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2024 NBA Draft: 3 Pistons Targets At Pick 5 

Dalton Knecht is one of the Pistons top draft prospects.

With the 5th pick in the 2024 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons select…

This is the question on the minds of fans across Detroit as the draft approaches. The Pistons face multiple paths forward in a year where the draft class is categorized as lackluster at best. Given the team’s current makeup, trading the pick is valuable, yet the trade chances seem slim.

The recent appointment of Trajan Langdon as the president of basketball operations is a game-changer for the Pistons. Langdon’s strategic insight and vision for the team could potentially lead to a new era for the Pistons, breaking free from years of obscurity.

So, what should the Pistons do with the fifth pick? This decision carries significant weight, as it could potentially shape the future of the team, bringing depth and versatility to the roster. Three prospects stand out as potential additions. Let’s break down these candidates and determine the best fit for the team, understanding the gravity of this choice.

2024 NBA Draft: 3 Pistons Targets At Pick 5

Draft Prospect: Stephon Castle

Stephon Castle is a 6’6”, 215-pound combo guard from UConn. He is versatile, capable of ball-handling and facilitating, and has the physical attributes to play multiple positions. In his one season at UConn, Castle averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 27 minutes. He was the 2024 Big East freshman of the year and made the 2024 NCAA East Region All-Regional Team and the 2024 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team, showcasing his potential.

Where Can Stephon Castle Excel in Detroit?

Castle will immediately excel in the pick-and-roll. His abilities in this play have been scouted as some of the best among guards in the draft. Imagine the pick-and-roll offense with him and Jalen Duren. Another strength is his ball-handling and playmaking skills, allowing Cade Cunningham to play off the ball more aggressively as a scorer. Defensively, Castle brings solid skills with an average of 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per 40 minutes in college.

What Should Piston Fans Be Concerned About?

Detroit finished the regular season 26th with a three-point percentage of 34%. Castle’s three-point shooting, at 26%, may not significantly improve this. While he was a practical shooter from two-point range (54%), much of his success came from scoring in transition, ball screens, and offensive rebounding. He can’t reliably create his shot from beyond the arc. Outside of Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, Detroit lacks shot creators, which could be a limitation.

Draft Prospect: Matas Buzelis

Matas Buzelis is a 6’10” guard/forward who combines shot-making versatility, decent ball-handling, and athleticism. In 26 games for the G-League Ignite, Buzelis averaged 14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 32 minutes. He shot 44% from the field, 27% from three, and 68% from the line.

Where Can Buzelis Excel With Detroit?

Buzelis’s ability to handle the ball and initiate the offense can benefit Cade Cunningham by allowing him to hunt for shots. Buzelis can create and make shots, which will help a Pistons team that lacks creators. Defensively, he has potential with 2.1 blocks per game in the G-League. A Buzelis/Ausar Thompson pairing on defense could be formidable.

What Should Piston Fans Be Concerned About?

Buzelis shot 27% from three-point range, similar to Castle, which is a concern given the Pistons’ shooting struggles. He averaged just two free throws per game, suggesting he lacks aggression to attack the rim. Buzelis often played a background role when the Ignite clicked, raising concerns about his game-changer ability.

Draft Prospect: Dalton Knecht

Dalton Knecht is a 6’6”, 212-pound guard from Tennessee who is a pure scorer. He averaged 21.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in his lone season at the school, following two seasons at Northeastern Junior College, where he averaged 18.6 points.

Where Can Knecht Excel In Detroit?

Knecht’s most significant strength is his shooting. He can immediately be the floor spacer the team needs, having shot 46% from the field, 39% from three, and 76% from the line. Knecht also has the potential to thrive on both ends of the pick-and-roll with his playmaking abilities and off-the-dribble scoring.

What Should Piston Fans Be Concerned About?

One of Knecht’s weaknesses is his defense, which teams may exploit. Another factor is his age; having recently turned 23, Knecht is older than most prospects, which could be a concern when comparing him to 19-20-year-old draftees.

Exploring Trade Possibilities

While selecting a player with the 5th pick is viable, exploring trade possibilities could also significantly benefit the Pistons. Trading the pick for a proven player or multiple assets might provide immediate impact and address specific needs such as perimeter shooting or interior defense. This could be a strategic move that propels the team forward.

The Last Word

The Pistons face a critical decision with the fifth pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Stephon Castle, Matas Buzelis, and Dalton Knecht each offer unique strengths and potential fits for the team. Castle brings versatility and defensive prowess, Buzelis offers shot-making and defensive potential, while Knecht provides much-needed shooting. Alternatively, trading the pick could yield immediate benefits. Trajan Langdon’s strategic insight will be crucial in making a decision that could shape the future of the Pistons franchise.

Pistons Pick: Dalton Knecht. He gives the Pistons an outside shooter they desperately need.  His age doesn’t concern me in the slightest. I think the fact that he is older will make him a significant contributor.


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