Detroit — There’s more to building a roster than just the players.
General managers have to be concerned about a hundred other things, but balancing draft picks is somewhere near the top of that priority list. Through a series of deals, the Pistons were without a few picks in the next couple of years, but their recent deals have helped replenish the assets.
The Pistons got two second-round picks — the Los Angeles Lakers’ in 2021 and the Sacramento Kings’ in 2024, in the trade that brought Cory Joseph for Delon Wright this week. The Derrick Rose trade with the Knicks brought the Hornets’ second-round pick. It’s just part of getting more assets for potential trades and other moves that they can consider as they continue to remake the roster.
“(The picks) were a big part of us making a deal, being able to restore the treasure chest, being able to acquire some assets moving forward and to replenish so that we can continue to be aggressive,” Weaver said Friday. “We had people asking about some of the picks, like the Lakers’ pick being the later pick. We don’t know where it’s going to lie but also with having those assets, the second-round pick is a little different animal now with the two-way contracts.”
During their rebuild, the Pistons have found value in the young players such as Saben Lee, who was a second-round pick last year. It takes a keen eye to convert a second-round pick into a contributing rotation player, and Weaver was able to do that with Lee.
Using that as a template, there could be some more value there with unheralded players who could benefit them, under the right conditions.
“If you can get a young man to agree to a two-way and still draft him, a la Saben Lee, that bodes well for you,” Weaver said. “A lot of times, people see those as throwaway picks. I don’t see them as throwaway picks; I see them as picks you can use in a variety of ways and now with two-way contracts, that’s another way to use those picks.”
The Pistons have three second-round picks in the next draft, along with their first-round pick, which looks to be in the top five. That could be a haul of picks, or assets that could be combined to make another first-round pick.
Trading those additional assets to get a key player or a higher draft pick could be the ultimate goal, but the bigger point is that they’ll have options to consider with more picks.
“We can use it in a variety of ways. We can use it to trade for future picks, to move up, to stash players or two-way contracts,” Weaver said. “It just gives us the flexibility to be a little more aggressive.”
Icing on the cake
The Pistons announced the trade Wright trade for Joseph and the two picks. That deal was made with the idea of building the cupboard. It was also about getting some value for Wright, whom they acquired in the offseason.
Getting some extra picks is just a bonus.
“We were fortunate enough to turn Delon, who had a restoring himself here in Detroit. He was tremendous here with us and he exceeded expectations and he was able to fill in both guard positions and provide versatility,” Weaver said. “I’m happy for him in restoring his career and we wish him all the best going forward.
“We were able to bring back Cory Joseph who (coach Dwane Casey) was very familiar with in Toronto, a young man who has played a lot of good basketball in his career. He fits our locker room and the leadership mold.
“We’re looking forward and we’re excited to move forward with him and also to be able to get those two second-round picks. We felt like it was a win-win trade for both sides.”
Pistons at Wizards
Tip-off: 8 Saturday, Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
Outlook: The Wizards (15-28) have lost 10 of their last 12 games. The Pistons will be on the second game of a home-road back-to-back.