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DBB on 3: Talking Detroit Pistons’ surprisingly active NBA Draft

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Already seems like weeks ago, old news really, but the draft just happened days ago. We discuss.

2020 NBA Draft Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Do you remember, way way back, seems like ages ago to this past Wednesday? Yeah the 2020 NBA Draft happened. A few days ago. Troy Weaver making that all seem like old news but, man, it was quite a night for he and the Detroit Pistons. Some fairly universally applauded picks, some slightly head scratchy but starting off with one and ending up with four wasn’t on my radar in the least, so there’s that.

Side note, all responses were made before free agency’s mind melting first day so the answers to question No. 3 are especially interesting.

Without further ado let’s get to it.

1. What is your overall reaction to the night Troy Weaver had at the 2020 NBA Draft?

Lazarus Jackson:

The Pistons did basically everything I would’ve done - take Killian Hayes with their top pick, eat a little sin to take a wing, decide one way or another on Luke Kennard, and just generally get bigger and more mentally tough. I didn’t love the draft pick of Isaiah Stewart, and I probably would’ve gone in a different direction than Saban Lee, but I do understand both of those picks, at least. I see the vision, and so far I like what I see.

Ben Gulker:

Skeptically optimistic? At the macro level, I love the strategy for a rebuild. Use the cap space to absorb bad contracts that accompany picks, buy second rounders, and trade for additional picks. At the micro level, three out of four picks make sense to me, but I am not thrilled with the value for Bruce Brown and Luke Kennard. Dealing Blake Griffing and Derrick Rose needs to happen for me to get fully on board.

Sean Corp:

Killian was one of my top players on my board, so in a sense everything after that seemed like gravy. In the end, Weaver added a bunch of seemingly high-character guys including a playmaker, a two-way wing, the kind of big man Pistons fans love to root for, and a point guard that can actually dunk the ball consistently.

ScottFL:

Sanguine, actually. He didn’t pick my faves, but more importantly he didn’t imperil the tank. Next year’s draft is better, and this year’s team is going to be terrible, which is ideal.

David Fernandez:

Weaver had a vision and he executed. All signs pointed to him blowing this roster up as soon as the Bruce Brown domino fell, and he delivered on that in spades. Hayes was THE pick at 7 and Detroit didn’t overthink it, and more importantly they didn’t risk future draft assets to move up. All in all, I’m pleased - pleased with (most of) their selections, but even more excited that the Pistons seem to finally have their eyes set on the future.

Brady Fredericksen:

Optimistic. The Pistons appear to be done working their asses off to be mentioned among the NBA’s middle class. It’s refreshing to see them pursuing a rebuild, even if they won’t say it. I didn’t agree fully with every move last night, but I think the overall sentiment of the fanbase is the one that I’m feeling today: this front office knows that it’s not going anywhere until it tears everything down.

Ryan Pravato:

Couldn’t have done much better. The Pistons need almost everything and they certainly took fairly large steps to get moving in the right direction.

Justin Lambregtse:

I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not used to the Pistons being aggressive on draft night to acquire extra picks. I’m not huge on trading future first rounders, but the protections on it make it an easier pill to swallow. Also, unlike a lot of Pistons fans, I don’t really care that much about trading Luke Kennard and Saddiq Bey was one of my draft crushes.

2. What grade would you give each of the picks?

Lazarus Jackson:

Killian Hayes (7): A+. Number one player on my board. I would’ve sprinted to the podium to get him.

Isaiah Stewart (16): B-. I didn’t do enough research on Stewart pre-draft. Now, knowing that scouts project him as a shooter in time, I am more OK with the pick, but I still feel drafting a center this high is a reach.

Saddiq Bey (19): B+. Surprised he lasted to 19, good bit of trading by the Pistons to get him in my opinion. Dwane Casey will LOVE Saddiq Bey.

Saban Lee (38): B. I enjoyed the stylings of Jordan Bone, and Lee appears to be younger Jordan Bone. I can get behind that.

Ben Gulker:

Killian Hayes (7): A. Lots of upside here at a position of great need. The only potential drawback is drafting guys this young means you have to decide on their first big contract before they’re close to peaking.

Isaiah Stewart (16): C. This one is puzzling to me. Essentially no one had him going this high, and I’ve seen lots of criticism of his lateral mobility that concerns me.

