Adding second-rounders gives Weaver opening to ‘restore the treasure chest’ as Pistons look to their future

When the Pistons sent four second-round picks to the Clippers in the trade that netted them the pick Troy Weaver turned into Saddiq Bey, the perception arose around the Pistons first-year general manager of an executive who had little regard for those picks.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll quickly be disabused of that notion. Listen to Weaver talk about the second-rounder he took in November, Saben Lee. Pick his brain about a second-rounder the Oklahoma City front office used when he was there to grab a player he traded for just this month, Hamidou Diallo. Go back and examine his relationship over many years with Jerami Grant, a second-round pick not that long ago.

“That was a big part of us making the deal, being able to restore the treasure chest,” Weaver said Friday about his most recent move, acquiring Corey Joseph from Sacramento along with two second-round picks in exchange for Delon Wright. “The second-round picks to me are a little different animal now with the two-way contracts. If you can get a young man to agree to a two-way and still draft him, a la Saben Lee, that bodes well. A lot of times people see those as throwaway picks. I don’t see them as throwaway picks. I see them as picks you can use in a variety of ways.”

The Pistons don’t have their own second-round pick until 2027, but they have three coming this season – the picks originally held by Toronto, Charlotte and the Los Angeles Lakers – plus Sacramento’s 2024 pick, the latter two coming along with Joseph.

What’s the likelihood of the Pistons exercising three second-round picks in the 2021 draft? You never know, given the two-way option, but Weaver understands that having those picks gives him flexibility on draft night to make moves if he sees a player falling into a range that puts him within reach.

“Use them to trade for future picks, use it to move up, use it to stash players for two-way contracts,” Weaver said. “Just gives us the flexibility to be a little more aggressive with having those things in our tool chest.”

Joseph gives the Pistons another reliable point guard and a veteran Casey knows well from the two seasons they spent together in Toronto.

“He’s a kid that competes hard. A lot like Delon, he’s a guy that knows the system, knows the terminology,” Casey said of Joseph, who joined the Pistons on Friday and was awaiting news that Wright had passed his Sacramento physical to be available to play. “Just a great person. Fits our M.O., character-wise. He’s a leader, from a great family. He’s what we’re about – hard work. Puts his hard hat on every day, his work boots.”

Weaver is as familiar with Diallo as Casey is with Joseph after spending the past two seasons with him in Oklahoma City. Diallo was the 45th pick in 2018, two spots ahead of Svi Mykhailiuk, who were exchanged for each other along with the 2027 second-round pick Weaver picked up in November from Houston.

“Hami, he fits what we’re trying to do here,” Weaver said. “Tremendous mindset, tremendous competitor. Defensive mindset, athletic and he brings it. You can never have too many guys that have that mindset and that competitiveness. As we’re going through this process, we’re looking for those types of players. Great things to come ahead for Hami.”

Diallo, 22, averaged career highs of 11.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 24 minutes a game for Oklahoma City this season. He’s been out since late February with a groin injury, but was cleared to play in Friday’s Pistons game with Brooklyn.