Pistons Draft Caldwell-Pope In First Round
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NOAH TRISTER,AP Sports Writer
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Pistons picked Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with the No. 8 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, passing on a trio of potential point guards to take a versatile scorer who played college basketball at Georgia.
The 6-foot-5 Caldwell-Pope averaged 18.5 points per game as a sophomore last season and shot 37 percent from 3-point range. Detroit has added big men Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe in recent drafts, and they also took point guard Brandon Knight two years ago. That might be why they decided to pass on point guard Trey Burke of Michigan, a local favorite.
Kansas star Ben McLemore was taken one pick before Detroit’s turn. In addition to Burke, guards Michael Carter-Williams and C.J. McCollum were both available.
It was no surprise that the Pistons sought perimeter help, with Drummond and Monroe looking entrenched inside. The 6-foot-3 Knight can also play off the ball if Detroit had decided to take a point guard — but now it looks like Knight will remain in that role.
What’s less clear is the future of 6-foot-5 guard Rodney Stuckey, who is entering the final year of his contract.
Caldwell-Pope was the first Georgia player since Dominique Wilkins in 1981 to sweep the major Southeastern Conference player of the year awards.
The Pistons have added some solid young talent in recent years, but that hasn’t brought them any closer to the postseason. Detroit hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009.
Attendance has been poor, and there’s little buzz surrounding the franchise in the Detroit area. The pressure will be on Caldwell-Pope to play well after the Pistons passed up a chance to take Burke, the AP national player of the year who led Michigan to the Final Four.
The rest of the offseason is still to come, of course. The Pistons have cleared space under the salary cap in the last year or so by trading veterans Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince, giving team president Joe Dumars some flexibility to remake the roster.
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