Saddiq Bey (19): B. A reasonable to good chance of becoming a 3 and D player is about what you can expect at 19.

Saban Lee (38): C. You miss 100% of the draft picks you don’t make.

Sean Corp:

Killian Hayes: A. He was near the top of my board, I love betting on big point guards and he seems to have the chops to become a legit playmaker and creator at the NBA level.

Isiah Stewart: C-. Admittedly, I know little about his game but my gut reaction was it didn’t make sense to trade so much to jump to 16 and then use that pick on a non-explosive big man whose range doesn’t extend beyond the paint. There were plenty of guards and wings I would have rather seen them take.

Saddiq Bey: B+. Bey seemed to have elements Weaver reportedly liked in two higher-profile targets — the defense and switchability he saw in Patrick Williams and the reliable 3-point shooting he saw in Aaron Nesmith. If Bey comes out of the Villanova factory prepared to play NBA-caliber defense and can hit 35%+ from 3 out of the gate, he’ll be an immediate contributor.

Saban Lee: B. I know many thought Lee wouldn’t get drafted, but second-round picks are always a gamble. And it seems smart to gamble on a point guard with a 6-foot-9 wingspan who gets to the free-throw line at will.

ScottFL:

Killian Hayes: B.

Isaiah Stewart: (Redacted. Too much profanity.)

Saddiq Bey: B+. He’s fine, and possibly better than that.

Saben Lee: B+. My guy! (I would have taken my other guy Riller, but this is cool too.)

David Fernandez:

Killian Hayes (7): A. Detroit finally identified their point guard for the future. He’s a dynamic scorer who can shoot the three, get to the rim and facilitate for others. He also has a great relationship with Sekou Doumbouya. Gimme all of that.

Isaiah Stewart (16): C -. Absolutely wishing the best for Isaiah Stewart, but his game screams back-up big in the NBA. I don’t know why they’d select that type of profile when there were more dynamic options on the table.

Saddiq Bey (19): A. Saddiq Bey is going to be in the NBA a lonnnnnng time. He’s athletic, strong, and shot the ball well at Villanova. Detroit has needed an actual SF for years, and they may have found that guy in Bey.

Saban Lee (38): C. LOVED his highlight reels, but that doesn’t mean much. Concerned about his stroke, but not mad that the Pistons took another bite of the Point Guard apple

Brady Fredericksen:

I’m going to give the Killian Hayes pick an A. He was my personal favorite at No. 7 and, while he lacks the elite passing and playmaking of LaMelo Ball, he’s a steady kid with the potential for a really good all-around game. I’ll give the pick of Isaiah Stewart a C. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a productive 19-year-old big man who plays his ass off and does a lot of the dirty work really well... I just don’t think THAT should be your goal in a prospect at No. 16. Saddiq Bey gets a B-plus. He’s never going to be a star, but he’s got the potential to be a Pistons mainstay for 10 years. He has a very cerebral, Jaylen Brown-type vibe to him as a human, and I just really like how well-rounded, if not boring, his game is. He’ll be the Pistons’ best rookie in 2020-21, I’m sure of that.

Ryan Pravato:

Killian Hayes in my eyes was a safe pick. Not sold on him being an All-Star ever, but at no. 7 in this draft, he was likely the right choice. Point guard of the future doesn’t mean that that point guard has to be an All-Star (and really, what does being an All-Star matter anyway?). Just win games and make your teammates better. Be a quality starter for 8-10 years. Do your part. Hayes looks like he should be able to — really excited to follow him.

I admit I didn’t know much pre-draft about Isaiah Stewart other than he played for a very poor Washington team and was a highly regarded recruit. I figure he’d be a first round selection since there was good skill and size there, but wouldn’t get a sniff from Detroit. I’ve warmed up to the selection. He’s more bouncy than given credit for. He can extend his range over time as I think he’s not far off from being a decent pick and pop threat. Not only does Stewart work hard, it seems that he works smart — let’s not overlook how key that is for players at this level. Stewart in a few years time could very well be regarded as one of the steals of the draft.

Saddiq Bey at 19 was a no-brainer. It’s finally nice to have someone making draft decisions that won’t miss or by-pass the no-brainers!

