After a little over two years, the Detroit Pistons have a full-time general manager.
The team concluded nearly a month-long search on Thursday when they announced Troy Weaver as their new hire. The Detroit Pistons have started an era under new management, with Troy Weaver heading up the front office. He has agreed to a four-year deal with the organization, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
His career path is an interesting one: his first professional appointment was as a scout for the Utah Jazz, after which he spent twelve years–a relatively long time with a single organization–in various positions of the Oklahoma City front office. Before his professional roles, Weaver was an assistant coach at Syracuse University, notably during their 2003 title run, where he played a vital part bringing in future All-Star, Carmelo Anthony.
Weaver has developed a reputation in the NBA for being an excellent judge of talent. Consider the prospects the Thunder have cultivated over Weaver’s tenure alongside general manager, Sam Presti. In two consecutive years, the Thunder drafted Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the 2017 and 2018 MVPs, respectively. Of particular interest to the Pistons’ recent history, Presti and Weaver were also responsible for drafting Reggie Jackson in 2011.
Jackson may not be the same caliber point guard as Westbrook or Harden, but he is still a starter when healthy. Other astute picks include Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams, both of whom have seen starting time on playoff teams.
Through the years, Weaver has also been involved in some massive trades. In the last few years, his Thunder acquired Paul George from the Pacers and then exchanged him for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari. An astounding five first-round draft picks two years later, truly a mind-blowing haul.
The same year, 2019, the Thunder swapped point guards, Westbrook for Chris Paul in a rare one-for-one deal involving two players at or near the top level of their positions. The trade largely worked out for the Thunder; the teams had identical records at the time of the shutdown, but Paul had nearly doubled Westbrook’s win shares. Weaver and his team’s track record has not been spotless, though. The Thunder failed to retain Harden in 2012, immediately coming off a Finals run where they lost to the Heat. If they had been able to keep him, a potential return to the Finals is far more likely.
What did Troy Weaver’s 12 years with the Thunder accomplish? While they never made it to the summit as NBA champions, the Thunder amassed nine playoff appearances and three Western Conference Finals appearances. Year in and year out, the Thunder are in the conversation for the league’s top prize; they just had the misfortune to run into some teams at their apexes, namely the 2012 Heat and the 2016 Warriors.
Despite a competitive Western Conference, the Thunder still managed to compile a .608 win percentage with a winning season in all but one year. Not all of this can be laid at Weaver’s feet–he was an assistant, after all–but there is enough evidence to suggest his first stab as the primary general manager will be a good one.
As everyone knows, the Detroit Pistons are rebuilding, and they have a ways to go before they are again competitive. In Troy Weaver, they could hardly ask for a better choice to lead them.