The Detroit Pistons suddenly became something of a player in the 2019 NBA Draft, nabbing a second first-round pick Wednesday night in a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks. In exchange for Jon Leuer, Detroit received Milwaukee’s No. 30 selection in addition to forward Tony Snell.
That gives the Pistons three total selections in Thursday’s draft, with the team also holding a second-round pick (No. 45 overall).
With picks No. 15 and 30, the Pistons won’t make as much of an impact on the first round as the New Orleans Pelicans (Nos. 1 and 4), Memphis Grizzlies (Nos. 2 and 23), Cleveland Cavaliers (Nos. 5 and 22), Atlanta Hawks (Nos. 8, 10, and 17), or Boston Celtics (Nos. 14, 20 and 22). But they could be as intriguing to follow as the San Antonio Spurs (Nos. 19 and 29), joining the seven clubs with multiple picks among the first 30 selections.
Check out Jonathan Adams’ two-round NBA mock draft for predictions on which players will go where. Those picks will be part of the consensus we draw on who the Pistons will select with their three choices.
No. 15 Detroit Pistons: SF Romeo Langford, Indiana
Midway through the first round, it’s a bit difficult to zero in on one player the Pistons could pick. But among NBA Draft experts and mock drafts, one name stood out from the rest. Romeo Langford, 19, wasn’t as dominant a freshman for Indiana as many were projecting, but he fought a torn ligament in his shooting hand throughout the season. That was certainly a factor in shooting only 27 percent from 3-point range.
Detroit would like a better shooter, but Langford’s percentage should improve with a healthy thumb. At 6-foot-6, 215 pounds, Langford also fills a need for an athletic wing who can create his own shot and score out of the pick-and-roll.
The Pistons might prefer a more finished product with their first pick which is why several analysts are also looking at Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker as a possible selection. His 39 percent 3-point shooting touch would fit well, in addition to his playmaking skills and ability to play both guard positions at 6-foot-5.
If Tyler Herro was available, Detroit would probably be thrilled. Cameron Johnson would also be a nice fit. But the pick will likely be Langford or Alexander-Walker.
No. 30 Detroit Pistons: F Darius Bazley, Princeton HS
Many of the available mock drafts were compiled before the Pistons acquired pick No. 30 from the Bucks, so very little consensus exists at who Detroit could select at the end of the first round. But one name popping up more than once is Darius Bazley, 19, who made headlines by opting not to play in college (spurning Syracuse) and signing a one-year internship with New Balance.
At 6-foot-9, 208 pounds, Bazley has the size and athleticism to make an impact. But after sitting out a year (though he did train in the Boston area), he may be more of a project who could use some seasoning in the G League before contributing in the NBA. Still, the raw athleticism and shooting touch could appeal to teams picking before Detroit’s No. 30 selection.
No. 45 Detroit Pistons: SF Deividas Sirvydis, Lietuvos
While there’s a variety of predictions on who Detroit will select at No. 15 and 30, a majority of mock drafts slot Deividas Syrvidis in for the Pistons’ final pick at No. 45 in the second round.
Syrvidis, 19, entered the 2019 draft just before his Lietuvos Rytas team played for the Lithuanian Championship. (Rytas lost in the finals to Zalgiris Kaunas.) At 6-foot-7, he has the height and length the Pistons would like at a wing position. Though at 196 pounds, Syrvidis will have to put on muscle to hold his own against stronger NBA players.
Detroit would certainly love it of Syrvidis showed the same shooting touch he demonstrated for Rytas in 60 games of Lithuanian League and Eurocup competition. He shot 36 percent from three-point range (and a very impressive 46 percent in 17 games during Eurocup), averaging 5.8 points per game. But Syrvidis insists he’s not just a shooter, but also a playmaker who can score in the pick-and-roll.