Detroit Pistons on the move in the draft? GM Troy Weaver: ‘Everything’s on the table’

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

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Nov. 18 is less than two weeks away, meaning the NBA draft is finally around the corner. The Detroit Pistons have the seventh overall pick, their highest selection since 2010.

If the right offer comes along, they’re open to trading it. 

Numerous teams are reportedly looking to deal their draft picks, creating an opportunity for the Pistons to capitalize. General manager Troy Weaver is juggling several priorities entering draft night. The Pistons want to be competitive next season, but they don’t want to leverage their future to do so. 

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The Pistons could move up or down. A move up could involve a deal with the Golden State Warriors, who have the No. 2 pick and in position to win now. Detroit could offer a package that would allow the Warriors to improve their depth for a shot at a championship in 2021. 

Or, to move down, the Pistons could call the Boston Celtics, who are also looking to win now and have picks Nos. 14, 26 and 30. The Celtics would move up, while the Pistons would get more swings in a draft expected by some to be weaker at the top, but deep in the back half of the first round.

Weaver isn’t ruling out any possibilities. The Pistons are also expected to have roughly $30 million in cap space, enabling them to take on additional salary in any potential trades. 

“We’re definitely looking at everything,” Weaver told reporters Thursday. “We’re in a situation where we’re trying to get the best players. Everything’s on the table.” 

Weaver doesn’t necessarily agree that the top of this draft is a weaker one. He said he sees two players a notch above the rest of the draft, and then a shuffle from Nos. 3-10. The Pistons fall right in the middle, with the seventh pick. 

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He’s confident the Pistons will get the pick right — something the organization has said even prior to Weaver’s hire in June. Weaver estimates that an average draft produces 10 players who can be considered “pretty good.” Regardless of where Detroit ends up picking, a player in that range will likely have a good career. 

“I love the draft,” Weaver said. “I love it every year. I always look into the draft as ‘glass half-full.’ You may not have a Zion WIlliamson or a Ja (Morant), that’s what they say, but there’s guys in drafts that you really like. The draft is always great because you have a chance to bring these young men in your program and help shape your culture from Day 1. We really like the draft. Moving up is definitely an option as well, but I’m excited about the draft.” 

Weaver also said the Pistons are interested in acquiring second-round picks in this year’s draft. The Pistons don’t have one, thanks to a 2015 trade that sent the pick to the Phoenix Suns for Marcus Morris, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger. 

“We want to replenish our seconds and definitely interested in picking up seconds in this year’s draft, absolutely.” 

One player the Pistons could pursue in the second round, if they acquire a pick, is Michigan State standout Cassius Winston. Hie could go in the first round but is widely projected to go in the second. 

“He’s a tremendous young man,” Weaver said. “I’m hopeful he gets his name called, but if he doesn’t I think he has a spirit and talent to find his way. But I’m definitely rooting for him. Watched him throughout his career. Big fan.”

Weaver acknowledged that whomever the Pistons end up with, it’s the job of the franchise to help that player become successful. Some players fail because they end up in the wrong situation, he said. He’s confident that Detroit has the right system in place to help their 2020 draft pick — or picks — succeed. 

“You have to try to do your work, but more importantly, with the players in the draft being so young, more of it now is on your development program and your coaching,” he said. “Some guys make it because of where they are and some guys don’t make it because of where they are. For me, the draft is putting a lot of emphasis on your development program and your culture, and I think those are the guys that usually come out of the draft on the right side of things. Not only identifying those guys, but putting them in a great situation.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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