Wild hypothetical if the Pistons land the #1 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft

Feb 22, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0)
Feb 22, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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Trading Jalen Duren to the New Orleans Pelicans 

There will likely be All-Star level players available this offseason, so having Duren or the #1 pick as trade assets could help the Pistons land one. 

There are already rumors that the New Orleans Pelicans could trade Brandon Ingram this summer, and he’s the type of young veteran who would fit in with the Pistons core. 

He’s only 26 years old, and even though his game does have some flaws, he has shown he can be a stretch four who can get buckets all over the court. He’s a consistent scorer just entering his prime, so the Pistons could eventually lock him up and get all of his best years. 

A lineup of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Ausar Thompson, Brandon Ingram and Alexandre Sarr has a lot of appeal, as they’d be long, athletic and have three scorers surrounded by elite defenders. 

Sarr is still a teenager, so likely isn’t ready to take on full-time duties as an NBA center, so the Pistons would have to look to free agency to land a veteran or two to help his progress. 

The Detroit Pistons are high on Jalen Duren, so I don’t think they have any interest in trading him, but a prospect like Sarr could change that, as he better fits the profile of a modern NBA center and the Pistons need defense more than offense at this point. 

The Pelicans are set to lose Jonas Valanciunas in free agency this summer and may like the idea of pairing Zion Williamson with Duren in the frontcourt. Duren fits the timeline of their young core and the Pels would save some much-needed cap space. 

Would Duren plus a future pick and maybe another player (Marcus Sasser perhaps) be enough to move the needle for the Pels? Ingram has only one year on his contract after this, so it would be difficult for them to find a better offer. 

This is all a wild hypothetical of course, which would have to start with the Pistons going against 86 percent odds, but it’s something to think about, as there are questions about whether the current core is a great fit together and a lot of the answers hinge on Duren’s defense. 

If the Pistons could upgrade their defense and shooting at center and land a star wing, they’d have to at least consider it.