With the 2020 NBA season officially concluded and the NBA Draft only about a month out, mock drafts have been flying out across all major sports outlets such as ESPN, CBS, and Bleacher Report. This draft is unique in the fact that it will come in November, which is normally the beginning of an NBA season. The NBA announced on Wednesday, Oct. 14, that they’re aiming for another season starting around Martin Luther King Day and ending in July 2021, which would put them back on their normal season schedule of October through June.
This draft class has had storylines galore, from James Wiseman leaving Memphis to Lamelo Ball playing overseas and the drama that his father brings. More storylines include the deadly Golden State Warriors holding the second overall pick, Detroit getting the seventh pick even though they had the fourth worst record in the league (yes, I’m upset about it but more on that later,) and the potential for the Suns to grab the last player they need to contend.
With the buildup of these storylines, I was excited for the draft. My Pistons had just come off of a terrible year and had traded franchise player Andre Drummond. It was finally time to rebuild! And then the draft lottery happened. By some sick miracle, the Pistons were given the seventh pick even though they had the fourth worst record in the entire NBA. The NBA gods had again struck the Pistons down.
Now you might be saying, “Caleb, the seventh pick is still good! The Pistons will get a good player unless they pull a normal Pistons move and pick someone terrible!” And you’re probably right. But there are some factors that make the seventh pick unappealing.
This draft is not deep at all. The top three picks will most likely be stars, but after that you’re looking at players that will need to develop before they can make an impact right away. The Pistons haven’t had an immediate star out of the draft since the 2000’s, and I’ve said in the past that the Pistons needed to tank to get a top three pick that they couldn’t possibly mess up. If the Pistons had a top three pick in this draft they would get either Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, Obi Toppin, or Lamelo Ball. Those guys are immediate franchise helpers.
With the seventh pick, the Pistons will have a harder decision to make. Most mock drafts have them taking center Onyeka Okongwu out of USC, which makes me sick to my stomach. The Pistons do not need another big man that can’t shoot, and I’d only like this pick if Killian Hayes, Lamelo Ball, and Isaac Okoro are off the board. We’ve seen countless big men not thrive in Detroit, and it’s time to change the blueprint. I want the Pistons to go for a guard or forward that can score in today’s game of flashy passing and quick shooting instead of a traditional big man that will struggle to touch the ball in Blake Griffin’s paint.
So what do I think the Pistons should do? Keep the seventh pick, and put Blake Griffin on the trade block. Griffin is old and has shown he’s prone to injuries, which makes him almost no use to us. If somehow you can send Griffin off for another pick earlier in the draft, do it. It’ll get his massive contract off of our books and let us pick up another young player that can develop our franchise. With Griffin gone, the Pistons would have loads of cap room to sign another great player in free agency.
As far as the seventh pick goes, I like any guard or forward that’s being shown in the top ten. Lamelo Ball, Killian Hayes, Isaac Okoro, or Tyrese Hailburton would all make me happy. Just please don’t pick a big man unless it’s somehow James Wiseman.
The draft is about a month away, but unless Detroit’s management starts making moves, I’m afraid the Pistons will struggle for seasons to come.