Jun 23, 2022 - Sports

Axios Detroit's NBA mock draft

Illustration of basketball as a crystal ball

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Pistons flipped their best asset Wednesday ahead of an important draft.

Driving the news: Jerami Grant was traded to the Trailblazers, but not for a 2022 first-round pick as fans had hoped.

  • The Pistons got the Bucks' 2025 first-round pick and a big cap relief, which increases their chances at landing a top free agent.
  • They can also now cover up this weird mural.

State of play: Led by last year's No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham, the Pistons are looking to add talent to its young core.

  • But with the fifth pick, Weaver admits there's greater uncertainty this time around.

The intrigue: Joe and Sam are alternating making picks 1-4 and then both giving their choice for Detroit at 5.

  1. Orlando Magic (Sam): Jabari Smith, Auburn. The 6-foot-10 forward already looks like a star. He shot 42% from three last year and is the sure thing that the DeVos-owned franchise desperately needs.
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder (Joe): Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga. His beanpole frame (7-feet, 195 pounds) is a concern, but his combination of shooting and defense is worth the risk.
  3. Houston Rockets (Sam): Paolo Banchero, Duke. The versatile Italian scorer will have fun playing with flashy guard Jalen Green, whose comments about not wanting to play in Detroit have sparked a rivalry between fan bases.
  4. Sacramento Kings (Joe): Keegan Murray, Iowa. Let's hope the Kings bungle another draft and take the 21-year-old, leaving Detroit with better options.

Sam's pick for No. 5: Jaden Ivey, Purdue. He's not just the most exciting player available, he's also got Detroit ties. Ivey is the missing piece to a confident young backcourt Weaver has been working to build.

Joe's pick: Bennedict Mathurin, Arizona. Weaver can't miss with either of these two, but I like Mathurin's athleticism and shooting.

What else we're watching: Will any Spartans or Wolverines get drafted?

  • And draft-night fashion choices are always fun. Don't forget Cade's buffs.

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