The NBA offseason is here and with the draft approaching, FortyEightMinutes is examining the key questions for each team heading into the big night. Today, we’ll take a look at the Detroit Pistons
Pistons 2021 Draft Picks
1. What is the Pistons’ biggest need entering the draft?
The Detroit Pistons currently hold four selections in this year’s NBA Draft. They finished with a 20-52 overall record and maintained the second-worst record in the league. but looking past their record, there are better days ahead in Detroit. The franchise maintained the first overall pick in the draft and the best option for them is to draft the best player available.
The structure of this roster is based around the young prospects that have become Pistons over the last few seasons and the acquisition of Jerami Grant in the off-season. Detroit will look for guys who are NBA Ready and are going to be capable of contributing as soon as possible.
2. Will Jerami Grant be a focal point in the Pistons’ future?
Jerami Grant is coming off a career season and if it weren’t for Julius Randle having a dominant year Grant probably would have won the most improved player award. Grant went from 12.0 points per game in 2019 to 22.3 points in 2020. He also added 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Grant grew into a larger role last season, though he’s 27 years old and it’s unlikely the team around him gets significantly better while he’s still in his prime. Yet, if he can continue to average around 20.0 points per game then he really could be a part of this future in Detroit.
If Detroit feels Grant isn’t a piece of the puzzle they are trying to build long-term, this offseason might be the time to trade him. Grant still has two years remaining on his contract which gives Detroit time to see how he fits next season and then can decide if Grant will be one of the building blocks.
3. Should the Pistons consider trading any of their picks?
Holding four picks in this year’s draft gives Detroit some flexibility. The No.1 pick is pretty much untouchable. But the other three could give the Pistons some leverage if they decide they want to add some future picks or package the picks in a deal alongside a player to try and get a guy who can contribute right away.
Another option is for the Pistons to package up some of these picks and try and move up in the draft to try and draft a higher valued prospect. Whatever ends up happening the lottery has put Detroit in a very good spot and gives them many different decisions to break down and consider. The future is extremely bright in Motor City.
4. Cunningham, Mobley, or Suggs?
Cade Cunningham. That’s the pick. Cunningham fits perfectly into this Detroit team. They need a gifted proven scorer from all phases on the offensive end. Cunningham has been the projected first pick for several months now and considering he plans on only having an interview with the team with the first overall pick shows how confident he and his agent are that he should be the guy that goes first. Evan Mobley and Jalen Suggs are fantastic prospects who are very talented and could become the best players in this draft but as of right now Cade Cunningham is the safest, realistic, and is the most NBA Ready of any other prospect in this draft. But up until Adam Silver announces the pick all options are still on the table.
5. Who are other notable prospects for Detroit to consider?
No. 37, 42: At No.37, Shariff Cooper is a guy who really catches the eye if he’s available. Many don’t realize before this college season Cooper was a player who was being projected right at the top of the lottery. But due to injuries and Auburn underperforming his stock dropped. When Cooper did play his stats were extremely good and you could really see the potential in his play. Cooper averaged 20.2 points and 8.1 assists per game in the games he did play in. If Detroit can land shooting guard Cade Cunningham, then follow it up with a true point guard in Shariff Cooper the Pistons could have their future backcourt in the palm of their hands.
At No.42, the 6-foot-11 freshman from North Carolina Day’Ron Sharpe would the perfect guy to get picked after two guards. Sharpe averaged 9.5 points and 7.6 rebounds per game on 51% from the field. Sharpe has the potential to be a double-double machine if the minutes are right.
No. 52: Someone who would be a steal at No.52 for the Pistons is Marcus Zegarowski from Creighton. Personally, it is very shocking that Zegarowski is a second-round projection in most mocks. This kid is can seriously play. Zegarowski was Creighton’s best overall player last season leading Creighton to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor and has incredible court vision. He is not that undersized of a guard either at 6-foot-2. Over the last two years, he has averaged 16.1 and 15.4 points per game. Detroit would get great value if he’s available in the late second round.