Every time I would catch Nova I would think to myself that this Bey guy plays the game the right way and is pretty smooth to boot.

I watched a lot of Auburn this past college season, and being that Auburn and Vanderbilt are SEC teams, I was lucky enough to see pretty much a full game of Saben Lee (and Jerry Stackhouse roaming the sidelines). I looked back at the box score — Saben scored 27 points and was 10 for 14 from the floor. He’s crafty and explosive. He has NBA athleticism, no doubt. The more clips I see of him the more he reminds me of Ish Smith a bit, mainly in the way they probe, dart, dash, and also their less than pretty or accurate jump shots. However, judging by the outside shooting numbers of both during their college years, Saben is coming into the league with more shooting ability than Ish did.

Justin Lambregtse:

Killian Hayes: B. I was all aboard the Patrick Williams train, but he obviously went before our pick. I’m fine with Killian Hayes and I think he will be a solid point guard, I just don’t see any star potential or anything

Isaiah Stewart: C. This is mainly because I don’t know a lot about him. He seems like just a hustle player, which is fine, I’m just not sure about taking a hustle player at 16. The Pistons needed a center and he has long term starting potential, I just think they could have waited or just gotten a C in free agency..

Saddiq Bey: A. He was one of my draft crushes and I am estatic the Pistons got him. I think him and Sekou can play together and he has a long future in this league.

Saben Lee: B. He is a high level athlete that draws fouls. In the 2nd round I like to bank on players that have one very good skill and hope to develop the rest of their game.

3. How does his GM performance so far bode for further trades and free agency?

Lazarus Jackson:

It’s an excellent start. Weaver’s focus on getting mentally strong, hard-working players I think will in time pay dividends as those players develop. His focus on positional size is a big departure from the smaller, more guard-heavy Pistons team he took over. And with expiring contracts like Tony Snell and Trevor Ariza still on the roster, I definitely don’t think his offseason work is finished.

Ben Gulker:

Bring on the full rebuild! I’ve been hoping to see a GM use cap space to absorb contracts and build a warchest of picks for years, and I’m thrilled to see it happening. Hopefully Weaver finds suitors for the remaining veteran contracts without being forced to ship assets out in the process.

Sean Corp:

With the moves off of Luke Kennard and Bruce Brown for young players and draft picks, it seems like Weaver finally has the Pistons committed to a proper rebuild. He’s already used up some of his cap-room war chest to obtain one pick. I hope he spends free agency waiting to pounce on a team needing to open up room in exchange for a young player or a pick. Otherwise, take flyers on low-cost young players and sign a veteran point guard so it’s easier to trade Derrick Rose.

ScottFL:

Gentlemen, start your tanks! Love it.

David Fernandez:

I love how aggressive he’s been in executing his strategy. Detroit has been long overdue for a full-on rebuild, and here we finally are. Only knock so far, I know Luke Kennard is worth more than the 19th pick in that draft class. Had Weaver held onto Kennard (possibly dealt him at the deadline), drafted Bey at 16 over Stewart, he would have gotten an A++ overall.

Brady Fredericksen:

He’s not a puppet, so I’ll give him a B-plus. I was worried that Tom Gores, Ed Stefanski or Arn Tellem would be pulling the strings as the puppetmaster here, but the fact that Weaver just came through with a flamethrower on Wednesday shows me that he’s in charge. The Pistons have refused to rebuild under Gores’ watch. Weaver obviously knew this roster was stuck when he inherited it, and he appears to have a plan to un-stick it. I’m curious to see what he does with Derrick Rose, Dewayne Dedmon and Blake Griffin. The latter is probably stuck here until he can prove he’s healthy and worth trading for, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Rose and Dedmon gone by the start of the regular season.

Ryan Pravato:

In Weaver I trust.

Justin Lambregtse:

It’s obvious that Troy Weaver is an aggressive GM who wants to build through the draft and trades, which is perfect for a team like Detroit that is not a free agent destination. This is obviously in the context of no free agency yet. When Troy Weaver goes out and signs FVV, my stance is going to change.

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Please join us at home, copy/paste the questions and give us your answers in the comments below!

1. What is your overall reaction to the night Troy Weaver had at the 2020 NBA Draft?

2. What grade would you give each of the picks?

3. How does his GM performance so far bode for further trades and free agency?