The 2022 NBA Draft is one week away. After falling in the lottery, the Detroit Pistons are set up to draft with the fifth overall pick. Unlike last year, GM Troy Weaver and the Pistons’ front office do not have an easy choice to make.
Cade Cunningham with the first overall pick in 2021 was easy. Weaver had his choice of the top prospects in last year’s draft. Cunningham was the consensus number one choice for well over a year at that point. This year, the Pistons do not have that luxury.
Weaver and the Pistons have to be patient. The front office needs to wait and see how the draft board falls before they are on the clock.
With the fifth pick, the Pistons likely miss out on the three big men who headline the draft class. Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith and Duke’s Paolo Banchero are all expected to be taken with the top three picks. While the team is likely to miss out on the three big men, there is still good talent on the board for Detroit.
Iowa forward Keegan Murray, Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, Arizona wing Bennedict Mathurin and Kentucky wing Shaedon Sharpe could all be available when the Pistons pick at five. Unlike with Cunningham last year, there is no consensus choice amongst these prospects. Each one offers a unique skillset with varying projected floors and ceilings.
With no obvious choice in this year’s draft, I took the opportunity to ask the Woodward Sports staff who they want the Pistons to pick in the draft and why.
(Note: Some responses have been edited for clarity.)
Rogelio Castillo – Detroit Tigers beat writer
It would provide another dynamic shooter for a team that needs more offense on the wing.
Thomas Chavez – Detroit Pistons writer
It might be an awkward fit at first, but I think that Ivey is the ideal backcourt partner to pair with Cunningham in the long run. He is the most explosive player in the draft, and he gets to the rim with ease. He has steadily improved as a shooter throughout his two seasons with Purdue. Ivey has flashed some playmaking chops as well. His explosive and pace-pushing style would complement Cunningham’s more surgical and patient play style.
Ryan Ermanni – Host of The Bottom Line
The best available player on the board potentially solidifies the backcourt for the next decade-plus.
Sean Murphy – Content Creator and Social Media Manager
With the headlining big men coming off the board in the top three, it’s apparent Detroit will have their selection of the top guards in this draft. And there’s no player that has as good of a balance of upside and floor as Jaden Ivey. His ability to score the basketball and make plays for himself and others would take pressure off of Cade, and his shooting would compliment Cunningham. It might not be the best “team fit” for what’s available but Detroit definitely needs to draft for talent. And if there’s one thing these Pistons need, it’s people who can put the ball in the basket. Jaden Ivey can certainly do that.
If we pass on a Ja Morant clone I will hurt for the next 15 years. I would love to pair him with Cade and have the most dominate Guards in the league.
Anyone but Ivey
Neal Ruhl – Host of Big D Energy and All-around good guy
I want someone who is elite at doing something that involves the ball going through the net. Be it a shooter, passer, finisher, whatever. I don’t want to hear someone is an “athletic driver” that doesn’t shoot well or finish well.
Eazy – Host of Woodward Heavyweights
His 6’7″ frame allows him to defend multiple positions. He shoots very well from the three and can play off-ball to complement Cade’s playmaking abilities. I’d also note our conference champions have another 6’6″ – 6’7″ SG who can shoot the 3 in Jaylen Brown & it seems to be a winning recipe.
Andrew Jonna – Junior Video Editor and Social Media Contributor
His three-point shooting.
The Pistons need an efficient wing scorer and Keegan Murray is a 6″8 wing who scored over 23 per game in college on over 55% shooting from the floor and almost 40% from 3. Jerami Grant, Saddiq Bey, and Killian Hayes were all very inefficient from the floor last season.
Jeff Iafrate – On-Air Talent
I completely understand the risk, but I want Troy Weaver to swing for the fences. Shaedon Sharpe is the ideal prospect in the backcourt I see with Cade Cunningham. His scoring upside with the athleticism makes me intrigued. I could see why Troy would shy away. But with how hard it is to obtain stars in free agency in Detroit, I’m taking the chance.
I like the unknown and upside of this kid. He’s got the Biggest wingspan, he can defend. Let’s take a chance we might hit it big!
Ryan – Video Editor
His potential is through the roof.
Chris Platte – Intern
Keegan Murray seems like a safe role player. Detroit doesn’t sign stars. They can sign role players, so swing for the fences! Especially given Coach Dwane Casey’s history of developing talent, and considering you are drafting at a slot where you historically can get a star, a bust or a safe role player. Regardless, with Troy Weaver’s eye for talent, I trust whoever he picks.
Sharpe or Ivey
Justin – Video/Graphics
These are the guys that I keep hearing everyone talk about the most around the office. Honestly, though, I just want us to pick whoever would be the best fit to give Cunningham the support he needs. So if neither of those two guys is the best to take on that kind of supporting role, then I want neither. I want whoever will give Cade the best chance for playing at his best.
Bold Prediction: Chet Holmgren
Nick Leach – Head of Social
I love having a bold take and why not discuss the chance of Chet slipping all the way back to the Pistons at five. He could be a key ingredient that the Pistons need and could instantly make them a top 5 team in the East if paired up with Cade.
(Featured Image Credit: Nikos Frazier / USA TODAY NETWORK)
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