The NHL and NBA draft lotteries are disgusting. They do nothing to stop tanking. They make for lame TV. They have badly damaged the credibility of the leagues in towns like Detroit where aspirations have been incinerated for the sake of a gimmick.
The organizations involved can’t afford to think that way, though.
They must turn misfortune into progress. How? These are suggestions for the Red Wings and Pistons.
The Red Wings have three primary needs: A second-line center, a 30-plus goal scorer and more grit. Picking ninth overall probably will preclude the Red Wings from landing the center. Also, free agency and trades don’t figure to be in play. Genuine first- and second line centers simply aren’t on the market. But the Red Wings can address scoring by pursuing Ottawa winger Alex DeBrincat. He’s twice scored 40 or more goals. He’s small, but gritty and would thrive on the top line with Dylan Larkin. On a team struggling with puck possession, DeBrincat would add a Corsi usually in the high 50s. He’s just 25, was raised in Farmington Hills and didn’t fit in as expected after the Senators acquired him for three draft picks, including seventh overall, as part of the Blackhawks’ sell off. The Red Wings could essentially give the Senators their draft capital back. It would be a terrific trade for the Red Wings, assuming they could sign DeBrincat, a restricted free agent, long term, which would be likely.
The Pistons’ primary target this summer should be Atlanta forward John Collins. He’s a 6-9, 25-year-old combo forward, who has gradually gotten lost in the Trae Young realm that has often overwhelmed the Hawks. His production is down, but Collins remains a high-energy dawg on both ends of the floor. He is a 55 percent career shooter, 35.6 percent from 3-point range. He has scored 20 points per game in a season and was a top producer on a team that reached the Eastern Conference finals as recently as 2021. He is signed for $25 million and $26 million the next two seasons, with a player option the third year. Collins won’t come cheaply. Without question, the Pistons would have to give up the fifth overall draft pick, and perhaps a future No.1, in the deal. But truthfully, it’s highly unlikely the Pistons will acquire a player as gifted as Collins in the draft. They need him to help accelerate the progress of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.