The Detroit Pistons will have the eighth pick in the 2011 NBA draft, as their luck in the lottery faltered, costing them one spot from their projected seventh spot.
The team entered with a 15.3 percent chance of netting a top-three pick, including a 4.3 percent chance of taking the top spot. They had a 59 percent of staying at #7– the slot they held last year that resulted in drafting forward Greg Monroe, their player representative at this year’s lottery –but were pushed down a spot when Cleveland vaulted to number one.
It’s the second straight year Detroit failed to gain a top-three pick in the lottery, but the eighth pick shouldn’t prove to be a major hindrance in one of the most uncertain drafts in recent years. Beyond Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams, widely presumed to be the top picks when the draft rolls around June 23, few surefire bets exist in rest of the top ten draft slots.
GM Joe Dumars made out well last year with the selection of Monroe at seven, and after the lottery he suggested he’ll go with another big man to complement him. For that, he’s likely to dip into the international pool that figures to make this year’s lottery picks.
Enes Kanter, the 6-11 center out of Turkey who was ruled ineligible to play at Kentucky, remains one of most highly touted post players, but he most likely won’t fall to Detroit at eight. Other options include 6-11 Jonas Valanciunas out of Lithuania, a raw talent thought to have huge upside. The Czech Republic’s Jan Vesely, another 6-11 forward, plays more around the perimeter than the post presence the Pistons are looking to develop. Bismack Biyombo, a Congolese center, has drawn comparisons to Ben Wallace with a huge wingspan and defensive mindset.
Texas’ Tristan Thompson is another possibility at eight if the international well runs dry by the time Detroit is on the clock, but look for Dumars to be traveling extensively through Europe over the next month to tap those resources.