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NBA mock draft roundup: Where do experts project the Pistons fall with lottery one week away?

NBA mock draft roundup: Where do experts project the Pistons fall with lottery one week away?

The NBA Draft Lottery is less than a week away. So the Detroit Pistons don’t have to wait too much longer to learn their fate for the NBA Draft on June 23.

In the history of the franchise, the Pistons have had just three No. 1 picks, with the most recent being Cade Cunningham last year.

The Pistons will look to find the right running mate for the 20-year-old point guard who made a strong case to be the team’s floor general. The players projected to go in the top three all boast the offensive tools to be solid options alongside Cunningham.

Should Detroit fall out of the top three, there are a few other options who would match what the team needs.

So here is what the latest round-up of mock drafts looks like.

Complex Sports — Pick: 1 | Prospect: Jabari Smith Jr. (PF | Auburn | 6-10, 220 | 18 years | 16.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2 apg, 42.9% FG, 42% 3FG)

Danny Cunningham of Complex Sports said that the Pistons’ task in this year’s draft is to ultimately find the right player to pair alongside budding superstar Cade Cunningham. In this mock draft, Danny Cunningham wrote that Smith would be the best fit because he is the best player in this year’s draft.

The Complex reporter wrote that Smith’s jumper is smooth and he is NBA-ready to shoot from distance. He noted that Smith’s responsibility seemed to grow as the season progressed.

Of Smith, Danny Cunningham wrote “He’s one of the better athletes in this draft, but needs to attack the rim more often than he does. Smith has a strong frame, but still could benefit from an NBA strength program as his body matures. Adding 5 to 10 pounds of muscle could improve his game even more. Defensively he profiles as a very switchable athlete that could develop into an All-Defensive player in the NBA.”

USA Today, FTW! — Pick: 3 | Prospect: Jabari Smith Jr.

Unlike the mock draft FTW! published in April, Bryan Kalbrosky projected that the Pistons would select Smith with the third overall pick. Smith’s size, age and shooting ability are too enticing and the 18-year-old is projected to have a high ceiling.

“Should he land in Detroit on draft night, Smith and Cade Cunningham would make for a particularly lethal pick-and-pop duo for years to come.”

The Ringer — Pick: 7 | Prospect: Keegan Murray (F | Iowa | 6-8, 215 | 21 years | 23.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, 55.4% FG, 39.8% 3FG)

In this video iteration of the mock draft, Kevin O’Connor still projected that the Pistons would take Iowa’s Keegan Murray with the seventh overall pick.

In the video, O’Connor said, “(I picked) Keegan Murray seventh to the Detroit Pistons. I’m a Keegan Murray guy and I bet Cade Cunningham would be a Keegan Murray guy too, because of his shooting ability, he’s selfless. Hey defends. Can you imagine Keegan Murray at 6-8 with his long arms and his intensity on defense paired with Cade Cunningham and my guy, Killian Hayes, who, by the way, sucks on offense, but he brings it on defense. Those guys can be formidable pretty soon on the defensive end of the floor, so I’m really into that.”

CBS Sports — Pick: 3 | Prospect: Keegan Murray

David Cobb of CBS Sports projected that the Pistons would take Murray with the third overall pick. With Murray going third, that meant that Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren fell to fourth.

One reason Cobb projected that Murray would go so high in the draft was because of his age. Murray will be 22 when the season begins and Cobb wrote that his age could endear him to the Pistons. Cobb wrote that even if Murray’s age does not play a role in the decision, the Hawkeye’s skillset would be enough to make a convincing argument for it. Cobb predicted that Murray’s skillset could make him the first in this class to become an All-Star.

“He’s coming from a program that hasn’t produced a first-round draft pick since 1998, and considering the quantum leap he made as a sophomore, it’s tantalizing to consider what additional elements of Murray’s game can be unlocked by an NBA staff. He’s well-equipped to guard all positions and is an offensive maestro who is especially effective in transition.”

SB Nation — Prospect: Chet Holmgren (PF/C, | Gonzaga | 7-0, 186 lbs | 19 years |14.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 60.7% FG, 39% 3FG)

SB Nation took a different approach in this mock draft and solely focused on who teams should pick if they win next Tueday’s Draft Lottery. So they made the case that if the Pistons win the lottery, they should take Holmgren.

They wrote that since the Pistons took Cunningham in last season’s draft, they aren’t in need of a franchise player. So their argument is that Cunningham will handle most if not all of the playmaking duties, so “adding a front court player who can space the floor and captain the defense with elite rim protection feels like the sharpest team-building move long-term.”

The Athletic — Pick: 6 | Prospect: Bennedict Mathurin (G | Arizona | 19 years | 17.7 ppg | 5.6 rpg | 2.5 apg | 45.0% FG | 36.9% 3FG)

James Edwards III went through a five scenarios in his most recent mock draft. In the first scenario he projected the Pistons would select Mathurin with the sixth overall pick. Edwards said that Mathurin would address two needs including athleticism around the perimeter and three-point shooting.

“Multiple front office folks have told me that Mathurin is “the best wing” in the draft, and that was after it was clear Kentucky’s Shaedon Sharpe would be in the pool of players. Mathurin likely won’t ever be an All-Star, but I’m confident he’ll be a good NBA wing for many, many years if the shooting translates to the next level with no hiccups.”

In the second scenario, Edwards projected the Pistons would take Iowa forward Keegan Murray and that the Hawkeye would likely be the best replacement should Detroit trade Jerami Grant.

“He doesn’t have the highest ceiling of the names listed above, but I believe he has one of the highest floors.”

In his remaining scenarios, Edwards projected the Pistons selected Jaden Ivey, as well as Jabari Smith.

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