The upside of this is that draftniks like myself can start looking ahead to June 23. Detroit is currently in position to draft ninth, but anything can happen in the lottery. So assuming they can do no worse than 9th, let's see who could be sitting on the bench behind less talented players in October...
Players who will be gone...
This section is for the elite prospects that will be top 5 draft picks in alphabetical order. Keep in mind the NBA draft is much more about upside than the NFL draft.
Harrison Barnes-The number one player coming out of high school, he started slow for UNC but came on in the spring. He scored 40 against Clemson in the ACC tournament, and is an elite SF.
Kyrie Irving-The freshman PG from Duke missed most of the season with a foot injury, but has shown that he's an elite prospect. He averaged 17.5 ppg on a loaded Blue Devil team.
Perry Jones-Another player one year removed from high school, Jones didn't have the type of impact at Baylor that many people expected of him. He is still extremely athletic, and a top-5 lock should he declare.
Enes Kanter-Imagine how messy your situation is if Calipari can't get you into Kentucky. Kanter's status was different because he is from Turkey and already played some pro ball. He is big, athletic, and has huge upside.
Derrick Williams-A rare player who spent a whopping 2 years at Arizona. He is somewhat undersized at 6'8'' 240 lbs, but can score and rebound with anyone. He would have been a lottery pick last year, and should go top-5 this year.
Best of the rest
These are the players that could have an immediate impact, but are a notch below the players listed above.Once again, players are listed in alphabetical order.
Terrence Jones-Another Kentucky player in the top ten. He is slightly undersized, but has good range. He has a boom/bust aspect that is unmatched by the players listed.
Kawhi Leonard-Relatively unknown to most fans, he has been on NBA radars for 3 years. He became a bigger name as SDSU earned a 2 seed. He should be solid, if not unspectacular.
Donatas Motiejunas-One of two Lithuanian big men who should be lottery picks. I haven't seen him play, but he's supposedly good.
Jonas Valanciunas-The second Lithuanian Sensation. Again, I am trusting the mock drafts I have read. I am part Lithuanian, so I don't want to see him in Detroit.
Kemba Walker-The UCONN PG was the best player in college this season if you ask me. He dominated in the Big East, the Big East Tournament, and has UCONN in the Final Four. He can get his shot whenever he wants, and should be a good pro.
That would be my top 10. If I had to put money on who ends up a Piston, it would be on Jimmer Fredette. He would fit in with the rest of the Pistons in that he needs 30 shots a game to score 30. I would have included Jared Sullinger, but he says he's staying at OSU.
If I were to put them in order, it would be:
- Perry Jones
- Terrence Jones
Let's hope the lottery works out, and they get a top-5 pick.