The best thing about the Detroit Pistons this season has by far been their rookie class. Troy Weaver put his stamp on things immediately upon taking over, slicing and dicing as he reshaped the roster to fit his vision.
There’s an argument to be made that two of the Pistons rookies — Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey — have pretty much locked up spots on the All-Rookie teams, while the third first rounder, Killian Hayes, has begun to show that same potential after returning from injury.
The Athletic went back and looked at the 2020 lottery and how it would go today versus back in November.
All three rookies were still lottery picks, but not to the Pistons.
Stewart went off the board at No. 6 to the Atlanta Hawks. Though he’s been the best rookie center this year, he’s second off the board behind James Wiseman but ahead of the Hawks’ original choice, Onyeka Okongwu.
Hayes, despite his struggles, went No. 8 to the New York Knicks and Bey, who already feels like a veteran wing at this point, went to the Sacramento Kings at No. 14.
So, who did the Pistons take? Aleksej Pokusevski. If you’re looking for potential at that spot in the draft, with the likes of Lamelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Wiseman and Stewart gone, Poku isn’t a bad swing to take.
He’s far from a finished product, both physically and on the court, but his feel for the game at his size is what gives him such a high ceiling. There’s still not a very high floor with him, but overall, he’s a better lottery ticket today than he was in November when the Oklahoma City Thunder took him at No. 17.