A year after drafting Cade Cunningham first overall, Pistons GM Troy Weaver is in a favorable position with the fifth overall pick on Thursday: he doesn't have to consider the fit. Basketball wise, Cunningham fits with anyone. Weaver said Monday the Pistons will select the "best player for the long haul" and won't get "hung up on position."
"There’s not a player that we’re looking at that we don’t see (as a) fit with Cade," Weaver said. "His versatility lends to whoever we draft being able to fit seamlessly with him. Drafting him made it easier in not having to worry so much about fit."
Compare that with the Kings, who seem boxed out of drafting Jaden Ivey fourth overall with two clear point guards already on their roster in De'Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell. Ivey is widely considered the fourth best player in the draft, but he said Monday he hasn't had any contact with the Kings, all but confirming reports that he doesn't want to land in Sacramento.
He sounds keen on landing in Detroit. Ivey said he's watched "a lot of" film of the Pistons "and the pieces they have" in approach of the draft, notably their "young talent." He said the Pistons are one of two teams he worked out for, along with the Magic, who pick No. 1. Asked specifically about meshing with a ball-dominant guard like Cunningham, Ivey basically echoed Weaver: not a problem.
"Part of my game that a lot of people don’t see is that I can play off the ball, too. I can play off the ball or on the ball. I feel like I could complement Cade a little bit just with his ability to score the ball. I could play off the ball and just read how the offense is going. Obviously I could be a lead guard, but I’m a baller, so if you need me on the ball, if you need me off the ball, whatever it is to help the team win I can do," Ivey said.
The Kings appear to be homing in on Iowa wing Keegan Murray. So long as another team doesn't trade up to No. 4 -- the Pacers at No. 6 and the Knicks at No. 11 might be the biggest threats -- Ivey should be on the board for the Pistons at No. 5. They've also reportedly had trade talks with the Kings, with Ivey as their target.
This might explain why Weaver scoffed at draft prognostications Monday. It was just a few weeks ago that Ivey, per reports, wasn't the Pistons' guy.
"You can never predict a board," Weaver said. "That’s why I’m a little agitated with so much reporting trying to find out everybody’s pick right away. It’s ridiculous to me. You gotta be prepared for anything to happen because if you don't and someone drops that you haven’t done your work on, then you’re stuck. So we anticipate anything happening above us."
If Ivey drops to the Pistons, it sure looks like a good fit.