Weaver’s optimistic view remains unchanged as Pistons prepare for Nov. 18 draft

Troy Weaver’s view of the draft hasn’t changed much in the 11 weeks since the lottery relegated the Pistons to the seventh pick: Two players he expects to go quickly and then a vast sea of unknown.

“My thoughts are still the same on the top two and then I think there’s, three through 10, you could shuffle them however you want to shuffle them. I still feel the same way about that.”

There’s been a loose consensus for months that the top three, in no particular order, are LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman. If you’re trying to guess which of those comprise the top two of the man the Pistons hired in June to be their general manager, what Weaver said when asked a specific question about Ball probably points to Edwards and Wiseman as the players Weaver thinks will go quickly.

“We do plan on trying to visit with him before the draft,” Weaver said of Ball.

It’s treacherous trying to read too much into that given the unprecedented circumstances thrust upon this draft due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but historically an agent who expects his client to be a top-two or -three pick would be extremely unlikely to arrange an interview for an organization holding the seventh pick. Another wild card that might undermine that school of thought, though: Ball trains in Detroit under former University of Detroit star and Detroit native Jermaine Jackson, so it could be more a matter of convenience and opportunity motivating the meeting.

The NBA decided in mid-October that teams could schedule up to 10 in-person workouts and interviews involving a limited number of team personnel leading to the Nov. 18 draft. Weaver said the Pistons plan to use all 10 and he’s satisfied with the receptiveness of the players he’s pursued for meetings.

“We plan on using all 10,” Weaver said. “We’re excited with our process and continue to work through it, but things have been going according to plan thus far.”

Weaver has largely dismissed the notion that teams will be hamstrung by not having a more conventional predraft process due to changes wrought by the pandemic. That’s not at the root of the uncertainty he acknowledges exists for what might happen with the six picks ahead of the Pistons.

“I think the uncertainty is due to the guys at the top of the draft – them being so young,” he said. “You’ve got guys that haven’t played many games. You have guys who played overseas. A lot of that is the uncertainty more so than the COVID and lack of information.

“You have Ball, who’s played overseas. Wiseman’s only played a couple of games. Deni (Avdija) is overseas; he’s projected high. A lot of (uncertainty) is the draft class. That’s the way I view it. You’ve got two guys projected in the top five who played overseas and the one other guy that only played a couple of games. Very rarely does the top five look that way.”

The price to move from seven into the top two would normally be prohibitive – and likely will be even in this draft – but Weaver didn’t dismiss doing so as a possibility. He seemed equally open to the more realistic possibility of moving down to pick up other assets.

“We’re definitely looking at everything,” he said when asked about reports Boston, with picks at 14, 26 and 30 in the first round, is interested in packaging picks to move up. “With the situation here, we’re trying to get the best players to replenish the cupboard. Everything’s on the table. Moving up is definitely at option, as well. But I’m excited about the draft. People have come out and said different things, but I’m excited about it. I like several players in the draft. Looking forward to the 18th.”