AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) – The Detroit Pistons picked University of Colorado Buffaloes shooting guard Spencer Dinwiddie with the No. 38 overall pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
The Pistons went into the night without a first-round slot, giving up the No. 9 pick to Charlotte to complete a previous salary-cap saving trade for Ben Gordon. First-year executive and coach Stan Van Gundy said earlier in the week he would be willing to move back into the first round if a team with one of the last picks would be willing to give it up for a future second-rounder and cash. That potential trade did not happen and the Pistons went with Dinwiddie early in the second round.
Dinwiddie’s specialty seems to be shooting.
He averaged 14.7 points last season as a junior. Over three seasons, he connected on 39 percent of his 3-pointers, making 115 beyond the arc in his career. Dinwiddie’s college career ended when he tore his left ACL during a Jan. 12 game and needed reconstructive surgery. The Los Angeles native has said he expects to be back on the court by August.
The 6-foot-6 Dinwiddie will have a shot to play a lot in Van Gundy’s first season of leading the team on the sideline and from the front office. He was hired to replace president of basketball operations Joe Dumars and to succeed interim coach John Loyer.
The Pistons fired coach Maurice Cheeks past the midway mark last season with a 21-29 record and they finished 29-53, missing out on the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
They hope to surround 20-year-old center Andre Drummond, entering the third year of his career, with enough talent to win consistently for a change next season. Drummond’s supporting cast will likely include forward Josh Smith, who signed a $54 million, four-year contract last year, and point guard Brandon Jennings, entering the second year of his $24 million, three-year deal. Van Gundy spoke highly of small forward Kyle Singler and power forward Jonas Jerebko, players who probably will be in his rotation.
Detroit does not know if power forward Greg Monroe will be back because he is a restricted free agent.
Last year, the Pistons drafted Georgia shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope No. 8 overall and passed over Michigan star Trey Burke, who played well as a rookie for the Utah Jazz. Caldwell-Pope capped a shaky season with 30 points in the last game of the regular season at Oklahoma City. He had not scored more than 17 in a game before that breakout performance and he averaged just 5.9 points.
When free agency begins next week, the Pistons plan to invest $13-plus million on three or four players in the hopes of addressing some needs instead of spending a lot in one player to fill one void.
By Larry Lage, AP Sports Writer
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