Garrett Brown ’22: The 2020 NBA draft showed where future stars would go to light up the league. The Detroit Pistons made several unexpected trades to acquire additional picks in the draft. The Pistons selected Killian Hayes, a very promising guard that shoots the ball efficiently and passes to his teammates well, with their seventh overall draft pick. Ryan Petkov ’22, an avid Pistons fan, seems excited for the team’s future with Hayes.
“I don’t know much about [Hayes] considering he was in an international league. But when I saw his stats, I learned that he can pass the ball very well and was a good shooter in his last year before going pro. I think he can fit with the Pistons well, but I think he will take a few years to develop into a solid role player,” Petkov said.
After their original seventh overall pick, the Pistons sent a protected future first-round pick and their 2021 second-round pick to the Houston Rockets for veteran forward Trevor Ariza, the 16th pick in the 2020 draft, and $4,600,000. With that 16th pick in the draft, Detroit selected Isaiah Stewart, a power forward/center out of Washington. After spending just a year at Washington, Stewart showed that he scores the ball well, rebounds better than most players, and performs well on the defensive end too.
“I think he’s a very good pick because his [college] stats were great. He’s a good fit, as the Pistons will need him to fill some bench minutes,” Petkov said.
The biggest shocker of the night, however, occurred when the Pistons, Nets, and Clippers organized a three-team trade. Detroit received the 19th pick in the 2020 draft and small forward/shooting guard Rodney Mcgruder while giving up Luke Kennard to the Los Angeles Clippers. With this pick, the Pistons took power forward Saddiq Bey from Villanova. Bey presented a strong scoring case to the Pistons management. Averaging 16 points per game on 47.7% field goal percentage and 45% three point percentage, Bey shows a promising future for Detroit.
“I haven’t seen highlights of him, but a key thing that I saw was his 45% shooting for three… I don’t think he’ll play this season or maybe even next season but if he can prove that he’s a consistent shooter in the league then he’ll get big minutes,” Petkov said.
Just when fans thought the team finished all of their trades, they instead managed to negotiate for a second-round pick for this draft. After giving up cash considerations, Detroit ended up receiving young center Tony Bradley and the 38th pick that Detroit used to draft point guard Saben Lee from Vanderbilt. Lee looks like a very efficient and frequent scorer. After averaging 18.6 points per game on 48.3% field goal efficiency, Lee looks like a potential steal in the draft.
“His stats are actually really good for a second round draft pick. I don’t know if it’s because of the competition or something, but I underestimated his points per game. It’s good that we drafted a point guard, too,” Petkov said.
All of these prospects and unexpected deals look very good for the Pistons and their new general manager Troy Weaver heads into a rebuild with lots of promise. Besides Luke Kennard, Detroit gave up a very small amount for the things they obtained in return. Compared to drafts of the past, the players selected by Weaver possess the potential to change the team for the better and rebuild the Pistons’ franchise.