If Detroit Pistons got No. 1 pick, could they trade down?

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The Detroit Pistons have a good chance at getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. That could give them a chance to select Cade Cunningham, seen by many as an a generational player. But what if they were offered a massive haul to move down?

The Detroit Pistons have not had the No.1 overall pick in the NBA Draft since 1970. They took St. Bonaventure center Bob Lanier, and that worked out pretty well.

The Pistons will have a good shot (not great, but good) at grabbing the No.1 spot for the first time in 52 years, when the NBA Draft Lottery is held on June 22.

The way they are playing, Detroit might not have the best chance of getting the top spot. They keep occasionally winning thru pure hustle, while others have stripped their team bare (looking at you Oklahoma City) to ensure lots of losses.

But, no matter what, the Pistons will have one of the better percentages at getting No. 1. The bottom five teams get at least 10 percent chance at the first pick. Detroit is pretty much guaranteed to be in that group. We all know they only beat good teams.

But what if the Detroit Pistons got the No. 1 draft pick – and they traded it?

The Pistons luck has not been too good on these draft lotteries. Not like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the sneaky New York Knicks. Last year, Detroit had the fifth-worst record in the NBA but ended up moving back two spots to seventh.

But Detroit could get lucky every, say, 52 years. What if the stars aligned and Adam Silver pulled their envelope last?

And then  the Pistons traded it.

First, most Pistons fans would run screaming into the streets having lost the chance to have Cade Cunningham in Detroit.

But, after that occurs, would it actually make sense?

Detroit general manager Troy Weaver is not adverse to swinging a deal, the bigger the better.

As he has publicly stated, no one is untouchable. There are players he has no intention of trading but, as he put it: “Someone could offer you four first round draft picks.”

If a team offered Weaver four first rounders, unprotected of course, would he trade away No. 1. And by No. 1, we all realize that we are talking about Oklahoma State’s super-guard Cade Cunningham.

Well, it would depend on what KIND of first rounders.

If it came from a team like the Los Angeles Lakers, who will be title contenders until LeBron James retires, Weaver probably passes. In reality, it would not be much more than second round picks.

But what if an organization that has been down on its luck, and does not look like it that luck will change anytime soon, maybe the Pistons look at it.

Here is a very enticing offer the Chicago Bulls could give Detroit:

Bulls Get

2021 No. 1 overall pick

Cory Joseph

Pistons Get

Zach LaVine

2021 No. 1 draft pick

2023 No. 1 draft pick

2025 No.1 draft pick

For a team dying for outside shooting, Lavine would fit perfectly into the starting shooting guard spot. Detroit throws in Joseph to help with the salary cap.

A Hayes-Lavine backcourt would sure look nice.

In this scenario, the Pistons still get to draft in the first round this year, just a little later. Chicago will probably finish in the 12-16 range. Not as good as No. 1, but certainly not near the bottom. Detroit did pretty well in the middle of last year’s draft, nabbing Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey.

Weaver then has two future No.1s to play with. Either wait to see how they fall (the way the Bulls have been dysfunctional, not a bad idea) or use them for trading chips to land a big name in the future.

Since Cunningham is a ballhandling combo guard, the Pistons sort of already have that in Killian Hayes, so they have no immediate need at that spot.

Which leads us to:

What if the Detroit Pistons prefer Evan Mobley to Cade Cunningham?

Mason Plumlee has played beyond (limited) expectations but he is not the center of the future. He might be dealt before his three-year contract is up.

And no, Isaiah Stewart is not the center of the future. His natural NBA position is power forward, as soon as he gets comfortable shooting three-pointers.

Stewart stands 6-foot-8. Unless your name is Wes Unseld (RIP), being that short and being a starting center in the NBA simply does not work. Yes, if Detroit, goes small ball, Stewart could play the ‘5’. But, as a long-term starter on a championship team, Nah.

So what if the Pistons really want Mobley, the 7-footer out of USC? He will not last long, maybe taken right after Cunningham at No. 1?

Maybe the team with the No. 2 overall pick, or the team that traded to move up to No. 2, is desperate for Cunningham. He certainly would add some excitement to any franchise (and increase ticket sales).

They might be afraid Detroit takes Cunningham at No. 1 or some team offers Weaver a massive haul he can’t turn down.

Let us say Houston, which with Christian Wood has little need at center but a lot at guard, ends up at No. 2. Owner Tilman Fertitta has taken a lot of flack for the way he has run the franchise. Getting Cade Cunningham would deflect some of that criticism.

Pistons Get

2021 No. 2 overall pick

Rockets highest No. 1 pick in 2022

return Detroit pick from Isaiah Stewart trade

Rockets Get

2021 No. 1 overall pick

Remember, this is all to move up ONE SPOT, albeit a very important spot.

Again, the Pistons get more draft capital, and what should be some high picks. Weaver also gets the first-rounder he dealt to acquire the No. 14 pick in 2020 Draft (Stewart).

This works if you actually want Mobley over Cunningham, or at least rate them even.

It would also cause many Detroit fans to run screaming into streets in hysterics _ but not as much as the first option.

So there are many ways the Pistons can look at the upcoming draft.

Getting the No. 1 pick, and then taking Cade Cunningham, is just one of those options. Not the only one.

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