At 20-52, the Detroit Pistons finished last season with the second-worst record in the league.
Thanks to the NBA’s reformatted approach, Detroit entered the draft lottery with the same odds as the Houston Rockets, who finished a league-worst 17-55.
The Orlando Magic also sported 14 percent odds for the top pick, but it was the Pistons’ number that got pulled first.
Detroit took 6-foot-8 swingman Cade Cunningham with the first overall selection, and the former Oklahoma State Cowboy immediately became the franchise centerpiece.
The 19-year-old impressed in his only season at OSU, averaging 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game, making 40 of his three-point attempts, too.
He continued to impress during the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League.
— Backcourt Violation (@backcourtv) August 25, 2021
This move, rightfully, takes all the headlines in Detroit.
But the team still needs to make a few more before another Pistons playoff push.
2. Package Wings For A Shooter
Detroit ranked in the bottom third of the league (22nd) in three-point percentage last season (35.1 percent).
The Pistons then saw their best shooter last season, Wayne Ellington, walk in free agency.
Trey Lyles and Olynyk help, but the Detroit needs more.
The team re-signed Hamidou Diallo, but while he netted a career-best 39 percent of his threes for the Pistons last season, he has traditionally been below league average from deep.
The same is true for swingman Josh Jackson, another former top-5 selection in the draft, who likely stands outside the rotation at present.
The Pistons should consider packaging those two, with future draft assets and maybe another former first-round pick in Sekou Doumbouya, to land a knock-down shooter who would properly space the floor for Cunningham and Killian Hayes.
1. Add A Traditional Point Guard
The Pistons will likely keep the ball in the hands of Cunningham and Hayes next season, but having a reliable, veteran point guard to organize the offense might prove more beneficial for these two building blocks.
The best Pistons teams of the past featured a frontline point guard.
Cunningham might very well develop into a playmaker.
But to put that responsibility on the 19-year-old might be asking too much.
Hayes, meanwhile, needs to develop a consistent three-point shot.
In addition, Hayes must improve his handle with his right hand in order to be an effective point guard.
Adding a tried-and-true point guard might unlock this Pistons squad in a way similar to what happened for the Phoenix Suns after Chris Paul‘s arrival.
A true point guard could further the career of Jerami Grant, as well.
Grant averaged a career-best 22.3 points last season.
He was a borderline All-Star and runner up for the league’s Most Improved Player award.
The 27-year-old returns to Detroit after having won a gold medal with Team USA this summer.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) August 14, 2021
A traditional point guard would help improve last season’s dismal offensive rating (107.6, 26th).
Also, it would take the pressure off the team’s young talent.
With an exciting young core that includes Saddiq Bey, Cunningham, and others, the Pistons should look to supplement the roster with a pass-first point guard.
Moves like these will only help in Detroit’s quest for another playoff berth.