Sekou Doumbouya is still only 18, and he didn’t start playing basketball until he was 12.
“That’s good. That means there’s upside,” Detroit Pistons executive Ed Stefanski said. “Youngest kid in the draft. We’re excited.”
The Pistons drafted Doumbouya with the No. 15 pick of the NBA draft Thursday night, adding a versatile international prospect who played last season in France’s top pro league. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Doumbouya is young but has faced experienced competition, and Detroit hopes he’ll make an impact eventually.
“He played against men in a good league over there,” Stefanski said. “So we’re happy.”
Doumbouya does not turn 19 until December. A native of Conakry, Guinea, he moved to France when he was a year old.
Doumbouya averaged 17.8 points per game for France at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship. Doumbouya spent two seasons in France’s second-tier league before moving to the first division.
“I’m a pro right now. I’m a pro since three years in France,” Doumbouya said. “I learn a lot about other players, other grown men. I know what life is of a basketball pro player. I know everything right now. I just got to work.”
It was a busy day for the Pistons. They traded Jon Leuer to Milwaukee for Tony Snell and the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr., who was taken with the 30th pick. The Bucks and Pistons announced that deal around the time the draft was wrapping up.
Porter is headed to the Cavaliers after Cleveland agreed to a deal sending future second-round picks to Detroit. The Pistons also agreed to trade their second-round pick (No. 45) and two future second-rounders to Dallas for the No. 37 pick, according to a person with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade was not yet official. That 37th pick was used on 6-foot-8 Deividas Sirvydis of Lithuania.
ESPN, citing unidentified sources, said Detroit also traded for the rights to Jordan Bone, the 57th pick in the draft.
Detroit made the postseason this year but was swept by Milwaukee in the first round. The Pistons have been building around the trio of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson, and with Griffin and Drummond under big contracts, the Pistons’ flexibility has been limited. They could use a productive addition or two from the draft, and Doumbouya has potential.
“Big wing, 6-foot-9, got a body frame that will only get better,” Stefanski said. “Puts the ball on the floor pretty well. He’s a good athlete, I think his shot’s getting better.”
Kyle Milling, his coach with Limoges in the French league, described Doumbouya as “very raw” but said he can defend four positions. Doumbouya mentioned his defense first when asked what he can bring to the Pistons.
“You have to work with him. We’re going to have to develop him,” Stefanski said. “But there’s a lot of things to like about this guy.”
Sirvydis played in Lithuania’s top pro league. He turned 19 earlier this month. He played for Lithuania at the 2016 FIBA U16 European Championship.
The 6-foot-2 Bone played at Tennessee. He averaged 13.5 points a game as a junior in 2018-19, and he was one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the country’s top point guard.
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