit can turn Stuckey into a guy they can put in when they really need a few baskets, I will be very happy.
Detroit’s second pick in the first round last Thurday was UCLA’s Arron Afflalo. From what I’ve read and watched about Afflalo, I’m surprised the Pistons were able to get him as low in the first round as they did. As the 27th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Afflalo looks like a great prospect for a back-up guard. It looks to me like Afflalo is a younger version of Richard Hamilton. He has a great mid-range game, and makes great plays running off screens. Catching and shooting is how Afflalo made a name for himself at UCLA. Also, Afflalo has somewhat of an outside touch. However, I’m not sure if that will carry over into the NBA, due to the fact that the three point line is considerably farther from the basket in the NBA. Afflalo was a First Team All-American during the 2006-’07 season. Also during that season, he was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year. During his three seasons with the Bruins, Afflalo averaged 14.8 points per game. In his junior year, (’06-’07 before entering the Draft) he averaged 16.9 points per game. Something else that I noticed is that Afflalo is a 6’5 guard who can really get up. I am almost certain that Afflalo will be a crowd pleaser in Auburn Hills if he does in fact get signed and gets some minutes off the bench. If Afflalo can get a little bit stronger in order to keep running off screens and pull up with those mid-range jumpers, he should be a great addition to the Pistons’ bench next season. If you are so inclined, here is a clip of Arron Afflalo highlighs.
The Pistons’ last draft choice was another player who I couldn’t find much info about. Sammy Mejia was the 57th overall pick in this year’s Draft, and is out of DePaul. Like Rodney Stuckey, I was unable to find any video footage of Mejia playing in a game. Mejia stayed in college for all four years of his eligability. Over his four years at DePaul, Mejia averaged 12.1 points per game. From what I have read, Mejia has the ability to play both guard positions. Also, he is a good stop-and-pop mid range shooter. I don’t think 6’6″ is tall enough to play small forward, but evidently the “experts” over at NBA.com think so.
I think that Mejia has a “slim to none” chance of making the team for the upcoming season. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t think that he is talented enough to stand out amongst Stuckey and Afflalo.
All in all, I think that this year’s NBA Draft went well for the Pistons. If I had to grade it, I think I’d give Joe Dumars’ drafting job a B+. Dumars has obviously addressed the scoring problem the Pistons had all throughout the 2006-2007 season and this years’s NBA Playoffs with two guard prospects who can both score. I’m not certain that both Stuckey and Afflalo will make the Detroit roster this year, but I’m almost positive one of them will. However, I don’t think that Dumars has addressed a major problem with this Pistons team right now. That problem is the lack of low-post play. Chris Webber (if he is re-signed) and Rasheed Wallace are both aging and are past their banging down low days. Antonio McDyess isn’t a power big man any more because of all the knee surguries he has undergone, plus the fact that he is aging as well. I would have thought that Joe D would have used one of his first round picks to draft a young promising center or power forward. But I’m not sure which pick I would have liked to trade off for a big man. Overall, I think that this year’s NBA Draft will help improve the Pistons’ team for next season.