NBA Draft: Grading every first-round pick after rookie year

2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images
2022 NBA Draft Class. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images /
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NBA Draft
Jalen Duren, Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

13. Detroit Pistons – Jalen Duren, Memphis

The first player who fell a bit on draft night compared to projections was Jalen Duren, who was one of the top players in his draft class and incredibly young compared to his peers. The Detroit Pistons, rumored to be considering Duren with the fifth pick, traded back into the lottery to take the Memphis center with the 13th pick.

Duren has ideal size as a center, standing 6’11” with a 7’5″ wingspan and mountains of athleticism. He was an instant weapon on the glass, averaging 8.9 rebounds in just 24.9 minutes per game, including 3.4 offensive rebounds per game. He was 10th in offensive rebounds this season in the entire league! Add in his efficient finishing ability, helped in large part by that offensive rebounding and his ability to dunk nearly everything he touches.

Unfortunately, Duren also failed to put things together defensively, which is crucial for a player in his role. There is still plenty of time, but when another rookie like Walker Kessler steps into the league as a top-10 rim protector, Duren’s struggles in that area look even starker. The Pistons may still have hit on a future starter here, but he has some work to do.

Grade: B