The Pistons have had tremendous success throughout their history, winning NBA titles with the Bad Boy Pistons and also with “The Big Five” led by Finals MVP Chauncey Billups.
But that doesn’t mean the franchise hasn’t faced some lows. While many look at this season as a low, with an injury to Blake Griffin and also the trade of Andre Drummond, there have been worse moments for the Pistons.
These moments came in the NBA Draft, whereby they drafted the wrong players and made some very big mistakes.
Here are the worst one made by the Pistons in the NBA Draft.
6. 2017 NBA Draft
Luke Kennard over Donovan Mitchell
Luke Kennard is a nice shooter and has a high ceiling as a scorer, but he is not Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell is one of the best young players in the NBA and has already arrived as an All-Star in the West for potential title contender Utah Jazz.
Kennard is averaging 15.8 PPG this season, but Mitchel is PPG 24.2 PPG this season and is already one of the top shooting guards in the league. Mitchell is a franchise player, something that Kennard is most likely not.
5. 2015 NBA Draft
Stanley Johnson over Devin Booker
Stanley Johnson seemed like a good pick at the time because he was a strong defender with great size. He seemed to have the potential to be a good scorer too, but he has not come close to Devin Booker’s impact on the court.
Booker is already one of the best scorers in the league and is an offensive explosion waiting to happen. He most recently dropped 70 points in a single game and is averaging 26.1 PPG this season. Clearly, Booker would be an amazing fit with the Pistons and maybe would have kept Andre Drummond on the team.
4. 2011 NBA Draft
Brandon Knight over Kemba Walker
Brandon Knight had potential as a combo guard, and at the very least a strong sixth man in the NBA, but he has not blossomed as Kemba Walker has. Kemba is already a legend in Charlotte and a very good scorer averaging 21.2 PPG this season. Kemba has the talent to be one of the main scoring options on a title contender, so the Pistons dropped the ball with this one.
Knight has had his career seemingly cut short due to injury, and confidence issues have plagued his otherwise promising career. The Pistons could have used an All-Star like Kemba on the squad.
3. 2010 NBA Draft
Greg Monroe over Paul George and Gordon Hayward
Greg Monroe may have had his best years with the Detroit Pistons, but he is certainly not the player that Paul George is or Gordon Hayward is for that matter.
Hayward was a bonafide All-Star when healthy but a gruesome injury has left him finding his feet again. Still, he is a capable starting and can still give 20 points a night when he’s on a scoring streak. Paul George, on the other hand, is a franchise quality player who could have helped the Pistons make a lot deeper playoff runs.
While George won’t necessarily deliver an NBA championship, he is good enough to make them a potential contender in the East.
2. 2013 NBA Draft
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over Giannis Antetokounmpo and C.J. McCollum
KCP was not a bad draft by any means, because he can start on most teams and is a nice two-way player. Pope can let it fly from deep, shooting 39.4% for his career, and is great defensively.
But obviously, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a superstar and one of the top 3 players in the game today. He would have made the Pistons what the Bucks are now, title contenders, and the best team in the East. This was a game-changer and the Pistons made a big mistake with this one. Even C.J. McCollum, a sidekick to Damian Lillard, is a potential All-Star who is also miles ahead of KCP as a talent.
1. 2003 NBA Draft
Darko Milicic over Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony
Without a doubt, the biggest disaster (probably in NBA draft history) was the draft of center Darko Milicic over the trio of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony.
Only one can imagine how dominant the Pistons would have been with Wade, Bosh, or Melo on the squad. Melo especially would have made a tremendous impact, because he was a beast in his prime and he would have made the Pistons title contenders for years. Of course, Wade would have delivered some titles for Detroit as well, since he did it with the Heat a few years later.
Out of all the major disappointments Detroit has had in their franchise history, this draft pick will forever be the worst.