WThe 19th pick belongs to the Detroit Pistons.
Tim Bates
is their GM and he selects: Bobby Jackson


I. Team History

The Detroit Pistons finished the 1996-97 regular season with a 54-28 record, marking their best effort since the 1989-90 season, 59-23. The Pistons have won two titles in the history of the team, 1989 and 1990. The Pistons had a steady decline in wins, from the 1988-89 season with 63 to the 1993-94 season with 20. The Grant Hill era started in the 1994-95 season where the Pistons improved with 8 by wins to 28. The Pistons broke to 50 game mark this year, just as I predicted they would. Grant Hill is not only the number one Piston he is the future of the league. In two years, the NBA belongs to him. Draft History The Pistons recent draft history has been average. In 1996 they drafted Jerome Williams from Geogretown. In 1995 they drafted Theo Ratliff at #18, Randolph Childress at #19, Lou Roe at #30 and Don Reid at #54. In the 1994 they drafted Grant Hill at #3. In 1993 they drafted Lindsey Hunter at #10 and Allan Houston #11. Randolph Childress was traded with Bill Curley to the Portland Trail Blazers for Otis Thorpe on 9/20/95. Alan Houston went to NY Knicks via the free agent market last year. Grant Hill, Houston and Hunter are all quality choices. Jerome Williams may turn out to be good. Team Needs The Pistons could use help almost everywhere, except small forward. They need the most help at Center and the Point just like last year. The Pistons will have a hard time improving their team drafting #19 . They are obviously not going to find an NBA quality starting Center at this selection in the draft. They seemed to survive this past season using a platoon of Mills, Reid, Mahorn, Thorpe and Radliff. The problem is that Thorpe and Mills might be gone. In the backcourt they got by this past season with Dumars and Hunter but could use some help. They might find some back-up guard help at pick 19. I think Micheal Curry, Aaron Mckie and Jerome Williams might play bigger rolls next year. I do think the Pistons would be all right by taking the best available player at the spot. A. CENTER The starting Center position for the Pistons last year was divided up by Theo Radliff 38 starts, Don Reid 14 starts, Rick Mahorn 7 starts and Mills 5 starts. It seems that Reid was the man down the stretch for them. Theo Radliff played in 76 games, he seems to be getting better, 17.0 minutes per game, 3.4 rebounds per game g and 5.8 points per game. Terry Mills averaged 25 minutes per game and played in 79 games. Terry averaged 10.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Mills has improved and the Piston need to resign him. I don't think the Pistons can't survive another season with these 3 players playing most of the minutes at the Center spot. They might be able to find some help in the free agent market, the CBA or through a trade. Mills does play some Power forward as well. B. POWER FORWARD Otis Thorpe. He is on the way out. His numbers are down and Thorpe and Collins don't see eye to eye. His exit will put a big hole at the number 4 spot. Last years draft pick, Jerome Williams from Georgetown didn't see much Playing time last year. I am not sure the Pistons want to gamble on him having a break out year. The pistons do have a lot of big bodies hanging around but none to take the place of Thorpe. Thorpe will be traded or released, if a trade is worked out, the Pistons must get a big body in return. Of course, the problem is solved if Thorpe and Collins work things out. C. SMALL FORWARD Grant Hill! The future of the NBA. He leads the team in; PPG 21.4, RPG 9.0, APG 7.3, Steals with 144, MPG 39.3, and endorsements. He just keeps getting better and better. The Piston game still goes through Hill, with the ball in his hands good things happen. Hill only missed 2 games last year. I would safely say that the Pistons are set with Grant Hill at Small Forward for the next 10 years. D. SHOOTING GUARD Linsey Hunter stepped up and played well at this position. Hunter played in all 82 games and is one of the most improved players in the NBA. He dropped in 14.2 per game. He has an option to be a free agent and I think he is going to exercise that option. I think he is a must resign. This team is guard still guard poor, Mckie and Curry should help. I feel the pistons could help their team a bit in the draft here. There seems to be a lot of shooting guards in the draft. E. POINT GUARD This position is getting weaker, Joe Dumars had a good year. He regained his importance to this team. With Houston is taking off to NYC, Dumars stepped up big for the Pistons. Joe poured in 14.7 per game and averaged 37 minutes per game in 79 games. Dumars started 79 games this year, last year he only started 40. Last year I called for the passing of the torch from Dumars to Houston but now I say Alan who. I say the Pistons give Dumars one more two year contract. I believe in Joey D, I was wrong. I still feel if there is a good guard in the draft, the Pistons take him and let Joe groom him. 96-97 Salaries Detroit Pistons ($27.21 million) Player Salary Otis Thorpe ............. $7,000,000 Grant Hill .............. 