The list of draft day hopefuls continued to grow for the Detroit Pistons on Monday. After working out and visiting with a solid mix of first and second-round talent last week –including Trey Burke, CJ McCollum and Cody Zeller –the Pistons brought in two players that have been jet-setting around the rest of the league in recent weeks: Shabazz Muhammad and Ricky Ledo.
After having a second visit with the Sacramento Kings (holding the no.7 overall pick) over the weekend, Muhammad visited with the Pistons on Monday. Since declaring for the NBA Draft and even before the end of the NCAA season, Muhammad has seen his stock plummet. Some mock drafts have him falling nearly out of the top 15, but while mock draft speculation is almost always erroneous (especially this year) there is one near-certainty with Muhammad. If he's going to be picked in the top 10 it's going to have to happen with a team that has fallen in love with him. As Sacramento has flown Muhammad out twice now, it's not a long shot to think that the Kings are seriously thinking about Muhammad at no. 7.
As Dan Feldman of PistonPowered.com wrote earlier Monday morning, having Muhammad go to the Kings at no. 7 could be the difference between the Pistons getting Trey Burke or missing out on the Michigan point guard. That said, if Burke was off the board at no. 8 and the Pistons favored Muhammad over the other players still likely to be available (McCollum, Zeller and Michael Carter-Williams), Muhammad's ability to score the ball from the outside or off the dribble would provide the Pistons with a viable option on the wing where they need an offensive threat to keep defenders from sagging into the paint on Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. The thinking that Muhammad might not be worth the eighth pick overall is irrelevant; if there's little shakeup at the top of the draft order then the pool of talent available to be selected with no. 8 isn't "worth" the lottery status anyway. It would be a "best of the rest" drafting scenario at no.8, and if the Pistons believe Muhammad is the best then they should take him.
Whatever happens, it was wise to bring Muhammad in for a visit prior to draft night. He's one of the more polarizing players in the draft, and one that the Pistons weren't likely to use their top 10 pick on without a face-to-face workout and visit.
The other notable player the Pistons brought in for a workout was Ricky Ledo, a 2012-13 Providence commit who was academically ineligible to play during the NCAA season. Ledo was a McDonald's All-American, and ranked no. 6 in the class of 2012 coming out of high school. As he did not compete in a single college game while attending Providence, most NBA teams have been bringing in Ledo for individual workouts to briefly test his ceiling. Ledo is a 6'6" shooting guard with a 6'7" wingspan. According to sources at the NBA Combine in Chicago, Ledo didn't turn any heads when his athleticism was tested, but Ledo "more than held his own." Including the Pistons, Ledo has worked out for 18 NBA teams in the ongoing lead up to Thursday's NBA Draft. While he's not an option at no. 8 for the Pistons, Ledo could be taken with either of the team's two second-round picks (nos. 37 and 56).
The 2013 NBA Draft is getting closer and closer, and more news will come as the countdown nears its end. Who the Pistons take will depend on which players go before the no. 8 pick is due at the commissioner's podium. Will they get another "steal" as they have the past three years? Only time will tell.
The 2013 NBA Draft is Thursday, June 27th on ESPN.
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