The NBA never sleeps, and it never disappoints.
The day before the 2019 NBA Draft, we’ve got a lot of information, rumors, mock drafts, and reporting to process - and some of it even involves the Detroit Pistons! Let’s wade through the pre-draft information slough together.
Ed Stefanski Speaks
We covered this here at DBB for you, but the main takeaways were that:
- The front office is perfectly content to build around Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin, and Andre Drummond
- They need depth around that “Big 3”, and they’re willing to be patient in free agency to obtain that depth
- They consider the talent pool in this year’s draft to be broad, but shallow
- The Summer League Pistons will feature Svi Mykhailiuk, Bruce Brown Jr., and Khyri Thomas.
Mock Drafts (Sorta) Agree - Romeo Langford is the pick for Detroit
There are other names that come up in mocks - The Athletic’s most recent mock has the Pistons taking Keldon Johnson, Rod Beard at The Detroit News selected Cameron Johnson, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo took Nassir Little - but Romeo Langford has been a consistent selection across mock drafts recently.
Pistons possibly targeting Darius Bazley in a trade down
Per longtime Detroit Pistons season-ticket holder Bruce Tennen, the Pistons are interested in prep-to-New-Balance-to-pro player Darius Bazley:
If the Pistons trade down for two later #1’s or a low #1 and a high #2, they are expected to pick former high school phenom Darius Bazley (who didn’t go to college) with one of those picks.— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) June 18, 2019
Coaching staff loves his potential https://t.co/fSRTyiyzM5— Bruce Tennen (@BruceTennen) June 18, 2019
The front office’s admission that this draft is broad instead of deep leads me to believe there’s smoke here; It’s not hard to see why a coaching staff could fall for Bazley’s potential. Possible trade partners for that latter first/early second-round pick include the Boston Celtics (who have picks 14, 20, 22, and 51), the Philadelphia 76ers (who have 24, 33, 34, 42, and 54 - and with whom Ed Stefanski pulled off a draft-day trade last year), and the Brooklyn Nets (who have 27 and 31). ESPN put a fake trade down that fulfilled this criteria, for whatever that’s worth:
Interesting trade would you take it? pic.twitter.com/tBNRLEiHFF— pistonswave (@pistonswave) June 19, 2019
Perhaps life could imitate art.
Operation Fly, Phoenix, Fly
The Phoenix Suns are shopping two of their younger wing players:
According to @wojespn, who just said it a few minutes ago on ESPN, the Suns have made T.J. Warren and Josh Jackson available in trade talks. Have spoken to multiple teams, and expectation is both are traded between now and the end of the draft on Thursday.— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 19, 2019
The Pistons’ need on the wing has caused people to put the two together as sensical trade partners. As a cheap-ish wing who can get his own shots, T.J. Warren has long been a subject of interest on DBB - there’s a FanPost up about him right now.
Josh Jackson has been interesting to me personally as a reclamation project, but I understand if people are turned off by his ... not-good-at-basketball-ness:
I've been ON buy-lowing Josh Jackson, btw:https://t.co/uQX1cL3muO— Lazarus Jackson (@lazchance) June 17, 2019
I will take ANY young wings if teams are just giving them away.
Middle Third of the East in Turmoil
Outside the scope of the Pistons, the teams surrounding them in the Eastern Conference are going through their own questions:
- The Boston Celtics are about to lose Kyrie Irving and Al Horford:
- The Indiana Pacers are on the outside looking in of the Mike Conley Sweepstakes and have moved to focusing on ... Ricky Rubio?
Ricky Rubio will be a top free agent target for the Indiana Pacers, according to league sources. The Pacers are also looking to move into the lottery in Thursday’s NBA draft.— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 18, 2019
The latest on @ringer: https://t.co/9wEP7peEYX
- Victor Oladipo won’t be ready for the start of the season and half the Pacers’ rotation are unrestricted free agents.
- The Brooklyn Nets are preparing to turn D’Angelo Russell into Kyrie Irving, a talent upgrade - but mayyyybe not a chemistry upgrade:
Irving has been communicative and forthright with top Celtics officials since the season ended, with private and public signals that he will leave the organization in free agency — likely for the Brooklyn Nets, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. https://t.co/EupfcYxhsg— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 18, 2019
- The Orlando Magic are fully prepared to commit long-term to Nikola Vucevic, and there’s no news on Terrence Ross’ interest in returning.
- The Washington Wizards do not have a general manager:
All this is to say, there’s reason to believe the Pistons could find themselves in a better situation through inertia. Washington presses the detonator on the rebuild, Boston fails to adequately replace Kyrie and Al, the Pacers have their usual luck in free agency... and the Pistons could be sitting pretty.
Detroit should not RELY upon that, of course, but it’s worth noting.
Discuss all the pre-draft scuttlebutt in the comments. I cannot wait for this crazy offseason to get started.