ESPN analyst: Detroit Pistons may have gotten NBA draft steal with Michigan’s Isaiah Livers

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons were busy in the second round of the 2021 NBA draft. After getting Cade Cunningham No. 1 overall, the Pistons picked up Michigan basketball’s Isaiah Livers, Iowa center Luka Garza and Florida State center Balsa Koprivica in Round 2. Here’s what the ESPN draft panelists thought about the picks:

Jay Bilas on Livers

“He’s a sharp-shooting combo forward. He’s a veteran presence. I think he’s really elite on the shooting level in his ability to step away and knock down perimeter shots.  He moves pretty well without the ball. He’s not a great defender. That’s something he needs to improve upon. He’s a decent rebounder for his size.”

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Kendrick Perkins on Livers

“I think he’s a guy that could come in and play right away. Juwan Howard has these guys pro ready. I watched him, he’s able to get over ball screens defensively. He knows how to run NBA sets. I think he could come off the bench for the Detroit Pistons and do pretty well.”

Mike Schmitz on Livers

“I think he’s a rotation player. I think when we look back in three or four years, we’ll say ‘man, why didn’t Isaiah Livers get more first round looks?’ It’s because he had that injury. If he was healthy, I really think we’d be talking about him in the 20s.”

Perkins on Garza

“Troy Weaver is not going to pass up on talent. He loves skilled bigs. He loves going with the guys that have something to prove. (Luka) Garza has something to prove. I’m Team Garza. He’s going to prove everybody wrong.”

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Bilas on Garza

“He can really score. He was the National Player of the Year for a reason. He can step away and knock down 3’s. He has excellent range as a stretch-5. He must have dropped 25-30 pounds since the season ended. He didn’t play at the Combine, but he looked great. I think that the issue for Garza has been his ability to guard out on the perimeter, pick-and-rolls, when he gets drawn away from the basket. He’s not explosive off the floor. He’s not a lob threat. You didn’t see Iowa throwing lobs to him or him getting tip-dunks or anything like that. His footwork is really good. He can absolutely score and he can certainly stretch a defense on the offensive end.”

Schmitz on Garza

“He can shoot the ball. He’s got a great feel. He’s very physical. He’s a great kid. He’s been productive. It’s just going to come to … can you guard a ball screen? Can you guard a ball screen well enough to stay on the floor? That’s why I think studying guys like Jokic who can be in that drop coverage and kind of play the ball handler and the big, that bluff-and-recover game, continuing to study that I think is going to kind of give him more rope to use those offensive gifts.”

Bilas on Balsa Koprivica

“A big guy that has really improved his mobility and improved his offense, stretching it out a bit.”

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