Detroit Pistons: 5 best options for pick No. 1

Cade Cunningham should be the primary draft target for the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham should be the primary draft target for the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Evan Mobley Detroit Pistons
Southern California Trojans forward Evan Mobley (4). Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Pistons go big in NBA draft

Everyone talks about how the NBA has turned into a small-ball league. However, in the voting for League MVP, the two top vote-getters were centers Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid.

Pistons general manager Troy Weaver openly admits he likes centers. At one point in last off-season, he had five centers on the roster.

The last time the Pistons had the No. 1 pick in the draft, they did select a center, Bob Lanier. Maybe Detroit continues this pattern.

One big man stands above the others: USC center Evan Mobley.

He stands 7-0 tall but is a rail-thin 215 pounds. One would assume the just turned 20-year-old will fill out his body.

Mobley was named the PAC-10 Conference Player of the Year as a freshman with the Trojans. He helped them to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Mobley is much better skill-wise for the modern NBA game than James Wiseman, who was drafted second last year.

Extremely mobile, he is a rim-protector but can guard anywhere from the 2 to a 5 in a pinch. He also made the PAC-12 All-Defense team.

He is not a great outside shooter, making just 30 percent of his three-point attempts at USC, but he has potential to improve. He is actually pretty good at the mid-range shot, he just needs to extend his shooting range.

He can run on the fast break and be a matchup nightmare in transition. He could, with his size, ball-handling ability and shot, play power forward.

Mobley and Mason Plumlee could be a fun ‘Twin Towers’ for opposing defenses. It would also provide insurance if Isaiah Stewart struggles with a move to the power forward spot.

Might be strange to have a 6-8 center and 7-foot power forward. But something similar won an NBA title for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s with Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons’ Isaiah Stewart might compare best to Wes Unseld. light

Mobley’s biggest weakness is his frame. He will never be Shaquille O’Neal-sized. Defensively, a meaty low-post player will give him a lot of trouble.

His ability to score down low in the NBA might also be a problem, as he could be pushed out of the post.

However, center prospects like Mobley do not come down the pike all the time, particularly for a team like Detroit. If Troy Weaver does not pull the trigger on Mobley, the Pistons may never get the chance for years to get a young, potentially all-star level center, who fits the modern game.

With Houston having Christian Wood, the most likely destination for Mobley is the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 3 pick. They let go of center Andre Drummond when they realized, you know, so they could use a big man.

But the Cavs might prefer Cade Cunningham. Certainly would give juice to a franchise that is going nowhere. Cleveland had high expectations for last season, that came crashing down.

If Weaver wants Mobley, and he thinks Houston will pass on him, a little trade with the Cavaliers could be in order:

Osman is a shooter, so Detroit could use him.

Cleveland is in the same division as the Pistons, so Weaver had better be right that Mobley is better than Cunningham. Or, more likely, that the odds of getting a big man with Mobley’s skills are so rare, they have to take him.

Odds of occurring: 15/1