Pistons GM Troy Weaver: 'Everything's on the table' with NBA draft

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

With less than two weeks remaining before the NBA draft, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver and his staff continue to work on their strategy and draft board.

Because of the pandemic, there was no draft combine in Chicago and the normal assessment process was replaced by workouts more in the style of a pro day.

In assembling their draft board and figuring out which prospects they could target, the process has been different, but the path forward seems to be clear. Weaver, in his first draft with the Pistons, is looking to improve the roster as quickly as possible, likely through a combination of the draft, free agency or internal development.

The Pistons have the No. 7 pick in the first round and appear poised to add a quality player when the draft rolls around — finally — on Nov. 18.

There might be other options for reshaping the roster, though, including trading down with that pick to get more picks or to add other assets and move up to take a higher-tier player, such as LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards or James Wiseman.

If the Pistons hang on to their No. 7 pick in the NBA draft, guard Killian Hayes could be an option for them.

“We’re definitely looking at everything. We’re in a situation here where we’re trying to get the best players and replenish the cupboard,” Weaver said Thursday. “Everything’s on the table, so absolutely we would entertain that sort of scenario.”

Many mock drafts have projected that player to be a point guard such as Tyrese Haliburton or Killian Hayes, but with so many options and the significant depth throughout the first and second rounds, there’s more than one way to assemble more talent through this draft.

Weaver has said that the talent in the draft is pretty solid down through the lottery and even later in the first round, there are players who could help the Pistons next season.

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“Every draft, when you go back historically, has 10 pretty good players, and it doesn't matter where they get drafted. It's just on us to try to find those players, wherever we're drafting. Whether it's 7, 17, 27, 37, it doesn't matter,” Weaver said. “You've got to try to do your work, but more importantly, with the players in the draft being so young, more of it now is on your development program and your culture.”

One option for roster improvement could be acquiring multiple picks in exchange for the seventh pick or trading some of their current players to get more picks this year. An option that is gaining traction in the rumor mill is trading that pick to the Boston Celtics, who have picks 14, 26 and 30 in the first round. The value could be that the Celtics, who made the Eastern Conference finals and have a full roster, could consolidate their three picks into one higher selection.

With so many roster spots to fill and the opportunity to use their available space in the salary cap rather than on free agents, the Pistons could stock up in this draft and look ahead to using to saving their cap space for next summer, when there will be a more robust crop of free agents. Assuming some improvement in their roster next season, that could be the quickest route to returning to contention.

Whether it’s free agency or the draft, the key will be to make a jump over the 20-46 record this season and Weaver was brought in to get them back to playoff contention. There’s no one path to doing that, but Weaver is committed to getting back to the postseason.

“Nothing’s changed on being competitive. When that changes, then I won’t be around here, but we’re going to try to be competitive without short-cutting our long-term future,” he said. “We’re looking at both scenarios, for sure. I don’t know who you consider big free agents, but we plan on talking to guys that we’re very interested in, for sure, and also leveraging cap space to get assets.

“It’s a juggling act, a balancing act, with being competitive on the forefront of that tied into not mortgaging the future.”

The Pistons don’t have a second-round pick this year because they traded it to the Phoenix Suns in 2015 in the deal for Marcus Morris and Reggie Bullock. It doesn’t mean that they can’t work their way into getting into the second round, whether with cash or another package of players or future picks.

“We want to replenish our seconds and we're definitely interested in picking up seconds in this year's draft,” Weaver said.


Twitter: @detnewsrodbeard