During the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery this past Thursday night, Detroit Pistons GM Troy Weaver was caught on camera for a brief moment wearing the look of disappointment on his face as it was revealed his team had been selected to pick seventh overall in the upcoming entry draft.
Despite Weaver’s disappointment, the Detroit Pistons might not be in a bad position. This year’s draft class seems to lack a consensus top pick, as the Minnesota Timberwolves are exploring drafting either LaMelo Ball (Illawarra), Anthony Edwards (Georgia), or James Wiseman (Memphis) first-overall.
Each player possesses an “elite” ability to impact the game from their respective position. However, all three have an incomplete game in need of refinement.
The first-year GM has many reasons to be disappointed with the outcome of the lottery. Instead, he’s choosing to take a more optimistic approach.
“We’re excited about this opportunity and we will make the most of it,” said Weaver according to MLive. “So, before everybody starts with the ‘Woe is me,’ don’t do that with us. We’re not built that way. We are going to charge forward and get after it with the seventh pick.”
The former Oklahoma City Thunder executive was hoping to garner a fifth-overall selection or higher. But because of the question marks accompanying Ball, Edwards, and Wiseman, it’s not a stretch to say the team may be in a better position with a handful of options in the second tier of draft-eligible players.
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Ball possesses the ability to distribute the basketball to teammates at a high-level. With an incredible court version and a skill-set that allows him to deliver passes on a dime from a myriad of angles and positions on the floor, he is the ultimate playmaker. Still, he needs to improve his long-range shooting mishaps. Otherwise, teams may be looking at him as the second coming of Ben Simmons.
Unlike Ball, Edwards is considered to be the only legitimate “elite” scoring threat in this draft. Already a top prospect when entering the University of Georgia last fall, he has the athleticism to create his own shot when needed.
Undoubtedly, the perimeter player has benefited from the tutelage of college coach Tom Crean who has coached NBA stars such as Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade during stops at Indiana and Marquette. Despite the benefits, the shooter needs to improve his shot selection and cut down the frequency of times he seems to disappear during games.
Finally, Wiseman is equipped with the physical traits to run the floor as a big-man in the modern NBA game. He has an incredible length that suggests he may develop into an “elite” rim protector.
However, his development is questionable, considering the fact he will have missed more than a year by the time he takes the floor for an NBA team after dealing with NCAA eligibility issues while at Memphis. He’s a rim-runner and excellent finisher from close range. Yet, his game isn’t necessarily worthy of a Top-5 selection.
If one of the three players potentially falls in the Detroit Pistons’ lap, then Weaver and company would find themselves in a very fortunate position. However, the notion of that idea seems to be highly unlikely, and the new front-office regime may avoid headaches altogether by numerically being removed from making a selection for a player that is a 50/50 shot of being either a boom or bust player.
The Detroit Pistons are in dire need of a playmaker on the perimeter, or a legitimate scoring option, and each player would potentially fill those voids. The team has been without a franchise guard since trading away Chauncey Billups to Denver in the Allen Iverson trade back during the 2008 season.
The team will have the opportunity to take a long, hard look at other players like Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State), Killian Hayes (France), or reigning National College Player of the Year Obi Toppin (Dayton).
Before suffering a season-ending hand injury last season, Haliburton looked to be the best all-around point guard in college basketball. Meanwhile, Hayes was in France, developing into a similar type of player that may be more inclined to become a productive NBA scorer.
Finally, Toppin was leading Dayton to heights never before seen with incredible success as dunker attacking the rim with reckless abandon, all while showing effectiveness as a developing shooter from mid and long-range.
Each of the franchise’s three championships was won with blue-collar players like Billups, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Isaiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, and Bill Laimbeer. Honestly, it’s going to take more players like this for Weaver to get this franchise back on the road after being stuck in neutral for nearly a decade.
If the Detroit Pistons hope to return to relevance, then Haliburton, Hayes, or Toppin would certainly fit the profile as a lead prospect at the wheel in the Motor City.