Basketball / Sports

Pistons lose first-round NBA draft pick; Stan Van Gundy calls results 'disappointing, but not disastrous'

How does Cleanthony Early sound?

In what some observers are calling the deepest draft in years, the Detroit Pistons will be without a first-round pick for the upcoming draft -- leaving fans to pin their hopes on their lone second-round pick (38th overall).

A 17.6 percent probability struck in the 14-team lottery Tuesday night in New York City.

When the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were slotted ninth, jumped to the top spot, it sent the Pistons' first-round pick to the Charlotte Hornets to complete the terms of the 2012 trade.

The Cavaliers have the ultimate lottery luck, winning the lottery three times in the past four years. The Milwaukee Bucks will pick second and the Philadelphia 76ers will go third.

So unless the Pistons make a move to acquire a first-round pick, new czar Stan Van Gundy won't have an early pick to help turn around the franchise's fortunes.

Van Gundy, who was traveling, offered some consolation in a released statement.

"Tonight's results are disappointing, but not disastrous," Van Gundy said. "We knew we would lose our pick this year or next. We have the 38th pick and we will continue our evaluation process and preparation for the upcoming draft.

"We'll also explore other opportunities to use the draft to improve our team -- whether that's moving up, moving down or staying at No. 38. We still have many assets and tools at our disposal to upgrade our roster, including the upcoming free agency period in July."

The outcome is the result of the 2012 trade of Ben Gordon to the then-Bobcats for the expiring contract of Corey Maggette -- a move that saved the Pistons $14 million.

The move looks unwise now.

Pistons owner Tom Gores could have OK'd using the amnesty clause on Gordon -- a transaction that allows for the waiving of a player and excising his salary from the cap. The player still receives the compensation.

But the idea was to get rid of Gordon's unwieldy contract to create cap space for last summer.

The plan went awry when former Pistons president of basketball of operations Joe Dumars decided to use that cap space on Josh Smith.

It's a gut punch for the franchise. A first-round pick in a deep draft class could offer hope to a beaten fan base. It could have continued the momentum of Van Gundy's hiring in helping fill some of the empty seats at the Palace.

Good players can be found in the second round.

"I'd anticipate that we would be able to get somebody at 38 that I think is going to be able to help us," assistant general manager George David said. "That range has been a range that historically you've been able to get productive players out of."

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