Unlike last year’s draft, the Detroit Pistons aren’t in control of their destiny. There was no impediment to selecting Cade Cunningham first overall.
It’s easy when you win the lottery.
It’s harder to draft when you don’t have a top-three pick, and there’s no telling who will be available when the Pistons pick No. 5 in Thursday’s draft.
Any movement ahead of the Pistons in the draft order will influence their decision tree. They will spend the next two days wrapping up the last of their preparation before the draft. On Thursday, they will be prepared for whatever happens.
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“There’s still a lot to do – meetings and setting up the board and going through different parts of the process that we’re formulating to come up with the best scenarios,” Troy Weaver said during his pre-season availability. project at the Pistons Performance Center on Monday. . “At five, you’re at the mercy of the board. It’s not like we have to go first. At five, we’re at the mercy of the board. We need to have multiple scenarios ready to go.”
Weaver said he has between seven and nine players he would be happy for the Pistons to pick. That list likely includes Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, who confirmed he worked for the Pistons and Orlando Magic during his pre-draft availability on Monday, or Keegan Murray, who met the Pistons in Detroit last week. There also remains a possibility that Jerami Grant could be moved on or before draft night and land the Pistons an additional first-round pick.
Here are the main takeaways from Weaver’s press conference:
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Pistons favor long-term upside
The Pistons’ rebuild is far from over. Cunningham’s drafting last year gave the franchise a potential superstar to build on, but they’ll need at least one other top player alongside him, as well as improved roster depth, to make it happen. comfortably the playoffs in the future.
Weaver confirmed that the Pistons want to select the player with the most long-term advantage on Thursday.
“We’re going to have the best player who we think has the most long-term potential, but you absolutely hope he can contribute,” he said. “We want the best player in the long term.”
One would assume the Pistons are all-out on Ivey, one of the most explosive guards in the draft and we think he has a superstar ceiling. It could also imply that Kentucky winger Shaedon Sharpe, who the Pistons recently worked on and is in the mix for the fifth pick, has a head start.
But Weaver also noted that he doesn’t buy into the idea that age can limit a player’s cap. That’s good news for Murray, who will be 22 at the start of his rookie season.
“For me, the upside is a growth mindset,” Weaver said. “I don’t subscribe to, ‘The guy is 23 and he can’t grow, has no advantage.’ Or, there are guys who are 19, 18 who limit themselves. I saw a couple of young players and I said ‘it’s going to be a while because he just doesn’t understand’. It’s just the mental aspect and how the player approaches things and where he has been, how he approaches and what has been untapped.”
Weaver preparing for a potentially chaotic draft
The 2021 draft had several lottery surprises. The Toronto Raptors picked Scottie Barnes fourth overall over Jalen Suggs, widely considered the fourth-best prospect in the draft. And the San Antonio Spurs took Joshua Primo, projected as a late first-round pick at best, with the 12th pick.
The 2022 draft could also hold surprises. The Oklahoma City Thunder are said to be interested in Ivey with the second pick, and the Sacramento Kings are a wildcard. Will they take Ivey or Murray, or trade the fourth overall pick for immediate help?
Weaver said anything could happen and the Pistons wouldn’t be caught off guard by curveballs.
“You have to be prepared for this,” Weaver said. “I remember how many years ago D’Angelo Russell got up and went two. That’s why I’m a little agitated by so many reports trying to figure out everyone’s choice right now, c is ridiculous. No, you have to be prepared for something to happen. Because if you don’t and you haven’t done your job, then someone comes across that you haven’t done. your job, then you’re stuck. So no, we’re anticipating everything that’s happening above us.”
Cunningham’s presence should ease any fit issues
The Pistons won the lottery at the right time. Cunningham was one of the most versatile players in recent draft history, and that versatility showed itself last season. He established himself as their best all-around playmaker and was equally comfortable scoring or distributing it to his teammates. He defends, rebounds and also assumes a leadership role.
With Cunningham already in tow, the Pistons don’t care about signing a suitable player. Cunningham can fit in with most players.
“There’s not a player we’re looking at that we don’t see that can match Cade,” Weavers said. “Absolutely. His versatility allows anyone we draft to fit in with him. The draft made it easier by not having to worry about the fit so much.”
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