All discussions with the Detroit Pistons’ future begin with the first overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. Cunningham or Green should be expected to be the future of the team at shooting guard. The starting lineup would likely be Hayes, Cunningham/Green, Bey, Grant, and Stewart.
This would be an exciting lineup on both ends of the court. The pick should hopefully grow into the number one scoring option of the team in the future. This will allow Grant to be the number two or 1b option, which is his ideal role on a contending team.
On defense, Hayes, Bey, and Stewart were all plus defenders as rookies, and Grant has experience guarding the toughest players in the playoffs. Despite his star status, Cunningham was a good defender in college and had the size and skill to continue to defend well. Green is rawer on that end, but he is a great athlete and should have the capability to be a solid defender.
Outside of the number one pick, the Pistons do have another path to adding a star talent via free agency in 2022. The Pistons will have a max spot where they could add a fringe star. Potential targets could be Zach Lavine, Julius Randle, or maybe Bradley Beal.
It might be tough bringing a star to Detroit, but one could be excited to lead the young core. If no stars bite, the Pistons could also pursue high-level role players. Some potential cheaper targets could be Marcus Smart, Normal Powell, Terry Rozier, or T.J. Warren. Either way, the Pistons’ clean cap sheet will allow them to make a key addition to raise the team’s ceiling.
Despite the second worst record in the NBA, the Detroit Pistons’ future looks bright as ever. The Pistons were able to find the perfect balance of competing while still losing enough to secure the top pick. Being competitive was due to the emphasis the Pistons placed on character and a tremendous coaching job by Dwane Casey.
Everyone continued to play hard despite lacking the star power of most teams. Playing hard night in and night out allowed players to maximize their development and build habits for the future. Now that the culture is established and the core is set, the last step for the Pistons is getting the star power necessary to win in the NBA.
The Pistons have the assets necessary to do that with the first overall pick and a max slot in the future. Weaver is off to a great start in restoring the Pistons and set himself up nicely to finish the job in the future.