There was a lot of heartburn when the Detroit Pistons traded Jerami Grant for a future first round pick, especially when rumors swirled that Grant might net the team a mid lottery pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
In fact, the Grant trade left most of us scratching our heads and grasping for something positive to say.
Turns out, we just needed to be patient and trust Troy Weaver.
So the Pistons essentially traded Jerami Grant for the 13th pick (Jalen Duren), a 10-pick swap upgrade in 2nd round tonight and Kemba Walker's (owed 9 mil in final year of his deal)— John Niyo (@JohnNiyo) June 24, 2022
It’s sometimes hard to follow the net result of NBA trades, especially when Troy Weaver is involved, but essentially the Pistons traded Grant for Jalen Duren, plus moved up 10 spots in the second round. The Pistons also take on Kemba Walker and his expiring contract.
Not bad Troy, not bad at all.
Even though Grant doesn’t really fit Detroit’s timeline, it’s hard to move on from a player with his talents. The man is an Olympic Gold Medal winner, proving he can play with the best of the best, and he was unquestionably one of the Pistons’ best players the last two years.
Still, it’s hard to look at the net impact of the Grant trade (as it stands right now) and not be excited by the return.
What we know about Jalen Duren is that he is a former No. 1 overall recruit. We also know that he is someone Troy Weaver coveted, and with Weaver’s track record for identifying talent that is meaningful.
At 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds with a 7-foot-5.5 wingspan, we also know Duren has prototypical size for a rim protector. Duren’s 2.1 blocks per game, and 3.3 per 40 minutes back that up.
Duren also excels as an offensive rebounder (3.0 offensive rebounds per game) and lob threat, bringing a level of physicality to the front court that this current version of the Pistons have sorely missed.
Even better, Duren doesn’t need plays drawn up for him for his impact to be felt, and we’ve witnessed the impact Cade Cunningham has on the floor when paired with a lop threat presence and vice versa.
All in all, Duren checks all the boxes from a talent and fit perspective.
Talent and fit aside, it’s been no secret that the Pistons are interested in signing Deandre Ayton in free agency.
Duren also figures to be an excellent insurance policy for Detroit, should it lose out on the Deandre Ayton sweepstakes. Drafting Duren also does not preclude the Pistons from signing Ayton. Without knowing the outcome of free agency, Duren figures to be a rotational player from day 1, and while not preferred, the Pistons could opt to play Duren and Ayton together in stretches.
For the most part, Duren should play meaningful minutes when Ayton is off the court, if the Pistons do end up landing Ayton’s services.
Regardless of what happens in free agency, Duren is an excellent fit with the Pistons and someone fans should be excited about.