Should Detroit Pistons draft for talent or need outside of top-3?

Detroit Pistons Sekou Doumbouya. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Sekou Doumbouya. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pitons are hoping to land a top-3 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft and they have a roughly 40 percent chance of doing so.

Detroit has the third-worst record in the NBA, so will have maximum odds for a top-4 pick but could also drop as far as 7th in the worst-case scenario.

One of the biggest questions around any NBA Draft is whether a team should pick for overall talent and potential or grab a guy who fills a need, and this question becomes bigger the farther a team falls.

Luckily, if the Pistons do land a top-3 pick, they won’t have go worry about it, as Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero all have high-ceiling potential and also fill a current need.

The Pistons are also a rebuilding team, so logic says to just take the best guy available with whatever pick they get and let the positions and need sort itself out.

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But swinging for the fences on a high-ceiling but risky player is how the Pistons ended up with Sekou Doumbouya, so would they have been better off going after a more known commodity that might not have as much potential?

On the flip side, drafting Luke Kennard (who filled a need) over Donovan Mitchell’s potential has turned out to be a huge misstep for the Pistons.

There are two guys in the upcoming 2022 NBA Draft that symbolize this choice.

Detroit Pistons: Drafting for potential

Let’s say the Pistons do end up with the 6th or even 7th pick. There are still plenty of guys in this range who could help, ranging from high-ceiling mysteries to guys who may have less potential but are almost locks to be impact players.

Shaedon Sharpe is the perfect example. If the Pistons wanted to roll the dice on potential, he probably has more of it than anyone outside of the top three.

However, he hasn’t played this season so his potential is all theoretical at this point. He does fill a need at shooting guard, but could come into the NBA as much rawer prospect than some of the others in this range and scouts will have very little to look at.

He could end up being the next elite scoring shooting guard in the NBA, or could be a guy who just looks great against high school competition (which is all we have seen so far) and is a huge flop.

The Detroit Pistons aren’t in a position to “waste” a pick, so they need to nail this one, which might make other prospects more appealing.

Drafting for need

The Pistons’ two biggest needs are a shooting guard who can actually shoot and a big man who is a rim runner who blocks shots and catches lobs as a counterpart to Isaiah Stewart.

A guy like Jalen Duren would fill a direct need, as he is a good shot blocker who projects as the type of bouncy big the Pistons need.

But his ceiling isn’t nearly as high as a guy like Sharpe, who is a riskier prospect but one that has more potential overall than a guy like Duren.

Duren fills a need and is the type of guy who will almost certainly have a long career in the NBA as a role player.

These players are just two examples but there are plenty of other guys in this draft that represent the high-ceiling/low floor vs. high floor/low ceiling argument in this draft range.

The Detroit Pistons need an impact player from this Draft, but I am a gambler by nature and would much rather see them role the dice on a potential star than pick a lower-ceiling prospect just because he is safer and fills a need.

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