NBA Draft: Main Focus Areas For the Detroit Pistons

The NBA Draft holds substantial weight for rebuilding teams like the Detroit Pistons. This crucial point of the offseason is where the drafted prospects help determine the foundation of a franchise.

Detroit struck gold last year, winning the draft lottery and acquiring No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. With a competitive young roster brewing and the No. 5 selection come Thursday, the front office must knock this pick out of the park to solidify this roster’s future.

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The Pistons have been one of the most talked-about teams regarding the draft. They’re set up to make lots of noise this summer, and they begin that imprint starting on Thursday.

Date: June 23, 2022

Time: 8 PM ET/5 PM Pacific

Channels: ABC and ESPN

Here are the most significant points to pay attention to with the Detroit Pistons entering the draft.

The Detroit Pistons could strike gold if Jaden Ivey falls to no. 5 in the NBA Draft.

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The order of the first three selections is not set in stone. Odds remain firm that prospects Jabari Smith Jr., Chet Holmgren, and Paolo Banchero will be the first three names called off the board. However, it would be extremely shocking if any of the top three prospects were passed on early. In that scenario, the draft mystery should begin at No. 4 with the Sacramento Kings.

Most mock drafts and rankings have projected Purdue guard Jaden Ivey as the 4th best prospect available. The 6’4, 200-pound guard has tremendous upside with explosive scoring and athleticism you cannot teach. His game seems perfect for the NBA level, with more open floor spacing and fast-break opportunities. He finished his sophomore season averaging 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game, earning him NCAA All-American honors.

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The Detroit Pistons are reportedly included with a handful of teams who are interested in Ivey’s services. However, one of those teams who don’t seem interested are the Kings. It’s been confirmed that Sacramento has not interviewed or worked out Ivey since the scouting process began. Ivey has also indicated that he is not interested in playing for the Kings based on pre-draft interviews.

Most of Sacramento’s draft interest has been directed towards combo forward Keegan Murray.

Reports have circulated that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive is most interested in the Iowa product. Murray has worked out and interviewed with the Kings. He was even hosted for dinner with franchise players De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis.

Keep in mind that last season featured one of the most surprising trades at the deadline. The Kings dealt their 2020 first-round pick, Tyrese Haliburton, to the Indiana Pacers last February. Sacramento’s roster also has a log jam of young guards with Fox and Davion Mitchell set in the rotation. Adding Ivey, given those circumstances, would make very little sense.

Teams around the league have noticed the lack of interest between Ivey and the Kings, meaning a trade up to No. 4 is very possible. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the story that multiple teams were interested in trading up, including the Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Washington Wizards, and the New York Knicks.

Detroit certainly has the resources to move up in the draft order. However, moves by General Manager Troy Weaver normally come as a surprise. Weaver likes keeping his plans close to the chest without much hinting to the public.

Ivey is a top-tier prospect that would be a perfect fit in the backcourt next to Cunningham. The last thing the Pistons need is a division rival like the Pacers or another up-and-coming franchise stealing Ivey in front of them. Considering the lack of interest shown by the Kings to Ivey, teams look at that as a big opportunity to move up and draft him.

Taking that gamble would be worth it for the Pistons to ensure they do not lose one of the best prospects available.

Who will be the next Mason Plumlee for the Detroit Pistons?

Last year’s draft opened with the Pistons shedding cap space before announcing their selection. Center Mason Plumlee was traded to the Charlotte Hornets last summer to free up the roster and cap space.

The Pistons could be approaching this offseason with a similar approach. A few current players on the roster may not be in the team’s long-term plans. It would not be much of a shock if Weaver and the Pistons struck a deal the day of the draft.

After months of rumors circulating, Detroit finally decided to move Jerami Grant in a trade to the Portland Trail Blazers. Three teams were reportedly interested in acquiring the 28-year-old this offseason; the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, and the Portland Trail Blazers.

Forward Kelly Olynyk and guard Cory Joseph could also be included in trade discussions. They are both outside Detroit’s rebuilding timeline at the ages of 31 and 30. Their minutes were reduced as the season went on, showing the Pistons could be looking to grow without the aging veterans.

This summer also is highlighted by the possibility of restricted free agent DeAndre Ayton leaving the Phoenix Suns. Detroit has been linked to having rumored interest since this past season. Creating cap space to offer the 24-year-old center a max deal could be a priority for Weaver and the front office.

The Pistons also have expressed interest in resigning unrestricted free agent Marvin Bagley. Dealing Olynyk or Joseph would be a major boost to increase their growing cap space.

The Detroit Pistons need a strong second round of the NBA Draft.

While the majority of draft chatter within the Pistons community has focused on the first round, the second-round selection holds great importance as well. Weaver has garnered respect amongst the league and fanbase by finding diamond-in-the-rough draft picks in the first and second rounds.

The Pistons struck gold in last year’s draft, landing 3-and-D forward Isaiah Livers. After finally healing up from his foot injury from college, he is establishing himself as a quality rotation player off the bench.

Detroit acquired Milwaukee’s No. 36 overall pick in the trade for Jerami Grant, moving up ten spaces from their previous spot at 46. They will likely stick with their philosophy of finding the best talent available, but they do have needs they could fill in on the bench with this pick.

Guards Hamidou Diallo and Frank Jackson were big role players off the Piston’s bench in 2021-22. Unfortunately, they both dealt with continuous injuries on the court and could be viewed as expendable this offseason. Detroit has a team option for both players and could cut one or both players for cap space. If that happens, the Pistons need to add a scoring guard as a reserve immediately.

Prospects like Toledo guard Ryan Rollins or Duke guard Wendell Moore Jr could be fitting names to fill in at No. 36.

Ideally, the Pistons should be in search of a scoring threat to pair in the backcourt with third-year point guard Killian Hayes. Adding the spot-up shooting of Livers and some exciting offense from Bagley should be offensively sufficient for Detroit.

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