Friday, June 29, 2007
Detroit addressed its need for perimeter depth in the draft last night, taking Eastern Washington combo guard Rodney Stuckey with the #15 pick and UCLA shooting guard Arron Afflalo with the #27 pick in the first round. Detroit also added DePaul SG Sammy Mejia with their second round pick, 57th overall.
Stuckey projects to back up both Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton in the near future, and for right now will probably take the bench spot of (hopefully soon-to-be retired) PG Lindsey Hunter. Stuckey possesses the ability to penetrate into the lane and score that the Pistons were sorely lacking last season, and should be able to contribute immediately. He will need to improve his outside shot, as he made only 26.7% of his three point attempts last season, and his defensive effort. However, despite his shortcomings, I definitely like this pick. Stuckey fills a need for the Pistons off the bench, and has the potential to be a solid starter down the road.
Afflalo is a very good mid-range and decent long-range shooter who also possesses good defensive skills. After leading UCLA to back-to-back Final Fours, Afflalo certainly has the big game experience necessary to be comfortable playing a role on a playoff team. Scouts knock his athleticism, which may mean Afflalo will take a while to adjust to the NBA game. I'm not sure how much Afflalo will actually see the floor next year, with Stuckey and Flip Murray probably playing ahead of him in the guard rotation. He seems a little small to back up Tayshaun Prince at small forward. Afflalo certainly fits the mold of a Piston player, but I'm don't know if he fits into the rotation as it currently stands.
I can't claim to know anything about Mejia, another guard who doesn't look like he'll make the Pistons roster next year. I don't really understand the logic behind this pick, with Detroit drafting Stuckey and Afflalo and already having Murray, Will Blalock and Alex Acker at the guard position. I don't expect to see Mejia in a Piston uniform now, or possibly ever.
Overall, I thought this was a decent draft for the Pistons. Stuckey looks to step in and contribute right away, and Afflalo is a strong defender and a pure scorer. I'm still not sure why we drafted Mejia, but Joe Dumars has a habit of drafting some gems late in the second round, so I will withhold judgment on that pick until further notice. I'm looking forward to seeing these players don the Piston uniform next season.