Detroit Pistons: Grading the 2020 NBA Draft

Detroit Pistons first round pick Killian Hayes
Detroit Pistons first round pick Killian Hayes /
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Isaiah Stewart
Mar 14, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Washington Huskies forward Isaiah Stewart (33). Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 16 Isaiah Stewart

That the Detroit Pistons need a center is not a secret. The only center on its roster currently is late season pickup Justin Patton, who is prone to injury. If Detroit can not re-sign Christian Wood, or decide to trade Blake Griffin, they really would be a donut team.

The trade for DeWayne Dedmon helps, but he is certainly not a long-term solution.

So after taking a guard at No. 7, it was to no one surprise the Pistons went for a big guy at No. 16. It was the big guy they took, that was the surprise.

The trade to get the No. 16 overall selection was a virtual steal for the Pistons. They took advantage of a cap-stretched Houston team to get veteran Trevor Ariza (do not get too attached to him) and Portland’s first-rounder for a Pistons’ heavily-protected 2025 first-round choice.

If the pick conveys in five years, that means the team is doing well and no one will care. If the team  is still doing badly; no one making this deal will probably still be employed in Detroit.

With No. 16, the Pistons went with 6-foot-9, 243-pound Isaiah Stewart out of the University of Washington.

The Stewart pick was considered a reach by draft experts. In Hoops Hype’s final aggregate of 12 different mock drafts, Stewart was projected to go 25th overall. Outside of an outlier that had him at 14, none of the other 11 drafts had him going higher then 23rd.

The biggest mark against Stewart as a center is that … well … is that he is a real center.

In today’s three-point happy NBA, center’s are looked upon as really tall shooting guards. Think Anthony Davis, not Andre Drommond.

Stewart is a traditional center. He posts down low and scores most of his points inside the paint. And Stewart was good at being a center for the Huskies. He averaged 17 points and 8.8 rebounds. He scored on 59% of his two-point shots. Stewart took only a handful of three-point tries, and was not good at it, making just 25%.

Defensively, Stewart used his 7-foot-4 wingspan to block 2.1 shots a game. He has a sturdy body type, which makes him a space-eater in the paint, leaving little room for opponent’s to establish position inside.

His main attribute is strength and a very high motor. You will not see him making spectacular alley-oop dunks but you will always see Stewart hustling.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: the Big 5 candidates to play Center this year. light

One thing to remember is that Stewart is very young. he just turned 19 in May, so there should be a lot of upside to him. Weaver served with Washington coach Mike Hopkins at Syracuse, when both were assistants to Jim Boeheim, so he might have some inside info on Stewart that caused him to draft him higher than most people expected.

On the face of it, the Stewart pick appears based on need. Weaver made the decision he had to shore up the center position for the future.

Stewart was a stretch at 16, but the Pistons did not want to take a chance some center-needy team would jump up in the draft, and get him.

After Jalen Smith was taken at No. 10 by the Suns, Stewart was probably as highly-rated as any true big man left on the board.

Stewart is still only 19, so his game can develop over the coming years. As for now, it is seen as a reach. Not a far reach, and a reach at a position of need, but still a reach.

Grade: C+