To date, much of the discussion regarding the draft lottery has focused on who might be available at the number seven spot. After all, history indicates most teams opt to stick with their draft position.
That said, if we can argue that the Pistons aren't the prototypical lottery team (on account of injuries, new faces et al...), then it stands to reason Joe D. might opt to do something atypical. If he goes that route, what options are available? Let's examine a few.
Option A: Trading Up
The Pistons need a big man, and the elite prospects are almost certain to be drafted in the top five. So what would it take to move up? That answer might depend on the Minnesota Timberwolves. If draft projections hold, they'll be in a position to draft DeMarcus Cousins.
The T-Wolves cannot afford to fire another blank in the lottery. Between the Joe Smith fiasco and being shunned by Princess Rubio, the fan base has been completely demoralized. DeMarcus Cousins is a disaster in a bag for Minnesota. They are more likely to try to use Al Jefferson to trade up for Evan Turner, or settle on Wesley Johnson.
Johnson, though, might be available at the seven. If not, homegrown talent Cole Aldrich would fortify the front line, and play well with Kevin Love. He would also be perfect for billboards in Bachmann country. The Pistons could offer Tayshaun, along with the seven pick, for the Ryan Gomes, Ramon Sessions, Ryan Hollins and the four pick.
Why it happens: The Timberwolves save money, upgrade at two positions instead of one, and still have Al Jefferson to parlay into a solution at the two or three. The Pistons get their big man of the future, and a chance to take a look at Sessions, who some (especially here) think has star potential.
Why it doesn't: One of the reasons the Timberwolves were so keen to draft point guards last year was because they think Brewer and Gomes are getting the job done. It would be sad for a semi-blockbuster trade to collapse over the inclusion of a dime a dozen wing player, but, it is the T-Wolves. Also, Dumars would be taking all the risk in this trade. He would essentially be paying Cousins $10M per year right off the bat.
Option B: Trading Down
The "eat your oatmeal" option. The Pistons could leverage their lottery pick to swap with a contender, who would take on Rip Hamilton in exchange for an expiring contract.
The most obvious example would (as I've mentioned before) have the Pistons sending Rip Hamilton to Dallas in exchange for Erick Dampier. The Mavs could use the pick to fortify their front line, and Rip would give the Mavs another scorer for a title run.
The Jazz would also be another possibility. A Hamilton/Maxiell/seven-pick for Kirlenko trade works, and would give Utah two lottery picks to offset the (presumable) loss of Carlos Boozer.
Why it happens: Hamilton might be overpaid, but efficient scoring from the wings has been tough to come by as of late. Middling contenders should jump at the chance to turn an expiring into a now/later proposition. With their worst contract off the books, the Pistons can begin the rebuilding process in earnest.
Why it doesn't: With lots of teams desperate to clear space, an even better deal might come along. Plus, a lot of GMs will be clamoring for the headlines that come with making the trade the gets LeBron or D-Wade to Chicago. It would also be a pretty damning concession of defeat on Dumars' part.
Option C: Double Down!
In this case, the Pistons would use the draft pick to upgrade at a position, and Prince's expiring to take on more contracts.
Would Portland come to the table? Tayshaun/seven-pick for LaMarcus Aldridge and Martell Webster works, though Aldridge has a poison pill contract, so they might have to Memphis it a bit. Portland gets a lot more flexibility, and can at least address the gap left by Aldridge.
Why it happens: The Pistons get some much needed front court offense. If rumors of Portland's dissatisfaction with Aldridge are true, well, this solves that, and without having to take a bath on talent.
Why it doesn't: Does Portland need flexibility? On paper, they have a contending team. Further, with Batum stepping up, bringing Prince for a full year might not make a lot of sense.