ESPN's Chad Ford released his fourth 2011 NBA mock draft earlier this week. This version, like his last, has the Detroit Pistons selecting Jonas Valanciunas, a center from Lithuania.
Ford says the Pistons "are really looking at five players." The five players are Valanciunas, Brandon Knight, Jan Vesely, Bismack Biyombo and Tristan Thompson, and Ford's reasoning for going with Valanciunas is as follows:
Biyombo and Thompson are the best fits of the group, but with new owner Tom Gores giving Joe Dumars some freedom to remake the Pistons don't be surprised to see the Pistons swing for the fences. Valanciunas is a risk, but his upside is high and he could be the long-term answer for the Pistons in the middle.
Ford said earlier this week that Dumars has three years to turn the Pistons around. While many (myself included) believed a change should have been made by Gores, he is comfortable with giving Dumars the chance to once again turn the Pistons into a contender.