Following a great NBA season, we are less than a week away from the NBA Draft. The offseason will be pivotal for the Detroit Pistons to further the roster rebuild entering the 2022-2023 NBA season.
The first domino that has to fall is who will they get in the draft. As of now, it is known that the Detroit Pistons are looking at four prospects: Purdue combo guard Jaden Ivey, Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Kentucky guard Shadeon Sharpe, and Arizona forward Bennedict Mathurin. Out of the four prospects, I believe three would be great additions to the team.
1. Jaden Ivey
Based on the potential backcourt fit with Cade Cunningham, I think Ivey should be the Pistons' first option. Ivey is an electrifying combo guard that will add athleticism toward Detroit's guard position. Even though I think he should be picked first if he’s there, I have concerns with Ivey on the Pistons. My worries stem from a gut-feeling that he is not the right archetype of player alongside Cade Cunningham. Training would have to go perfectly with Ivey’s development as a passer and an off-ball defender for the backcourt of himself and Cade to be maximized. Ivey and Cunningham could present the same issue Dallas experienced a couple of years ago with Luka Dončić and Dennis Smith Jr.
2. Bennedict Mathurin
Bennedict Mathurin comes is the second best fit for the Pistons. Unlike most who believe Mathurin shouldn’t be picked at number five due to his lower upside, Mathurin has changed my mind. In my eyes, Mathurin has shown a solid amount of upside to become an All-Star and has all the physical measurements to be a great defender at the next level as well. Mathurin gains the edge over the other prospects due to his high-floor skill level, making him a safe pick as a rotational "three and D" player. Mathurin edges out Sharpe who has the most question marks in the Draft. Mathurin's ceiling could lead to him turning into an NBA All-Star one day. Although Mathurin seems like the best combination of fit and upside, his potential is not the highest of what the other two players may turn out to be. I also worry about him settling as an on-ball defender and never developing his off-ball defense.
3. Shadeon Sharpe
Sharpe lands as the last option for me because of all the question marks about him as a player. High school rankings and highlights only get you so far. Lacking experience gained during college basketball, may label him as a "project player." The Pistons track record of developing project players is far from the best. However, if the Pistons take a chance on Sharpe, he has the potential to turn into the best player out of the entire NBA draft.
Acquiring a starting big-man should be the number one thing Detroit addresses during free agency. Personally, the archetype of center Detroit benefits most from is a lob threat. There are two players that peak my interest, Deandre Ayton, youthful big-man from Phoenix who has proven himself as a really good player and fits the time table of the young core of the Pistons' roster. Outside of Ayton, a good backup option would be Mitchell Robinson. Robinson is a rim-running big with solid defense and costs much less much, allowing flexibility later on in the rebuild process.
Aside from resigning Marvin Bagley and keeping Killian Hayes, the Pistons need to take chances on new rotational pieces off the bench by replacing some of the ones from this past season like Frank Jackson, Hamidou Diallo, and Rodney McGruder. The Pistons need a new set of guys that could have similar roles in hopes of their fit on the team is better with very cheap deals that could be packaged later in a trade.
TRADE Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynk
The last thing Detroit should look to this off-season is to trade both Grant and Olynyk. Even though they both contributed a lot this season for the Pistons, they don't exactly seem to fit the timetable for Detroit and would be better elsewhere on a contending team. The Pistons should be looking to get future Draft assets for these two to further build the roster with a more talented group of prospects next year.
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