5,025,000 Joe Dumars .............. 3,075,000 Stacey Augmon ........... 2,480,000 Terry Mills ............. 2,457,000 Grant Long .............. 2,260,000 Lindsey Hunter .......... 1,715,000 Theo Ratliff .............. 821,000 Jerome Williams ........... 568,000 Michael Curry ............. 400,000 Rick Mahorn ............... 400,000 Don Reid .................. 400,000 Litterial Green ........... 247,500 FREE AGENT UPDATE: Terry Mills would like to return and the Pistons wouldn't mind having the 6-10 three-point shooter come back -- but only for the right price. Salary cap is a consideration here. ... Joe Dumars would like a two-year contract to come back and likely will get it, if only as a reward for his tenure. Lindsay Hunter will exercise a clause in his contract to become a free agent July 1. The Pistons may have to go overboard to retain him, which they want to do. ... Sub guard Michael Curry and backup center/forward Don Reid are likely to be signed again but Randolph Childress is probably a goner. Litterial Green could return if he's willing to play for what the NBA calls a minimum wage. NOTES AND QUOTES While wearing his general manager's cap Tuesday, Collins hinted that the Pistons might use their 19th pick in the draft as trade bait. "We have to get bigger and if a big man slips to No. 19, he's going to be a ways away from helping us," Collins said. "Then you are in a situation where you are developing him for a couple of years and hoping you can keep him when his contract is up." "With the stars getting all the money these days, a lot of good players are getting shut out and they become minimum-salary players. Unless we feel we can get a perimeter player at No. 19 who really turns our heads, we might be better off getting a veteran big man or a CBA guy." TRADE RUMORS It also appears the Otis Thorpe-for-Jayson Williams trade talks are heating up again, although salary-cap restrictions make a deal difficult. Sources close to the New Jersey Nets said Williams, a 6-foot-10 power forward who has had problems with Coach John Calipari and has asked to be traded, has expressed interest in playing for the Pistons. Thorpe is under contract to make $11 million over the next two seasons. But his base-year salary, the figure that will count against the salary cap for next season, is only $2.6 million and will increase to $4 million in August. PISTONS' EIGHT-MAN ROTATION: Guards: Joe Dumars and Lindsey Hunter; Forwards: Grant Hill and Otis Thorpe; Center: Theo Ratliff. Top Subs: Forwards Terry Mills and Grant Long and Guard Michael Curry. NOTEBOOK: (from NBA.com) One of the many so-so big men eligible for the draft is North Carolina's Serge Zwikker, whom the Pistons have brought in for workouts. The draft is next Wednesday. Zwikker, a native of Vlaardingen, Netherlands, is 7-feet-3 and 273 pounds. The upside on Zwikker is that he played for Dean Smith at North Carolina and got better each season. As a senior, he posted career highs of 11.5 points and 8.1 rebounds for the 28-7 Tar Heels. He became the first Carolina player to post 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game since Mitch Kupchak when he scored 22 with 20 rebounds in a victory over Southern California. Zwikker, 24, might be around when the Pistons draft 19th because he is such a liability on defense. Other players the Pistons will look at are 6-7 Danny Fortson of Cincinnati, 6-6 Olivier Saint-Jean of San Jose State and formerly of Michigan, 6-9 John Thomas of Minnesota, 6-6 Anthony Parker of Bradley, 6-5 Charles O'Bannon of UCLA, 7-2 Garth Joseph of College of St. Rose (New York), 7-foot Paul Grant of Wisconsin (and Birmingham Brother Rice), 6-8 Jerald Honeycutt of Tulane, 6-5 Shea Seals of Tulsa, 6-10 Marc Jackson of Temple, 6-11 Jason Lawson of Villanova, 6-11 Scot Pollard of Kansas and 6-9 forward Mark Sanford of Washington. ******************************** Review The Pistons need to sign Hunter and Mills and work something out with Thorpe. Thorpe will be traded or released. Reed and Curry would help out to. A nice blockbuster pre-draft trade is in order for this team. I like the Jayson Williams trade idea, I think he spices up this team. They might get a higher second round pick and grab Center project Serge Zwikker. As far as the draft goes, the Pistons needs are basic. They need some back-up Point Guard help and some size. They should look for someone willing to be patient, work hard, and learn the game. Someone who is intelligent and an unselfish player. I think a player like this will be available at #19. The Pistons like to play all the options that are available to them, so it is hard to say what they will do in the real draft, trade up or down or stay where they are. I say the Pistons will be dealing before the draft. They have some holes to fill that can't be really be done with the 19th pick.

