The Detroit Pistons made a surprising move trading Luke Kennard, until now the longest-tenured Piston, to trade for a third pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft and used the pick to select Villanova forward Saddiq Bey.
Bey is a Villanova product and seems to be possess a combination of the skills of two other players the Pistons were known to be interested in higher in the draft — Patrick Williams and Aaron Nesmith.
Bey, like Williams, is a smart, hard-nosed player and solid defender who can cover multiple positions on the perimeter and in the post. At the same time, like Nesmith, he is a proven 3-point marksman, hitting 45% of his 3s on more than five attempts per game.
But he has plenty of red flags including a lack of rebounding and a poor steal rate. He’ll likely play small forward in the NBA and not power forward like he did often at Villanova, which might mitigate some of his natural shortcomings, but there is obviously a reason he was still available at No. 19.
As far as Kennard goes, this is a sad end to his Pistons career. The former lottery pick goes for the 19th selection in a weak draft despite showing tons of promise as a reliable high-volume 3-point shooter and secondary ball handler.
So why did Weaver decide to part with Kennard? Three primary reasons, I believe — 1. Kennard was always going to be a limited defender. He is a rare player with a wingspan smaller than his height 2. He was about to get paid, and Weaver decided he didn’t want to be the one to hand out the cash. 3. Luke’s knees. There has always been a bit of a concern about how long Kennard will be able to hold up, and nobody knew Kennard’s medical history more than Detroit. Perhaps that played into the decision.
It’s another sign, though, that the Pistons are interested in getting very young, gutting the roster and, say it with me, rebuilding.
The full deal is a three-teamer with the Clippers, Nets and Pistons. Clippers get Kennard, Nets get Landry Shamet and the Pistons get Bey and Clippers shooting guard Rodney McGruder.
McGruder is a 28-year-old bench player who was limited to 871 minutes last year in Los Angeles. McGruder averaged 3.3 points and just 55% from the line and 39% from the floor.