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DBB on 3: The future of Detroit Basketball under Troy Weaver

The gang reacts to Detroit’s new General Manager

The dust has officially settled. The Pistons landed their GM for the future, in Troy Weaver, and he’s already making his presence felt, having just signed Justin Patton, a former 2017 first-round pick, to the fifteen man roster.

As most introductory press conferences go, he left a positive first impression, and gave hope to a fan-base that’s been waiting for a competitive team since the dismantling of the Goin’ To Work squad more than a decade ago. He’ll have his work cut out for him, seeing how the Pistons were on track to win fewer than twenty five games this season. On a positive note, he’ll have financial flexibility, a probable top five pick in this year’s draft, and (hopefully) full support from owner Tom Gores, in order to restore a sense of pride in Detroit Basketball.

The writers here at DBB give our thoughts on Weaver’s hiring and the immediate future of Pistons basketball.

1.) How will Weaver’s past success in OKC translate to Detroit?

Justin Lambregtse: I think it will translate pretty well. Everybody talks about how good he is at player evaluation, so if I am to believe that, he deserves a lot of credit for the success of the Thunder franchise since they moved to Oklahoma City.

Lazarus Jackson: Hopefully, really well. High highs and not-that-low lows? I would take that.

David Fernandez: One element that can’t be understated with Weaver’s success, is that it happened in Oklahoma City. A smaller market, smaller than Detroit, that was able to build themselves into a consistent playoff team even after James Harden and Kevin Durant departed. That gives me hope that he understands the unique challenges that come with trying to build a contender in a city outside of New York or California.

Christopher Daniels: I think we will find out how much he was involved in or at least absorbed the other aspects of being a GM from Presti. He needs to be more than just a great evaluator of talent (although that of course is huge). If he brings all of the other skills OKC needed to have in order to transition several times to somehow maintain relevance after losing all three of its now-MVPs we will be golden.

Steve Hinson: My hope is that it will have given him a sense as to what a winning team looks like. No more of this nonsense where we think we have a competitive roster if everything goes exactly right.

Brady Fredericksen: I think we’ll see it in the draft. The Pistons’ rebuild strategy since... well, 2009, has been free agency. I don’t think Weaver is going to come in looking to plug holes with veterans like that. His rise in Utah and, moreso, Oklahoma City, came based on his talent evaluation when it came to draft picks. The Pistons need to hit not only this year’s draft, but the next and the next. That’s where Weaver will hopefully rise up.

2.) What player do you think he’ll target in the draft?

Justin Lambregtse: I think he is going to target somebody with a lot of upside. There will probably be a bit more risk involved, but the potential for a Star is higher. Somebody like a LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards. Obviously that is heavily dependent on where the Pistons pick ultimately falls. If they are out of range of those players I could see somebody like Isaac Okoro or Killian Hayes.

Lazarus Jackson: Anthony Edwards, if he has the mentality that Weaver is looking for, seems like his type of guy. Deni Avdija and Tyrese Haliburton have the mentality Weaver expressed a love for, but aren’t the athletes he normally covets. RJ Hampton is ABSOLUTELY the type of player OKC has targeted in the last few drafts... but that guy isn’t worth a top 9 pick.

David Fernandez: Historically speaking, the Thunder love long, athletic wings, which makes me think he’d take Anthony Edwards, should Detroit move up in the draft. If Detroit stays at five or is forced to move down, Tyrese Haliburton or Cole Anthony fits that “guys who compete” description that Weaver stated is the type of player he likes to target.

Christopher Daniels: My one hope is that this being his first pick as a GM and his being touted as a superb talent finder doesn’t have him reaching too far for an unknown quantity. Someone on the edges, fine, just don’t overreach and end up with an Anthony Bennett-type pick.

Steve Hinson: One trend I see with the Thunder draft record is a fondness for youth. As far as I’ve seen, it looks like Josh Huestis was the only player drafted with a first round pick who played more than two years in college. So I think that counts out the likes of Obi Toppin, Saddiq Bey, Tyler Bey, or Paul Reed. There’s also been quite a few perimeter creator types drafted in his tenure between Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Eric Bledsoe, Reggie Jackson, and (though he didn’t work out) Cameron Payne. So I could see the pick being one of the point guard options.

Brady Fredericksen: That’s still a little unclear. I think his introductory presser was a little bland, but he did mention good guys off the court and competitors. I’d be shocked if we saw him draft any guys with off-court concerns or questions about their motors. And I don’t think he’ll be afraid to draft the best player, regardless of position. The franchise is putting a lot into Sekou Doumbouya, but I would assume Weaver would draft another SF/PF-type if it meant that guy was the best player he could get — and that’s the right way to operate.

3.) What do you think his/the organization’s goals are for next season? (given Weaver’s comments about Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin)

Justin Lambregtse: If I am to take him at his word during the presser, he wants to win next year. I don’t think that’s actually what he wants to do and he probably wants a few high upside players of his choosing before going all in on winning. You can’t just say you are trading Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose during the introductory presser because they are the veteran leaders. At the end of the day, his goal is probably going to be to trade them.

Lazarus Jackson: I think part of the reason Tom Gores hired Troy Weaver is because Troy Weaver is gonna be pissed if the team wins one game in 30 days. I think this Pistons team is going to work to not be extinction-level bad. I KNOW Tom Gores would like to see butts in seats (if butts are allowed to be in seats at all), and being that bad is not conducive to putting butts in seats.

Not worried about signing Fred VanVleet or “skipping steps” in the rebuild, but I think this team is gonna try to push to win 30 games when they might be better served winning 20.

David Fernandez: OKC has been able to remain relevant, even when it looked like they might be headed towards the lottery. This resilient pedigree that the Thunder cultivated, might have influenced Gores’ decision to hire Weaver. The Pistons, who were trending towards a bottom three finish before the season was halted (or cancelled for them), would be better off continuing in that direction. But if Griffin, Rose and Kennard remain healthy, I could see Detroit fighting for the 8th seed yet again.

Christopher Daniels: First off Weaver had to say that he sees Griffin and Rose as part of the plan. But this comment of “as long as he’s wearing a Pistons uniform” seems like a huge indicator that everything is on the table. Almost that exact phrase was used by Blake himself so there may have already been talks with Blake internally about being open to moving him to a contender if the deal is right.

As far as overall goals, Troy is going to want to make his mark ASAP so I’d think goals are going to be to more shake up than shape what’s there. That may be wishful thinking but it makes sense and is what new big bosses tend to do, especially when there’s a need for it to happen.

Steve Hinson: I don’t think he tipped his hand much, but I could see him having a fondness for Rose and Blake given the tenor of his comments emphasizing competitive personalities. But it is interesting he mentioned Wood as part of the young core.

Brady Fredericksen: They aren’t going to strip it bare and tank in a Trust The Process way, but I think they’re going to work to find ways to get the most value out of Rose and Blake while collecting whatever young assets they can along the way. If we look at how OKC approached trading big name guy, like Paul George, they got the best value they could when they knew he wasn’t going to stick around. I’d love it if we saw the same thing with Rose, assuming he comes back next year healthy and playing well again.

Your turn! Let us know how you feel in the comments.

1.) How will Weaver’s past success in Oklahoma City translate to Detroit?

2.) What player do you think he’ll target in the draft?

3.) What do you think his/the organization’s goals are for next season? (given Weaver’s comments about Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin)