Should Detroit Pistons avoid taking a guard in first round? -

Should Detroit Pistons avoid taking a guard in first round?

The Detroit Pistons need talent, their record says as such. However, should they simply look for the best frontcourt player, since they already have Cade Cunningham at guard, even if it means passing on the ‘best available player’.

For the second year in a row, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets has reportedly been voted NBA Most Valuable Player. The other two finalists were the 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo.

That Jokic won is not the issue here (unlike in Milwaukee or Philadelphia, who are probably outraged). However, the fact that the top three players in the league are either centers or power forwards is something for Pistons fans to note:

In the upcoming NBA draft, Detroit, going into the May 17 lottery, could end up anywhere between first (yay) or seventh (boo) as they had the third-worst record. The first three players generally rated as the best are all …. either centers or power forwards. Good for Detroit if they end up in the top three.

However, what if the Pistons slide out of the top three (they have a 52.1% of being in the top four according to Tankathon)? The consensus fourth-best player is Jaden Ivey of Purdue, who is a guard.

Now, let’s play the game ‘What if?’

What if the Pistons get the No. 4 overall pick (remember, except for last year, Detroit has never moved up in the lottery with its own pick, ever). Now, following the ‘Take the best player available’ trope, the Pistons would then grab Ivey.

However, you have Cade Cunningham as the lead guard already, and maybe for the next 10 years. Do you expend a top four pick on someone to be basically Cunningham’s caddy?

And where does that leave Killian Hayes? The guy was picked seventh overall two years ago. If you draft another guard, you are basically saying you are not counting on him to develop for the future.

If things go as Pistons management hopes, this year’s draft is the last time the Pistons will be in  position to take a high pick. Do you want to use it on a guard? Premier frontcourt players are much harder to come by than guards.

Should Detroit take Iowa’s Keegan Murray, Baylor’s Jeremy Suchan, both forwards, or Memphis center Jalen Duren in their last best chance for a promising young big?

Heck, if the Pistons somehow make the playoffs next season, they won’t even have a first-round pick (it goes to Oklahoma City as part of the Christian Wood trade). So this could be really their last chance to upgrade.

Once you get past the big three of Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith, the pool of bigs takes a big drop. No scouting service had Ivey rated below any other players.

So, if not in the top three, should Detroit go for a lower rated player to get a forward or center? Is that smart?

Well, the Warriors passed on LaMelo Ball for center James Wiseman two years ago. That has not worked out well. On the other side, last year Toronto passed on the higher-rated Jalen Suggs for the bigger Scottie Barnes, that worked out, as Barnes was named Rookie of the Year.

Things certainly get a bit dicey for the Pistons if they are in the No. 4 thru 7 range. You don’t want to reach simply because of the position, but you also do not want to pass up a chance to upgrade your frontline for years to come.

If Detroit can land in the top three, it make things a lot simpler. However, if they end up farther back in the order (they can not do worse than seventh), than the battle between need and best player available will be waged at the Henry Ford Center and with the fans.

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