And the first pick in the 2021 NBA Draft goes to…
The Detroit Pistons!
Congratulations Pistons fans! I’m happy for you. The first pick is really big for a team whose franchise player was Andre Drummond for most of the decade.
All signs point to Cade Cunningham being the number one selection. Although I’m not really a big college basketball guy, I know Cade’s really good. As long as Detroit doesn’t screw up his development, he’s gonna be special.
The roster beyond Cade, however, is the main reason I wanted to write this article. Detroit has quietly built a really solid young core.
Jerami Grant is obviously the guy in Detroit right now. He’s got the offense and the defense. Can he be the best player on a championship team? Absolutely not. Could he be the best player on a playoff team? Potentially, because I think the Pistons could make it next year. All in all, Jerami is a really good NBA player. (It’s cool to see him on the Olympics roster.)
I like Saddiq Bey a lot. He deserved his All-Rookie first team selection, no question about it. He’s a great shooter. I think he could be an All-Star one day. Look out for serious growth from him next season.
Isaiah Stewart also looked good this year. He brought it in the paint on both ends of the floor. He even shot 33% from three, which is super impressive for a rookie big who didn’t really shoot in college.
Killian Hayes showed flashes, especially as a playmaker. He wasn’t an efficient scorer, but that will come along. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in a fully healthy season.
Hami Diallo showed me this season that he’s more than just a dunker. He brings great energy. He’ll develop even further in coming seasons.
Josh Jackson breathed some life into his career this season. He wasn’t very efficient this year, as he was towards the bottom of the league in stats like true shooting % and PER. His shot selection was iffy, but considering he had total freedom in Detroit that’s not surprising. In order to really see how good he is, he’s gonna have to play in a more controlled environment. Playoff contention in 2022 for the Pistons would shorten that leash.
Frank Jackson is another player I like. For one reason or another, I decided to mention him in my preseason award prediction article as a dude who could make some solid improvement this year. That was pretty random at the time, but believe it or not, I was right. Frank was a really solid player off the bench for the Pistons this season. His efficiency jumped significantly this year (I’m linking you to his Basketball Reference page because I don’t feel like typing out all of his percentage increases). Dwayne Casey called him a keeper in an interview, and I agree. He seems to have found a home in Detroit.
Despite only playing 30 minutes together, a lineup of Killian, Frank, Josh, Saddiq, and Isaiah outscored opponents by 32.9 points per 100 possessions, which was far and away the best out of any Pistons lineup. That’s a really small sample size, but it’s still a positive sign for Detroit’s young core.
All in all, I like Detroit’s roster a lot. After a super mediocre 2010’s, things are looking bright for the Detroit Pistons. I’m here for it.