The NBA draft starts this Thursday, the 23rd, at 7:30 PM EST. The Detroit Pistons enter the draft with the 5th pick and the 36th pick. In addition to their selections, they have the most cap space in the league, which will be a tremendous asset. They could use the cap size to acquire bad contracts and additional draft capital. Here is what their draft board should look like entering the draft.
Detroit Pistons Tier 1 NBA Draft Options: High Upside Two-Way Bigs
These players have incredibly high upside on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately, they will both be gone before the Pistons pick.
1. Jabari Smith Jr, PF, Auburn
Jabari Smith Jr should top the Pistons' draft board due to his two-way ability. On offense, he is an elite shooter capable of rising over defenders to consistently get good looks. On defense, he is good both in space and at the rim, capable of blocking shots or switching onto guards. Jabari Smith Jr is a great shooter and good defender who can become elite if he develops his shot creation skills.
2. Chet Holmgren, PF/C, Gonzaga
Chet Holmgren is another great two-way prospect with elite defensive potential. Defensively, he is a nuisance as he is a tough rim defender with long arms to contest shots. Plus, he is quick enough to switch onto guards as well. On offense, he would play well off Cade Cunningham. He can get to the rim and finish over small defenders or pop and shoot a three in the pick and roll. Chet Holmgren should be a great defender and an exciting partner in the pick and roll with Cade Cunningham. To unlock his potential, Holmgren will need to bulk up to defend NBA centers and tap into his shot creation skills he showed in high school.
Both players will significantly upgrade the shot creation department for the Pistons, a big need. There's an okay chance these players could be there at 5.
3. Jaden Ivey, G, Purdue
The Pistons' biggest needs are shot creation and athleticism. Jaden Ivey would be able to fix both of these as the best athlete in the draft. Plus, Ivey would be a great fit next to Cade Cunningham in the backcourt. Ivey would thrive as a secondary ball-handler where he can attack the rim but not have the pressure of being the only ball-handler. Additionally, Ivey has plenty of experience playing off-ball, so he should not have any issues when Cade has the ball in his hands. When the ball is in his hands, Ivey can get to the rim almost at will and finish at the cup or kick out to open shooters.
Jaden Ivey is a great fit as the starting guard for the Pistons. His instant offense and athleticism would be a welcome addition to the starting lineup. Sharing ball-handling duties with Cade would take pressure off both players and allow both to play their best. If Ivey wants to be able to efficiently run a lineup by himself for periods, he will need to develop a midrange game and gain more experience in the pick and roll.
4. Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke
Paolo Banchero is another exciting shot creator, but in a much different way than Ivey. Instead of winning with speed, Banchero wins with strength and skill. Banchero is a matchup nightmare who can bully smaller defenders and create separation from slower defenders. He has a wide variety in ball handling and post moves making him a tough cover for anyone. On top of his shot creation, Banchero is a tremendous passer capable of carving up a defense.
Banchero would step into the starting lineup as the starting power forward. Banchero would be the best partner in the draft for Cade in the two-man game. He can roll or pop and would be nearly impossible to defend in case of a switch. In Cade-less lineups, Banchero can run the offense efficiently as the main shot creator. To really become an offensive force, Banchero needs to shoot from three consistently to put pressure on the defense without the ball in his hands.