Troy Weaver is eternally unphased. He’s never agitated, he never rushes through an answer, and you can tell while he’s responding to your question about what just happened, he’s thinking about the things that are going to happen after several more dominoes fall.
The man has a vision — he calls it his process — and he never deviates. He only executes.
Boy did he execute on Thursday night during the 2022 NBA Draft.
After the dust had settled, he told the media “We got a lot of young guys. We won’t skip any steps, we’ll continue the process.”
Time will tell if the elite athleticism and competitiveness of Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, his pair of newly minted lottery picks, will translate into NBA success. But there’s no doubt Weaver trusts his instincts as a talent evaluator, and that he set out to juice a team sorely lacking in the athleticism department.
You can say Troy’s plan is bad or that he didn’t take the best players available on the board, but one thing is certain — he will execute his plan because he knows what it will take to make it happen.
Weaver’s first comments after warding off a series of reported phone calls from teams attempting to pry Ivey away from Detroit after they made the pick — “I don’t think we’re done yet, but we’ll see.”
And he said it as breezily as if he was recounting his shopping list.
By the time the cashier rung him up on draft night he had the most explosive guard in the draft with Ivey, a player with Michigan ties whose mother is a head basketball coach at the college level.
Growing up around the game, and understanding the work you must put into the game was one of the reasons Weaver was confident in drafting Ivey.
“The moments won’t be too big for him. He’s been around it, he’s felt it,” Weaver said.
That mentality, Weaver said, is what will propel him into a player not with defensive potential, but into a lockdown defender. And that is what will help him continue to develop as an outside shooter.
For his part, Ivey said that being drafted by the Pistons “was a dream come true,” noting he had close family ties to the area.
When asked if he specifically wanted to go to Detroit and if he did anything to try and convince other teams not to draft him, a giant, sheepish smile crossed Ivey’s face, and he said, “It felt like coming home. It felt like a family.”
He then said, “I really wanted to go to Detroit, but I don’t dictate the draft and teams could have picked me or they ould have traded me.”
Before the draft, it was reported Ivey only worked out for Orlando and Detroit, and that he was maneuvering to avoid being selected fourth by the Sacramento Kings, who ultimately selected Keegan Murray.
Now he’s a Detroit Piston and he forms a dynamic young backcourt with Cade Cunningham.
Weaver now has a player to slot alongside Cunningham who can explode to the basket off cuts, get to the free-throw line and do some secondary ball-handling and creating.
“Versatility, length, athleticism, competitive spirit. I’m looking forward to watching those guys play together,” Weaver said of his new backcourt duo.
But that’s not all the athleticism he was able to add Thursday. Weaver completed phase two of his Jerami Grant trade by sending the Milwaukee pick he received in that deal and rerouted it to New York and then Charlotte in a three-team deal that netted Detroit the second lottery pick everyone knew Weaver was after. He also took on the final year’s salary of Kemba Walker, who he intends to waive. The move allows New York to chase Jalen Brunson in free agency. Good luck to them.
He used that new lottery pick to choose Memphis big man Jalen Duren, one of the biggest, longest, youngest players in the draft who will be able to step on the floor and rebound and block shots from day one.
“Elite physical gifts and elite hands,” Weaver said of his new center. “He’s a big-time rebounder and rim protector. He will put pressure on the basket.”
Weaver said he can form a nice two-big-man unit with Isaiah Stewart.
“They can play together. Horford and Robert Williams can play together, Cleveland has two big guys playing together. … Both guys bring hard hats and that is what we’re looking for.”
As for what comes next in that process, it’s unclear where Weaver will pivot. Unclear to everyone but Weaver, that is.
Before the draft the biggest open secret was that Detroit was motivated to move Grant’s salary off the books because they had their sights set on signing restricted free agent Deandre Ayton from the Phoenix Suns.
With the addition of Duren, it’s unclear if Ayton is still in the cards. But Weaver did say he would look to add some veterans to round out the roster and help establish the kind of accountability and leadership Grant provided in his two years in Detroit.
“Definitely looking for some guys who can continue to move us forward.”
Troy’s process continues.