Breaking down Detroit Pistons’ draft strategy with NBA Draft looming

The+Detroit+Pistons+won+the+NBA+Draft+Lottery%2C+giving+them+the+rights+to+the+first+overall+pick+for+the+first+time+since+1970.+

Photo courtesy of NBA.com

The Detroit Pistons won the NBA Draft Lottery, giving them the rights to the first overall pick for the first time since 1970.

Joseph Popis, Sports Reporter

This will be General Manager Troy Weaver’s third NBA Draft as the General Manager of the Detroit Pistons. He has undoubtedly brought a bunch of young talent into this organization throughout his tenure. 

In the 2020 draft, he selected Killian Hayes, a guard from France, Isaiah Stewart, a forward from the University of Washington and Saddiq Bey, a wing from Villanova, all within the first round. In the 2021 draft, Weaver selected Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick. Following this past season, it is clear the Pistons finally got a star player to build around, after going a number of years without one.

The NBA Draft is occurring Thursday, June 23 at 7:30 p.m. The Pistons obtained the fifth pick in this year’s draft, having finished with a 23-59 record this past season — third-worst in the NBA. As a result, I was slightly disappointed in the outcome of the lottery, which moved the Pistons out of the top three.

The top players in this year’s draft include center Chet Holmgren [Gonzaga], forward Paolo Banchero [Duke] and forward Jabari Smith Jr. [Auburn]. Although the Pistons most likely will not get to select one of these prospects, there is still a slew of young talent on the board when it comes time for the fifth pick.

Some of the prospects I like at pick five include Shaedon Sharpe [Kentucky], Jaden Ivey [Purdue], Keegan Murray [Iowa] and Bennedict Mathurin [Arizona]. Sharpe, a 6-foot-6 guard with surreal athleticism, is the most significant question mark among these prospect, though he has some serious potential.

Ivey is a fast, shifty 6-foot-4 guard who can quickly get around opponents and to the rim. Murray is a 6-foot-8 forward who can shoot the lights out of the ball — and not just for a big man, but for a player of any position. Lastly, Mathurin is a 6-foot-6 forward who can shoot, play stout defense and slam the ball with power. 

Out of these players, I am leaning toward either Murray or Sharpe. A big man such as Murray who can score low and shoot the basketball is always a plus on your basketball team. Yet with Sharpe — although there is uncertainty — the athleticism, wingspan and overall potential may be hard to pass on.

Even though the Pistons can go in many different directions within this draft, I will be more than happy with any of these guys suiting up for this team next season. 

There is also the decision of whether or not to trade forward Jerami Grant. Grant — a player that averaged 22 points per game and 19 points per game in his two seasons with the Pistons — should be worthy of a first-round pick in this year’s draft. I will be satisfied if the Pistons get a first-round selection in return for Grant.

Following the draft, a potential big offseason awaits. Forward Marvin Bagley Ⅲ is a player I expect the Pistons to re-sign. Along with Bagley, going after another big man like Deandre Ayton would be more than ideal. 

Other free agents I would like to see the Pistons go after include Jalen Brunson, Collin Sexton, Miles Bridges and Mo Bamba. The Pistons cannot sign all of these players, but to sign one of them in addition to whoever they sign during the draft will make for an exciting basketball team next season.