NBA Draft Lottery 2011: Detroit Pistons Hoping For Franchise Cornerstone

The Detroit Pistons find themselves back in pretty much the same spot they were in last year: somewhere in the middle of the NBA Draft lottery hoping for luck as they look for a franchise player. Last year, they did well to snag big man Greg Monroe with the No. 7 pick. This year, they had the seventh-worst record and therefore have a 4.3 percent chance to win the lottery. The worst they could do is 10th.

TEAM NEEDS

A lot depends on the status of point guard Rodney Stuckey. Stuckey had a decent year in 2011, but is a restricted free agent, and the Pistons must decide if he is the man to be at the position for the foreseeable future. If the answer is yes, they can look elsewhere in the draft. Detroit has some youth at small forward (Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye), and Monroe is a building block up front, but they could certainly use more scoring punch in both spots.

On the wings, Ben Gordon has been a disappointment since signing a big contract in 2009, and Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince will likely be elsewhere next season even though Hamilton is under contract. Up front, Monroe could certainly use a second low-post threat to take advantage of his versatility.

If the Pistons decide that Stuckey isn't the guy to man the position, they will have to find a replacement, and that has to be their No. 1 priority.

IF THEY WIN

You'd have to think that they take Kyrie Irving and jettison Stuckey. Derrick Williams is a very good prospect, but I'm not sure how he fits with Monroe, and Detroit needs a floor general or a space eater more than a floor spacer. Enes Kanter would also be intriguing, especially because he could play well off Monroe, but this team needs a floor general more to make life easier for everyone else, and Irving is that guy.

If they do not win the lottery, watch out for Kentucky's Brandon Knight, who could be a lot of the things Irving would be if they decide to move on from Stuckey.

PREVIOUS LUCK

Last year was the Pistons' first year in the NBA Draft lottery since 2001, and they didn't move up. The last time they had a top-three pick was in 1994, when they took Grant Hill.

For more on the Pistons, check out Detroit Bad Boys and SB Nation Detroit.

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