How do the top internet mock drafts compare to one another? PASPN takes a look at what the "experts" have to say as to which player the Pistons may take in this year's NBA Draft.
ESPN: John Henson; "Although Henson is painfully thin, he rebounds, blocks shots and defends multiple positions. It wouldn't be a perfect solution in Detroit, but the Pistons don't have a lot of other options here unless they want to reach a bit for Meyers Leonard who, after his stellar showing at the draft combine, might be worth it."
MSNBC: Jeremy Lamb; "The Pistons have Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey to play SG, and could be targeting a power forward here. But if Perry Jones is gone, Lamb might be the best player left on the board at No. 9. And given the inconsistency of both Gordon and Stuckey, taking a flier on an athlete like Lamb is a real possibility for the Pistons."
Sporting News: John Henson; "Expect the Pistons to go for a UNC big man, either Henson or Tyler Zeller. Henson has a very impressive wingspan and a knack for rebounding and shot-blocking, but he has the most enviable of problems -- he is too thin and needs to add some bulk. Some aren't sure his frame is made for extra weight, however."
CNNSI: Tyler Zeller; "Sacramento isn't the only team contemplating Zeller and Henson as complementary pieces to its emerging center; Detroit is searching for help for Greg Monroe. I'm sticking with Zeller here because he has fewer red flags than Henson (specifically the fact that the latter is rail-thin and not very strong) and a more versatile game that could lead to a long and productive career. Zeller averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks as a senior while earning the ACC Player of the Year award. Henson won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award the last two seasons, but he also jumped just 30 inches at the combine and managed only five repetitions on the 185-pound bench press (Marquette forward Jae Crowder had the highest mark at 20 reps)."
Sportsline: Meyers Leonard; "He's a legitimate 7-footer who is a freak athlete and can be a true center in the league. Sure, he needs to get tougher -- but his upside is ridiculous."
The Pistons have the No. 9 pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, being held June 28. A year ago, the team was searching for a true point guard and opted to take Brandon Knight. This time around, there's no question their greatest need is at the power forward spot alongside Greg Monroe, Detroit's starting center.
The team believes Monroe and Knight are the cornerstones of the franchise's rebuilding process. Likewise, they feel Rodney Stuckey is still a key piece now that he's playing his true position at shooting guard. Veteran Tayshaun Prince remains the starter at small forward, with Jonas Jerebko serving as his backup. Jason Maxiell, who has a player option to become a free agent this summer, started at power forward last season but is better suited for a reserve role.
Of the options available to Detroit at No. 9, John Henson appears to be the best fit. His skillset fits best alongside Monroe, who is more of an offensive-minded center that can step outside the box and be a facilitator with the ball. Henson is long and known for his defense and rebounding. He's athletic and would fit naturally in an uptempo system the Pistons are looking to run.
Without a doubt, there are concerns about Henson's strength and conditioning following his lackluster performance at the draft combine. That said, the Pistons know that -- in today's NBA -- Monroe is a center, not a power forward. They don't need a big, burly player next to Monroe. They need an athlete who can run and jump, and Henson fits that bill.
Unless a top wing player such as Harrison Barnes slides to them, the Pistons are expected to take a power forward. With top-ranked big men Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson and Andre Drummond expected to go before No. 9, Detroit needs to take the best of the second-tier crop of power forwards. Henson appears to be that player.
Steve St-Pierre covers the Pistons for In Play! Magazine. Check it out online at inplaymagazine.com.