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Pistons Setting up for Successful Offseason

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Days leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft, it seemed like a quiet draft night for the Detroit Pistons was on the horizon.  Following the Tony Snell-Jon Leuer swap the night before, things got a little more interesting with an additional first round pick added to the mix.  Piston fans could not expect the whirlwind that was draft night.  After Sekou Doumbouya fell to them at 15, their plan of attack for the rest of the night had to change.  This led to them trading out of No. 30 to stockpile some assets, moving up from No. 45 to No. 37 and trading back in again at No. 57.  After all was said and done, there are three new Pistons and some organizational direction to assess.

The French Renaissance

For the majority of the pre-draft process, Doumbouya had been projected as a top 10 pick.  Ed Stefanski and Dwane Casey went to his workout together, but did not think they had a chance of him dropping to their pick.  He started playing professionally at 16 in the second-tier France league.  After two seasons there, he moved up to the first division, playing one season for Limoges.  He only played eight games in his lone season, but showed flashes of his enormous potential in limited minutes.  He shot 55% percent from the field over 15 minutes per game.

The new Piston was able to showcase his talents more when playing for the French National Team.  He helped lead the team to the gold medal in the under-18 division.  Doumbouya was the team’s leading scorer and the youngest player on the team.  He averaged 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, leading to an all-tournament selection alongside teammate and fellow NBA player Frank Ntilikina.

This is the biggest swing Detroit has taken in the draft in quiet some time.  There were many picks available who could play for the team and make an impact immediately.  Some fans have vocally rooted for this.  While the organization has been open about wanting to build around the core of Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, that does not mean they should avoid other opportunities.  Sekou Doumbouya will take time to develop into what he ultimately will be.  He is raw and the youngest player in the draft.  But he is with the correct coaching staff, men who have worked with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Pascal Siakam.  Doumbouya has made it clear he is happy to be in Detroit and is excited to learn.  This could give Motown the chance to build alongside their current core for the future.

Second Round Tornado

After this season, the Pistons only had one second round pick to their name over the next five years.  Trading out of No. 30 changed that quickly, as Cleveland sent four future second round picks to the Pistons for the draft rights to Kevin Porter Jr.  Detroit quickly used two of them to move up from No. 45 to 37 to draft Lithuanian sharpshooter Deividas Sirvydis.  Scouts compared him to Luke Kennard but taller, which will be promising for the Pistons when he eventually joins the team following his tenure with his current team, Rytas Vilnius.

This was not it for Detroit however. They used another acquired pick to move back into the draft to take Tennessee point guard Jordan Bone at 57.  Bone is a hyper, athletic guard who took a major step forward in his junior year.  The former Volunteer looks to be an immediate contributor for a team looking for depth at backup point guard.  He will look to add some pop to the bench if the team is unable to retain Ish Smith while learning under Reggie Jackson in the last year of his contract.  The Pistons still picked up one last second round pick that will add to their assets moving forward should any other trades arise.

Work Ahead

The fan base is divided on the overall results of the draft.  However, the roster definitely improved.  Sekou Doumbouya has the potential to alter the direction of the franchise for years to come. This pick also shows the front office is willing to take a risk to build something special.  Sirvydis is a nice draft-and-stash prospect who fans can look forward to watching.  Bone may be the backup point guard spark fans have been waiting to see on their team.  He looks ready to contribute immediately but will also be on a two-way contract, giving the Pistons’ roster flexibility.

Detroit has limited cap space and has never proven itself to be a free agent destination.  Building through the draft has always been of the utmost importance for them.  After this draft, they may just need a couple smart signings for a return trip to the postseason.

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