The Detroit Pistons have not been lucky in the NBA draft lottery. And while that didn’t change Thursday night, that wasn’t Troy Weaver’s focus after learning the result.
Despite having the fifth-best odds — a 10.5% — at the No. 1 overall pick, the Pistons fell two spots and will pick seventh in the 2020 NBA Draft. It’s a disappointing outcome for those who felt the Pistons were finally due for a lucky break. In 14 lottery appearances as a franchise, the PIstons have never moved up with their own pick.
Statistically, landing the seventh pick was actually their most probable outcome. And Weaver was adamant while addressing the media that he doesn’t want a sour attitude surrounding the team following the result.
He’s optimistic the Pistons will make the most of it and find an impact player who can help shape Detroit’s rebuild. He’s now two months into the job, and the lottery was one of the first major dominoes to fall under his tenure. Most NBA drafts have produced high-level talent after the seventh pick, and the number seven is considered lucky.
No, it’s not the desired outcome for Detroit. But it’s also not the worst outcome, and Weaver is looking forward to continuing to scout, do homework and find the best player available at that draft position.
“I believe seven is a great number,” Weaver said. “Not to get too biblical, but it’s a great number in the Bible and has great meaning, and hopefully the seventh pick will bring us good fortune as well. We’ll continue to do our work for the draft, combing over every prospect, every scenario and come to a full decision whenever the draft arises
“We’re excited for this opportunity and we will make the most of it,” he continued. “Before everybody starts with the ‘woe is me,’ don’t do that with us. We’re not that. We’re not built that way. We’re going to charge forward and get after it for the seventh pick.”
Weaver said he believes the 2020 draft, which many believe lacks a bona-fide star, is around 15 players deep. That means the Pistons are well-positioned to take a player that the front office believes can develop into a good one.
It’s also a point guard-heavy draft, and there’s a chance the Pistons, who have preached taking the best available player over the best-fitting player, can accomplish both. Point guard appears to be their biggest need, as Derrick Rose has one year remaining on his deal and Detroit doesn’t have another traditional point guard on the roster.
That player could be Killian Hayes, a French point guard widely projected to be selected in the 5 to 12 range. Or it could be Tyrese Haliburton, a standout lead guard out of Iowa State.
Or it could be Cole Anthony, Tyrese Maxey, RJ Hampton or numerous other point guards who could be taken in the lottery.
The lack of talent separation between players in the draft means after the first few picks, the rest of it could be a “scramble,” in Weaver’s words. Even the top of the draft lacks a consensus best player. Weaver acknowledged that not missing out on a bona-fide star player, such as a LeBron James or Kevin Durant, makes Detroit’s lottery result less painful.
The uncertainty adds a layer of mystery that doesn’t exist in every draft, but Weaver said he wouldn’t have it any other way. In Oklahoma City, he developed a reputation for being able to identify and develop talent. It’s part of the reason why he was hired as the Pistons’ GM. And he’s embracing the current situation the Pistons are in.
“This is the task ahead of us,” he said. “Excited about the challenge, opportunity. We don’t draft players, we draft people. We’ll stick to that and we’ll be disciplined. Hopefully things can bounce our way and like I said, we won’t use the ‘woe is me, we moved back two spots.’ That’s dead in the water.
“I’ve been part of some great organizations where we made some great decisions. Not always perfect, but now I’m here in Detroit and we have a host of good people here, some great basketball minds, diligent people. Hopefully we can replicate that success.”
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