Four Potential Draft Steals For Pistons With 15th Pick

Isn't it time they strike gold?

Will Burchfield
June 19, 2019 - 2:15 pm

© Kevin Jairajj-USA TODAY Sports

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We're one day away from the NBA Draft, and things look wide open for the Pistons with the 15th overall pick. Acting general manager Ed Stefanski said on Monday the team has its eye on "numerous guys ... at various positions." The Pistons, right or wrong, are going for it with Blake Griffin under contract. "Shooters and playmakers," said Stefanski, are the general target. A scoring wing is the specific one. 

The big names will be off the board by No. 15, but it's not as though stars haven't been found there before. Like Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2013 and Kawhi Leonard in 2011, as you may have heard. And don't forget about Al Jefferson in 2004! If things break in the Pistons favor and/or they're willing to take a chance on raw talent -- more in this in a bit -- maybe they can uncover a gem in the first round.

They're certainly due. The last time they really nailed a first-rounder was in 2002 when they took Tayshaun Prince 23rd overall. 

Is there such a steal waiting out there this year? Let's consider a few candidates. 

Nassir Little, SF

A year ago, Little was considered a top-five pick. Most mock drafts still have him going late in the lottery. But after an uneven freshman season at UNC, Little's stock has taken a bit of a hit. It's telling that he was one of the only lottery candidates to visit the Pistons for a workout. He's unlikely to make an immediate impact, but Little has the length and athleticism to become a star in today's NBA. He's been compared, as a matter of fact, to Leonard.

The odds that he's on the board at No. 15? Slim -- but not null. Sports Illustrated sent Little to the Pistons in its most recent mock. If he's indeed there, the Pistons would have to pull the trigger. A wing who can score and create? They can probably find room for that. 

Kevin Porter Jr., SG

Any discussion about boom-or-bust prospects starts with Porter Jr. Some say he's as a clear lottery pick, others say he's a late first-rounder. But this much is clear: outside of Zion Williamson, Porter Jr. has as much star potential as anyone in the draft. There's a good chance he'll be available at No. 15 -- and this is where the Pistons would have to take a chance. Porter Jr. has invited character questions after a tumultuous freshman season at USC. The Pistons are wary of such players

"Talent is one thing and you can’t replace it, but if you don't want to put that effort in and do what we want them to do, you can strike out," said Stefanski. "And we can’t strikeout. That’s what I keep saying. We can take a swing for the fences and if we have to sit on the bench because we struck out, that’s not going to help our franchise where we are today."

Then again, if they hit a homer with Porter Jr., a left-handed scorer who's drawn comparisons to James Harden, everything changes. 

Romeo Langford, SG

Another freshman, another high-risk, high-reward prospect. Langford has been mocked frequently to the Pistons, most recently by CBS Sports and Sporting News. Like Little, Langford's stock dropped after an underwhelming one-and-done season at Indiana. Part of his struggles were due to the fact he played with a torn ligament in his shooting hand. That type of toughness could appeal to Stefanski and the Pistons. 

Even more appealing is his ability to score off the bounce. Among a handful of wings who could be available to the Pistons, Langford is the one with the most potential. If it turns out his shooting woes were an injury-related fluke, he could be the steal of this draft. He's been compared to Khris Middleton -- and what the Pistons would give to have Middleton back. 

Tyler Herro, SG

No, Herro doesn't have the same upside as the aforementioned three. But he can flat out stroke it. The numbers didn't necessarily reflect that in his lone season at Kentucky, but Herro's form is pure. He should be picked right in the Pistons' range. If they're looking for a shooter to help space the floor -- and they most certainly are -- Herro's a natural fit. And we include him on this list because NBA insider Ric Bucher mentioned him as a mid-to-late first-rounder who could surprise. 

"Right now I think he’s late teens, early 20’s. He, to me, seems like a perfect piece. He may be the best shooter in the draft. If he were there (at No. 15), I imagine the Pistons would snatch him up. That’s a guy that I would look at," Bucher told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket.