Stanley Johnson Selected at Eight: Did Pistons Get it Right?
On Thursday night the Pistons entered into the NBA Draft looking for some wing help and when their pick rolled around at number eight, two great small forward prospects were sitting, waiting to be drafted.
On the one hand there was Arizona's Stanley Johnson, a player many experts thought would be at this section of the draft, and a few even predicted that Johnson would be selected by Detroit.
Then there was Duke's Justise Winslow. The experts, even some that had Stanley Johnson going to Detroit, said Winslow had no chance of falling to Detroit. He was a fringe top five pick and Sacramento and Denver would eye him if he fell out of the top five. But he had fallen, seemingly into Detroit's lap, ready to be taken.
The pick came in and it was the Wildcat, not the Blue Devil selected at eight overall.
I'm not going to claim to have insider information on why this pick was made, or why Justise Winslow fell all the way to 10 where he was scooped up by the Miami Heat. Had the Pistons selected Winslow he would have been the first lottery pick from Duke picked by Detroit since Grant Hill, that worked out pretty well.
What is interesting though, is this pick seems to have spawned two different ideas in the motor city.
The first is the idea that the Pistons got their man, it's exactly who they needed and who they wanted and everything is right in the world when it comes to Van Gundy trying to revive this Pistons team. An idea given off in sentiment by The Detroit News' Terry Foster.
The other camp's flag is held by the Detroit Free Press' Drew Sharp. He says not only did the Pistons get it wrong, they drafted the wrong position. Forget Winslow, Sharp wanted Kentucky's Devin Booker, a shooting guard rather than a small forward.
Said Sharp on Johnson: "Stanley Johnson can't shoot... he'll probably find a role within Stan Van Gundy's nine-man rotation next season."
On Booker: "He's the best pure shooting American-born player projected among the lottery picks."
In fact, Terry Foster seconds that Winslow wasn't considered by the Pistons and that it was Booker that the Pistons were thinking about drafting before ultimately choosing Johnson.
For what it's worth, Booker dropped all the way to 13 where he was picked up by the Phoenix Suns.
All three players brought up were freshmen at their respective universities and looking at their numbers it's easy to see why the decision at eight was a tough one for the Pistons camp.
|Stanley Johnson, ARIZ, SF||Devin Booker, UK, SG||Justise Winslow, DUKE, SF|
|6-6, 242LB, 8-6 Reach||6-6, 206LB, 8-5 Reach||6-6, 222LB, 8-8 Reach|
|28.4 Min/G (38 games)||21.5 Min/G (38 games)||29.1 Min/G (39 games)|
|44.6 FG %||47.0 FG %||48.6 FG %|
|37.1 3pt %||41.1 3pt %||41.8 3pt%|
|74.2 FT %||82.8 FT %||64.1 FT %|
|13.8 PPG||10.0 PPG||12.6 PPG|
|6.5 REB/G||2.0 REB/G||6.5 REB/G|
|1.7 AST/G||1.1 AST/G||2.1 AST/G|
|2.2 TO/G||1.0 TO/G||1.8 TO/G|
The numbers speak for themselves as comparable.
Maybe the tiebreaker came from pure moxie. From Foster's piece, Johnson was quoted as to why the Pistons took him: "Because I am the best player in the draft."
We'll see how Mr. Johnson lives up to his own billing.