This past Tuesday, the Detroit Pistons found out where they'd be picking in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, despite just a 23-win season, the organization fell out of the much-desired top-three down to no. 5 overall.
Falling to no. 5 hurts because that perhaps leaves general manager Troy Weaver and the Pistons with a difficult decision; take a late bloomer like Keegan Murray or take a flier on someone like Shaedon Sharpe.
Murray excelled last season in Iowa, averaging 23.5 points and 8.7 boards while shooting 55.3% from the field on his way to All-American honors.
There is a chance things don't go as predicted, but for hypothetical speaking, let's assume the three top big men; Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, and Auburn’s Jabari Smith, are selected with picks one through three.
That leaves the Sacramento Kings with a decision to make at no. 4 between Purdue's Jaden Ivey, Shaedon Sharpe, and Keegan Murray.
Last season, the Kings sent De'Aaron Fox's long-time backcourt-mate Buddy Hield and the surging Tyrese Haliburton to Indiana in a six-player deal centered around landing Domantas Sabonis.
Now, with the fourth overall pick, I expect the Kings to draft Ivey, who will compliment Fox in the backcourt very nicely moving forward. Ivey is a slasher and a dynamic playmaker that can create his own shot off the dribble. Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 boards, and 3.1 assists while shooting 46% from the field last season with Purdue.
In a perfect world, he's available for Detroit at no. 5, but I just don't expect he will be. Like I expect Ivey to compliment Fox, he'd be my first none big-man choice for Detroit to pair with superstar Cade Cunningham.
With Ivey likely off the board, where do the Detroit Pistons turn with the no. 5 overall pick?
As intriguing as Shaedon Sharpe is, I think the Detroit Pistons should look to pair Keegan Murray with Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III in the frontcourt next season.
Sharpe is a bit of a mystery.
He didn't take part in the NBA Combine and skipped the media portion but held a private workout. James Edwards III of The Athletic (subscription) recently mentioned that members of the Detroit Pistons were in attendance for the private workout. Sharpe has good size with a 6-foot-11 wingspan at 6-foot-5 and has plenty of athleticism, but the unknown leaves him as a true risk-reward type player, and I don't feel the Detroit Pistons are in a position to take such a risk.
The organization needs to plug in another rookie that will make an immediate impact alongside Cade Cunningham.
Murray is also effective away from the ball with his ability to slash towards the rack, and he's drawn comparisons to former Detroit Pistons forward Tobias Harris.
Murray is a bit of a late bloomer, but after his All-American season last year, he'd pair nicely as a stretch-4 alongside the hardworking Stewart, Kelly Olynyk, or Bagley III in Detroit's rotation.