AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — It took most of the night, but the Detroit Pistons finally got their man in the 2014 NBA Draft.
At 11:15 p.m., the Pistons selected Colorado point guard Spencer Dinwiddie with the 38th pick. Dinwiddie averaged 14.7 points for the Buffaloes before tearing his ACL in January, an injury that badly hurt his draft stock.
"We really like his ability to move and pass the ball," Pistons general manager Jeff Bower said. "He’s a guy that we ranked very highly, and we obviously dug deeply into his medical condition, both with our own doctors and with his surgeon and therapist."
As a 6-foot-6 guard, Dinwiddie has the potential to play some shooting guard, a position where Detroit is badly shorthanded. The only true wing players on the roster are Kyle Singler and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Dinwiddie isn’t a star 3-point shooter, but he did hit 38.6 percent in college, which already makes him one of Detroit’s best outside threats. He’s also capable of getting to the basket, drawing more than 500 free throws in fewer than three full seasons.
"His offensive skills definitely move him up the list of point guards," Bower said. "He’s got the potential and the size to make plays at the two."
Dinwiddie said he thinks of himself as a point guard right now, but hopes to change that.
"I’m a pure one, but that won’t be true going forward," he said. "With my size and the improvements I’m going to make, I expect to play multiple positions in the NBA."
Bower said that Dinwiddie will travel to Orlando with Detroit’s summer-league team, even though he’s nowhere near ready to play. Neither Bower nor Dinwiddie wanted to put a timeline on his recovery, but nine to 12 months is normal, meaning it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to help the Pistons in any way before New Year’s Day.
Once Dinwiddie comes back from the ACL tear, he’ll have to show that he hasn’t lost any speed, and he wasn’t a blazing-quick guard even before the injury. He’ll also have to improve his defense, which was listed as a weakness in scouting reports.
"Obviously, I have to work on my knee right now, but I want to get stronger and be able to play lower on defense," he said. "The other thing is that I want to get to be more of a knock-down shooter than I am right now. Those are the big things."
Still, a big, combo guard from Colorado? The last Pistons player with that pedigree, Chauncey Billups, is going to have his jersey in the Palace rafters some day. If Dinwiddie has half that career, he would be an absolute steal as a second-round pick.
"That’s a great path for me to follow," Dinwiddie said. "Chauncey was the best player my school has ever had, and he was definitely the best point guard. So I want to be like him, play in the league and win a championship."