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Pistons, NBA Draft

Active NBA Draft signals clear direction for Pistons’ future

After a hectic Wednesday night with too many trades to keep track, Detroit Pistons fans finally have what they were for looking all last decade: a clear identity and direction for the future.

New Pistons general manager Troy Weaver made a few splashes in his first draft running the Pistons, making trades to get the 16th and 19th picks, as well as trading into the second round to get the 38th pick.

Pistons fans were expecting to only have one new player coming out of this draft, but ended getting four quality pieces who can contribute for the young Pistons in their first few years.

Killian Hayes, Pistons, NBA Draft

Killian Hayes: Point Guard of the Future

Pistons fans were ecstatic with Weaver’s first pick with the franchise, as he selected French point guard Killian Hayes at No. 7.

Draft experts like Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer have spoken highly of Hayes for months now, as he might have the most potential out of anyone in this draft class.

From an offensive perspective, his game is tailor-made for today’s NBA: He looks incredibly shifty on his step-backs, has great vision when driving to the rim while also not shying away from contact, and he has a beautiful floater that should translate well in today’s game.

While draft experts have called him left-hand dominant and have criticized his efficiency from the 3-point arc, Hayes boasts an 84% mark from the free-throw line over 52 games overseas.

That percentage should excite Pistons fans, as free-throw percentage tends to correlate better to 3-point success in the NBA than college and overseas 3-point percentage.

If he can get to the line at the next level and that jump shot gets a bit more consistent, he should be one of the more talented offensive point guards the Pistons have had in a long time.

Hayes is also not a turnstyle on defense like some young point guards. He’s not a lockdown defender by any means, but he rotates well on the back side and reads passing lanes incredibly well for a 19-year-old.

It’s also important to note that Hayes is good friends with fellow Frenchmen and talented Pistons forward Sekou Doumbouya.

He said pre-draft that he wanted to play with Doumbouya, and if the duo can mesh well on offense and provide energy on defense, Pistons fans should be ready to embrace the French Revolution.

Troy Weaver wasn’t done yet

Pistons fans would have been satisfied with just coming away with Hayes, but Weaver had an aggressive night to acquire more picks. Detroit struck a deal with the Houston Rockets to get the No. 16 pick along with Trevor Ariza for a protected first-round pick.

With that 16th pick, the Pistons drafted center Isaiah Stewart out of Washington, who Sam Vecenie of The Athletic says is a big man who plays with a ton of effort:

There might not be a higher-motor player in the 2020 NBA Draft. And he combines that motor with a tendency to play mean and with a high degree of toughness. He’s not going to give anyone an inch out on the floor.

Stewart is not going to be a star big man in this league, but with his high motor, ability to create space down low, and a decent looking jumper, he should be able to contribute for the Pistons in a bench role this season.

At No. 19, Saddiq Bey, a 6-foot-8 wing out of Villanova, checks every box to qualify as a 3-and-D wing who can shine in any rotation.

While the Pistons had to trade away starting guard Luke Kennard to get that 19th pick, Bey’s length on defense, combined with being able to consistently knock down triples consistently (shot 45% last season, along with 76.9% from the free throw line) can translate at the NBA level.

If Bey can knock down NBA treys at an efficient level while stifling opposing wings on the other ends, Pistons fans won’t miss Kennard for too long.

With their final draft pick of 2020 (No. 38), the Pistons selected Saben Lee out of Vanderbilt and signed him to a two-way contract

Lee’s jumper needs work, but he is one of the speediest guards in the draft who drives to the rim with tenacity and finishes through contact beautifully.

Out of the four picks, Lee is the biggest project out of the bunch. But as a second-round pick, he will exceed his value if he keeps improving and establishes himself as the backup point guard in a few years.

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After Wednesday’s draft, Troy Weaver has a clear vision for this franchise: embracing the youth movement and prioritizing guys who play defense and have clear strengths on offense that can translate well at the next level.

Weaver quickly got back to work on Thursday, trading Tony Snell and Khyri Thomas to the Atlanta Hawks for Dewayne Dedmon, a defensive-minded big man. This trade opens up minutes on the wings for the young players on the roster. Plus, even with Stewart and Dedmon aboard (if Dedmon even sticks around), there’s still a priority to re-sign Christian Wood.

Pistons fans can finally be excited about the future of this team for the first time in a long time. It may be a long rebuild, but if these young guys can jell well together, this Detroit team could be exciting soon.