Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver will have multiple viable options with the fifth pick in tonight’s draft (8 pm, ABC, ESPN).
The only Weaver players can likely cross off his list are power forwards Jabari Smith (Auburn) and Paolo Banchero (Duke) and center Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga). They are the consensus top three picks, expected to go, in some order, to Orlando, Oklahoma City and Houston.
After that, the draft gets unpredictable.
The Pistons, chances are, will pick either Keegan Murray, Jaden Ivey, Bennedict Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe or Dyson Daniels.
One most likely will be off the board, going No. 4 to the Sacramento Kings.
Here are the five most likely possibilities for the Pistons at No. 5:
The safest pick
Keegan Murray, 6-8 forward, Iowa
He is the most linked player to Detroit in mock drafts and probably the safest selection. The Pistons need to boost an offense that ranked 28th in scoring and Murray was the fourth-leading scorer in the country, averaging 23.5 points and shooting 39.8 percent from 3-point distance. He was one of the most-improved players in the nation as a sophomore. He has the size and athleticism to guard wings and big men, but defense is not considered his strength. Murray turns 22 on Aug. 19, older than other prospects, but Weaver said age is not a concern.
The riskiest pick
Shaedon Sharpe, 6-5 shooting guard, Kentucky
The nation’s top-rated prep player entering his senior year, Sharpe has tremendous potential and upside. But he hasn’t played against top competition or any competition since last fall after reclassifying and enrolling at Kentucky and then declaring for the draft without appearing in a game for the Wildcats. He turned 19 last month and it might be a few years before he makes an impact. Does Weaver have the patience? The reward down the road is an explosive athlete with tremendous leaping ability who can finish at the rim and has a good shooting stroke.
The unexpected pick
Jaden Ivey, 6-4 shooting guard, Purdue
Ivey is an athletic guard who can score and attack the rim and is projected by many to be selected fourth. However, he did not work-out for or speak to Sacramento during this process, leading to speculation the Kings will take Murray or Mathurin or trade the pick. Ivey is ball-dominant, so he might not be the ideal fit with Cunningham and Hayes, but he believes he can play off the ball and Weaver said he is not concerned about anyone being able to mesh with Cunningham.
The unlikeliest pick
Dyson Daniels, 6-8 guard / forward, G League Ignite
Australian native is a versatile lockdown defender with guard skills whose stock has risen following impressive pre-draft workouts. However, his offensive game is still developing, and the Pistons might not have the luxury to use the fifth pick on a player who won’t be an immediate viable scoring option.
The likeliest pick
Bennedict Mathurin, 6-6 guard, Arizona
Mathurin might be the player who best complements Cunningham because he plays almost exclusively off the ball. His strength is catch-and-shoot, and he should get plenty of spacing for good looks. The Montreal native averaged 17.7 points as a sophomore for the Wildcats, shooting 36.9 percent from 3-point range, which was down from 41.8 percent as a freshman.
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