AUBURN HILLS—For Joe Dumars, it is nearly decision time. The Pistons President of Basketball Operations is facing a couple of important decisions this off-season, hiring another head coach, and attempting to find a diamond in the rough in this Thursday's NBA draft.
Dumars has found plenty of success in the draft, most notably with forwards Tayshaun Prince and Greg Monroe. Prince was a mainstay on a team that went to six straight conference finals and won an NBA championship in 2004. Monroe was a strong performer down the stretch for the Pistons, averaging 13.7 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 58% from the field after the all-star break. However for every Prince and Monroe, there is a Darko Milic and a Rodney White.
In this draft, Dumars looks to add to a collection of guards and small forwards, adding size to a squad desperate for a big man to complement Monroe. Czech combo forward Jan Vesely, a European big man with impressive length and an aggressive offensive game might be the best selection if the Pistons stay at their current slot at number 8.
Bismarck Biyombo reminds people of Ben Wallace, however he is incredibly raw. Jonas Valanciunas has a lot of skill, but does not have an NBA body now and needs to bulk up. Donatas Montiejunas will most likely be gone before the Pistons select, but he has an interesting mix of offensive fire and defensive tenacity.
Despite the logjam at the guard spots, Detroit could opt for Kemba Walker from Connecticut. Walker is a proven winner, having leading the Huskies to an NCAA title last season. He could be the playmaker the Pistons sorely need, however selecting another guard may not be Dumars best choice with the pick.
Whoever Dumars opts for will need to be ready. This season, the Pistons do not have the luxury of letting this season's rookie develop on the bench. The player will be expected to contribute immediately. This time around, Dumars needs to find his "Prince' and not his Milic.