It didn’t take long after the Detroit Pistons secured the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft for national pundits and large chunks of the fan base to try and get rid of it. After spending a year begging for the Detroit Pistons to rebuild the right away (aka tank), and seeing it work to perfection via securing the top pick, Pistons fans came up with a million reasons Detroit should trade it for more assets.
Troy Weaver added fuel to the fire simply by acknowledging the team would do its due diligence in an effort to make the best decision for the organization. In a post-lottery media availability, Weaver said there were “four or five guys” he and the organization would study carefully. Gasp! That must mean Cunningham is no sure thing. When asked if the team would look to trade the pick, Weaver didn’t shut down the premise and said it was “possible.” Gasp again!
But people are being too cute by half. Weaver does himself no favors by committing definitively to drafting Cunningham 30 minutes after winning the pick. Leaving his options open presents zero downside for Detroit’s GM. But it also doesn’t mean he won’t go through with the most-likely scenario — keep the pick and draft Cade Cunningham.
Does this mean the Detroit Pistons are 100% guaranteed to take Cade? Of course not.
The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie reported shortly after the lottery that it is known throughout the league that the Pistons are high on Jalen Green and his elite scoring potential. That doesn’t mean Green is likely to be ahead of Cunningham on Detroit’s draft board, and it doesn’t mean the Pistons are suddenly going to maneuver through a series of byzantine trades to drop lower in order to draft Green, or Evan Mobley or anyone else.
And while I enjoy a thought experiment like “how many of the 18 first-round picks over the next seven years the Thunder would need to send Detroit to jump from six to one, that doesn’t mean it has more than the faintest possibility of actually happening.
Then there are those who think Weaver would let the presence of Killian Hayes dictate what he’d do with the first overall pick. First, and we’ll get into this more in the future, Hayes and Cunningham can play together. In fact, assuming both players somehow managed to reach their ceilings, they are two players you’d love to have playing side by side. And if Killian doesn’t develop much less reach his ceiling then he’ll move on. But he’s also not even 20 years old yet. Give him time to develop and let’s see what happens.
Weaver is not a guy that likes to box himself in. He is also somebody who has his own sense of what makes an elite NBA prospect, and he’s confident in himself and his abilities. He could do anything.
But he’s probably keeping the first pick. And he’s probably drafting Cade Cunningham. And the Detroit Pistons are probably going to get a truly special talent.