Troy Weaver is a man who stays on message. If you removed some of the names from today’s media availability ahead of Thursday’s 2022 NBA Draft, you wouldn’t know if it was a transcript from 2020, 2021 or 2022. The names on the draft board may change, but the philosophy remains the same.
That philosophy seems to be this: You put in the work and plan for any potential outcomes, who a player is as a person is even more important than he is as a collection of skills, pay zero attention to the rumors floating around in news reports because they are probably wrong, and continue restoring the roster and build one that matches the personality of the people of Detroit.
What that means specifically for his approach to the team’s fifth overall pick or any attempts to add more draft capital remains to be seen. He certainly did not tip his hand to the assembled news media.
Cade Cunningham makes things a lot easier, because everyone fits with Cade. “His versatility lends to whoever we draft being able to fit seamlessly with him. Drafting him has made it easier in not having to worry as much about fit,” Weaver said.
But Weaver also noted there are larger degrees of fit than the complementary skills on the basketball court. It’s about finding the right player — one who fits into the organizational mindset and their approach to the game.
“Fit is easy because we are trying to draft the right person,” Weaver said. “The person is going to fit, and the basketball, coach Casey and his staff can figure it out.”
Fit, upside, the ability to contribute on day one. Weaver was asked about his approach to all those factors, and his message seemed to be it all matters. No one factor supercedes the others, and players you might presume fit in one box actually belong elsewhere.
“To me upside is growth and mindset. I don’t prescribe that a 23-year-old can’t grow and doesn’t have upside. There are guys who are 19 and limit themselves. … It’s the mental aspect.”
Weaver also touched on the Jerami Grant situation, noting that he anticipates an influx of calls between now and the draft. “People are always calling for your best players, so, yes, you anticipate that.”
His goal is to draft the player who is the best long-term member of the Detroit Pistons, and draft history shows that you can grab that player at 5 (or 15) and not just in the top four of the draft.
“How does Giannis go 15? How does Kawhi go 15? … I never prescribe to [a big drop after the top few picks]. Where we are picking, at 5, in this draft, I don’t see that. I don’t see a top 4. I never saw that. … That’s why we do our work, and we’ll come out with the best person and player for us.”
Weaver followed up by noting that from the team’s perspective at 5, there are “7, 8, 9 guys in the draft.”
If we were going to do a quick and dirty speculative list that could include Chet Paolo and Jabari as the anointed “top 3.” Then we can create a Jaden Ivey, Keegan Murray, Bennedict Mathurin tier to put us at 6. Who could be those final three players? Could it be the young Shaedon Sharpe, G League defensive standout Dyson Daniels, sharpshooter AJ Griffin, a huge upside play in Tari Eason, draft nerd darling of Jeremy Sochan or the behemoth big man Jalen Duren?
Weaver certainly isn’t telling. But he’s confident in his process and willing to put in the work until the final moments leading into submitting the pick. The end goal is to build a winner in Detroit.
“We want a team on the floor that the city identifies with.”