II. My Selection.

Bobby Jackson, Point Guard, Minnesota. I wanted to pick Serge Zwikker but felt he wasn't worth the 19th pick. I made this same pick last year, a combination PG/SG to spell the backcourt. This defiantly fill a need for this team. I also like the fact Bobby is a Senior. Scouting Report from: Uncle Vasya) Background: A major factor in Minnesota's excellent season, which included a Big Ten title and a Final Four NCAA appearance, Bobby Jackson had seemingly come out of nowhere to become one of the top college players in the nation this season, earning 2nd team AP All-American and 1st team Big Ten honors. Strengths: Bobby is an excellent overall athlete. He has the speed and quickness to push the ball up the floor, break a press, apply defensive pressure, and get in the lane. Has nice strength and toughness for his size, as well as leaping ability. He is good at finishing or drawing fouls. He is an excellent rebounder for a six-footer. Has all the intangibles you could ask for -- heart, desire to win, ability to elevate his game when necessary, etc. as demonstrated by his NCAA performance. A solid free-throw shooter, and able to make them with the game on the line. Weaknesses: Not a pure playmaking PG. More of a scorer's mentality. Doesn't have the range of a guard either - shot 32% from the college arc this season, averaging less than one make per game. More comfortable taking the shorter jumper.

III. Other Considered

Maurice Taylor Regional Star, and might bring some excitement to the court. I just feel this guy isn't going to be an impact in the NBA. The pistons would be limited to playing him at power forward only. Derek Anderson I Really think this guy shines as a pro, if he had dropped to 19, I would have grabbed him. Chris Anstey Big, Tall Aussie. He might fill the bill for the Pistons like Luc Longley did for Jordan. This guy isnit Luc Longley but he is tall. He could use a few cheeseburgers. He has Pro experience and is only 22 years old. Still I think too big of a project. Anthony Johnson I included Anthony Johnson because I went to the College of Charleston and I couldn't refuse. Nice to see one of the guys has a chance to make the NBA. He is a 6-3 point guard. Serge Zwikker I just couldn't use the 19th pick for him.

IV. Who will they take.

I think the Pistons take nobody here, this pick will be traded along with Thorpe. If they do not trade it away, I like Derek Anderson. He has been labeled "damaged goods" and he might fall to 19. I think the Pistons could take a chance on this guy. No knee injury last year and this guy goes lottery. I think an outstanding gamble for a possible star in this league. This is a guy the Pistons could bring along slowly. He is a talent with something left to prove. I think he has a good attitude and comes out of a great program. He might somehow end up on the Celtics. V. Other moves they should make. 1. Trade Thorpe, nobody needs a trouble maker. 2. Resign Mills and Hunter. 3. Resign Reed and Curry. 4. Fill the Bench with some CBA talent or low end free agents and hope for a break out year from one of them. Hill will make the players around him better than they really are. 5. Lose Grant Long 6. Keep Rick Mahorn around, he knows the way to a title and could be a bonus in the locker room.

Back to 1997 Usenet draft page