Detroit Pistons: Do over of 2020 NBA Draft

Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) passes the ball around Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton (0). Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) passes the ball around Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton (0). Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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Looking back, we can see a lot of things from a different perspective. Here, we are going to be Captain Hindsight and look at the 2020 NBA Draft, in which the Detroit Pistons had three picks in the top 19.

Knowing what we know now, who would they have selected?

Hypothetically, if Detroit had a second chance to make it draft picks right now, who would general manager Troy Weaver select?

Would he keep the same three? Or maybe switch it up?

Drafting 19 and 20-year-olds, and those from foreign countries, is a very inexact science.

Remember, besides seeing how all the rookies have performed, the Pistons are a different team than the the November, 2020 version, when the draft was held.

Detroit was led by two former MVPs in Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. They had signed two reserves from the Denver Nuggets, forward Jerami Grant and center Mason Plumlee, but who knew how much of a contribution they would make?

The Pistons were hoping two young players who had looked promising the previous season, forward Sekou Doumbouya and guard Svi Mykhailiuk, would continue to develop.

The November Pistons are obviously a far different team than the one playing in May.

Weaver cleaned house, only Doumbouya remains from last year’s team, and he has, mostly, been only the 9th or 10th player in the rotation.

The rookies (including second round pick Saben Lee) have done well overall.

But could the Pistons, in hindsight, have done even better?

2020 Detroit Pistons NBA Re-Draft

"Adam Silver: With the 7th pick in the NBA Draft the Detroit Pistons select:"

Tyrese Haliburton

That Tyrese Haliburton was not picked until No. 12 by Sacramento was surprising at the time of the draft, and it is no less puzzling with the season almost over.

(Actually due to a hyperextended knee, Haliburton’s season ended on May 5)

The 6-foot-5 guard out of Iowa State was considered one of the top guard prospects in the draft. More than a few mock drafts had him going to the Pistons at No. 7.

light. Related Story. Detroit Pistons: The final case for drafting Tyrese Haliburton

As we know, Detroit took Killian Hayes instead. Due to a hip injury, Hayes missed three months of the season, so no evaluation of him as a player can really be made, yet.

But Haliburton had a large body of work with the Kings,  and anyone would have to say, if graded, it would be A+.

A lock to make the first team NBA All-Rookie team, Haliburton was able to make an impact even on a guard-heavy team like Sacramento.

And do not think Haliburton has forgotten about how, on draft day, he was selected later than expected.

What has been most impressive about Haliburton is the completeness of his game for a rookie.

He can score, averaging 13 points a game (third among rookies) but also is an accomplished passer, his 5.3 assists is second-best among first-year players.

Even more impressive is the value in Haliburton’s offense.

He is shooting 47.2% from the field and 41% on three-pointers. He also is money at the foul line, nailing 85.7% of his free throws.

In the week before he got hurt, Haliburton averaged 17 points, 8.2 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.2 steals. The Kings are not much for playing defense, but he is not one of the worst defenders.

So why did Haliburton fall all the way to No. 12? There are a couple reasons.

His all-around ability might have hurt him. A combo guard, those teams looking for a pure shooter or ballhandler might have passed on him.

Some teams picking right before the Kings were obviously looking for post players, not for guards.

And Haliburton’s funky-looking shot might have made teams shy away from him. It might have worked in college, but won’t in the NBA, they thought.

Of course, they thought wrong.

Based on this season, Tyrese Haliburton would have been the best choice for Detroit.