Who should Detroit take if it gets the No. 2 pick?
Is there a world where the pistons get number 1 in the NBA draft and pass on to Cade Cunningham?
I know, I know. There’s a huge contingent of fans who dismissively say the Pistons would never get number 1 anyway – but for kicks and giggles, we’re just playing a hypothetical game.
Would the Pistons lose a place or two and take another top perspective like Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley or Jalen Green if another team offered some future picks for the first round or a young player the Pistons really liked?
Remember the 2018 draft when the Atlanta Hawks had the number 3 and designed Luka Doncic but traded with the Dallas Mavericks and got a top 5 protected selection in the 2019 draft, simply to move two picks down .
The 2019 pick turned out to be # 10 and the Hawks took Cam Reddish. It didn’t work out quite the way they wanted it to.
Just mention it, most people would hang up – and Troy Weaver, General Manager of Pistons, probably too. If Cunningham, the popular choice for most experts, is # 1, almost anyone would take it. It’s a no-brainer. Versatile 6-foot-8 perimeter players who can handle the ball, score, and defend are a hot asset on the draft, and Cunningham seems the closest to a franchise player in this draft.
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But let’s say the Pistons want another chance at Emoni Bates or one of the other future stars in the years to come. With one trade, they could stock up on more draft picks and position themselves to add more pieces in the years to come, not only to restore Weaver, but to replenish it.
It doesn’t seem like Weaver is going about it as he apparently has a specific schedule in mind for rebuilding. Getting picks for the first round two or three years later might not fit his way forward, but it could be an option he should consider.
What if the pistons get number 2? Would they swap a pick or two? This is all the more interesting as many experts, after Cunningham, see the next group of prospects as more on the same level.
It might not happen, but if the pistons get under the top three it might be something to be aware of.
This week’s Mail Satchel looks at the young players and their production in the future:
►Question: If the pistons make second choice and Cunningham is gone, who goes best with Green, Mobley and Suggs? – @BoobHero
►Reply: I don’t think there is any bad choice among the rest after Cunningham. The pistons seem to have a lot of options in wing positions, with Hamidou Diallo, Josh Jackson and Saddiq Bey. That wouldn’t stop her from taking Jalen Green or Jonathan Kuminga, and neither would Killian Hayes stop her from taking Suggs.
It’s not about being locked up at point guard, but as coach Dwane Casey has said several times, he prefers to have multiple ball handlers on the court at the same time. Suggs played really well in the NCAA tournament so there’s nothing to suggest they wouldn’t look at him for long.
Mobley would be an interesting addition. That would likely mean bringing Isaiah Stewart to power – and there is evidence that such a transition is more possible than it was a few weeks ago. With that in mind, adding more assets and still getting an impact player seems like a good strategy.
►Question: F. What was the biggest change on the pitch that could have helped Killian look a lot more confident and in control of his game? Lose Blake? – @analyticball
►A. It’s just time. At the beginning of the season he played seven games before his injury. While he was out, he could watch, watch and learn games up close. It’s paying off now because Hayes looks a lot more comfortable – and while the flashy numbers aren’t there yet, Hayes passes the eye test on his defense and pass.
He would likely be more effective with Blake Griffin and more experienced players around him. Hayes is not rushing right now and seems to let things come to her, which is the biggest difference.
►Question: F. It seems like every young man Weaver has picked up or drafted has had several games in which he put up impressive numbers. Should we care a lot about what the players are showing now, or are we seeing a bolt of lightning in a pan and not entirely trustworthy? – @ Scosto6
►A. There is something you can take away from some of the great games, but don’t get excited about everything you are watching. If there is a summer league there will be more, but just getting the young players to click and learning how to win and overcome deficits is proving so valuable right now.
It’s not microwave popcorn so just be patient and enjoy the ride. There will be a lot of losses, but there will be some improvements that will be fun.
Pistons at Trail Blazers
Tip: Saturday, 10 p.m., Moda Center, Portland, Ore.
TV / radio: BSD / 97.1
Outlook: The Blazers (30-21) have lost three of their last four games since beating the Pistons at 23 on March 31. The Pistons (16-36) are on a small upswing, having won four of their last seven games.