Roundtable NBA Draft Edition: The French Connection

The Pistons selected point guard Killian Hayes with the seventh pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, a move that sets the wheels in motion for a long-term rebuild. (Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

There was not a more active team on draft night than the Detroit Pistons, a new front office hell-bent on reshaping a flawed, incomplete roster. To start this rebuild off the Pistons selected point guard Killian Hayes, a Frenchman (okay, he was born in Florida – but he is still French) who The Ringer regarded as the best prospect in the class. He makes smart passes, has good vision, and displays a strong arsenal of offensive moves in the paint. He pairs nicely with Sekou Doumbouya – hence The French Connection. But Detroit made more than the seventh pick in the draft. Troy Weaver was, and is still at the time of this writing, busy at work. The Pistons added wing Saddiq Bey, big bruising center Isaiah Stewart, and combo-guard Saben Lee. Here is what some of our staff writers think about the new Dawn in Detroit.

Q: What do we make of the Killian Hayes pick? The Pistons needed a point guard and Hayes fits the bill perfectly, but should they have grabbed a wing instead? What about the other draft picks?

Tim Forkin, Writer, Video ProducerI was super excited to get Killian Hayes at 7. Aaron put me on to him early when it was time to start looking aty case fothe 2020 draft prospects. Sure, I made my case for trading up for LaMelo Ball, but I would’ve much rather had the draft went this way. Drafting Hayes is an awesome sign for Detroit, because strong, home-grown guard play is hard to come by. Having it almost always means that your franchise is entering a positive direction. The uncertainty around Hayes on what he can be, where he stands today, and how Detroit sees him will be answered soon enough. In my eyes, Hayes projects to be an awesome lead guard in Detroit for the next 8 years, someone who becomes synonymous with the team as a tough-nosed, exciting creator and defender with the city behind him. He may never reach the highest pinnacle of stardom, but he will give Detroit consistent fun, which is all we can ask for.

Troy Weaver’s maneuvering to acquire 3 additional picks in this draft had me amazed. I wasn’t sold on Isaiah Stewart at 16. It felt like a favor to an agent. Nonetheless, Stewart could be interesting as a tough, high-motor rim runner. With him, if he’s able to stretch the floor and throw his body around with the bigs of the NBA, he could really find a home here in Detroit. The bar is set very low for bigs nowadays. If he can rebound, protect the rim, and space the floor, he projects as someone who can be an awesome 4th or 5th offensive option. Saddiq Bey needs to be good, because of how I feel about Luke Kennard. But Bey checks a lot of the boxes that the best wings in the NBA have: premier shooting touch, high IQ, a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He’s a professional, and Villanova players don’t bust. They always find roles on good teams, but Bey will need to break the mold and become much more than just a bench piece if he is a cornerstone of the Pistons plan. Saben Lee could be a hidden gem, though I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about him. He’s got the athleticism to be an NBA guard, and could surprise some people, but I don’t have any expectations for him just yet.

Dylan Edenfield, WriterAfter waiting nearly five months more than expected, the Pistons finally got their guy in Killian Hayes, much to the excitement of the majority of Pistons fans, including me. Detroit’s last two first picks in Sekou Doumbouya and Hayes have me more excited about the future of this franchise more than any draft selections in the past decade. The French connection was meant to be, and the Pistons now have their point guard of the future after years of inconsistency at the position. Haye’s elite playmaking should translate right away in the NBA, and even though he’s only 19, he should be playing a big role for this team right away.

The Pistons added three more players on draft night in Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Saban Lee. While the Stewart pick seemed like a reach, especially when I would have picked a more vertically-gifted option in Precious Achiuwa if Troy Weaver was settled on a big man. Nonetheless, I think Stewart can still be a contributor in the future. The Saddiq Bey selection has me much more excited, likely an opinion most Pistons fans share despite it costing the team Luke Kennard. Bey’s lights-out shooting and defensive versatility would be useful to any team, and the fact the Pistons were able to nab him at #19 is a huge win. Saban Lee will likely be a two-way player this season, and looks to be a more complete version of Jordan Bone, who was recently let go by the Pistons. I’m hoping Lee can carve out a role with Detroit as soon as the 2021-22 season, but only time will tell.

Saddiq Bey is considered one of the safer picks in the draft and is a nice fit in Detroit as they move toward the youth movement. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Hussein Murray, WriterSince it was announced that the Pistons were picking seventh overall, I was really hoping that it would be Killian that fell to us. Sure enough, that happened, and I feel like the Pistons came away with the best prospect in the draft. There, I said it. I don’t think he’ll immediately be a star for Detroit and may have some rough spots to start out the season. However, I have faith that he will pan out as a franchise cornerstone alongside Sekou Doumbouya in the long run. For the first time in a long time, I’m very optimistic about our future.

Saddiq Bey is in my opinion the safest pick of the night that the Pistons could’ve made. He’s already a great shooter that has a noted defensive prowess, something that Luke Kennard was severely lacking. I think Saddiq will be a player who plays in the league for a long time and could be a crucial piece on a contending roster. He perfectly fits the mold of a 3-and-D shooting guard, and I think he has the highest floor of any of the prospects that we picked.

This pick was a question mark to me since I thought Stewart would be a second-round prospect compared to the rest of the guys left on the board. However, after watching the tape, I see shades of Ben Wallace in Stewart. It would be ridiculous to say he’s going to win four Defensive Player of the Year awards, but I really like his motor and the energy he brings. I see him being a G League project for a year or two, but hopefully he will be able to contribute in due time. 

An under-the-radar pick without a doubt, Saben was an exciting player for the Vanderbilt Commodores. I’m not sure if he’ll have much of a future with the Pistons, but I think he’ll be a great player to develop in the G-League. Hopefully, he pans out and exceeds expectations. I think he was one of the better second round picks of the draft, and I’m interested to see how he pans out. 

Donovan Collins, WriterI have not felt this excited for this Pistons team in awhile. Troy Weaver doing exactly what I believe is what every Pistons fan has wanted for the last decade, direction. Drafting Killian Hayes, and trading for two other picks proves the path Weaver has imagined for this team. I have no complaints about the four picks on draft night. A majority of us wanted Killian, and we got em. We needed a potential point guard of the future and that’s exactly what we did with our first pick. Stewart at 16 I believe was not a bad pick, though many are not completely on board with it. Saddiq Bey and Saban Lee, I feel, were very good picks based on where we were in the draft. Think about it this way, Just this night alone for this season, we have four more chances of having THAT franchise guy. Now, does that mean we’ll get that type of player? No. But the opportunity and chance to get them, especially with this next season allowing them a solid amount of playing time, could definitely help the cause. 

Jacob Rogers, WriterKillian Hayes was the pick that I wanted and thought would happen for Detroit. With that being said, I was surprised to see him available at seven along with guys like Deni Avdija and Obi Toppin still on the board. However, the cards fell right in Detroit’s lap and they snagged their guy. I think Hayes is going to be Detroit’s point guard of the future and a guy they can build around. At 6’5 and only 19-years-old, Hayes has size and youth on his side. He will be able to facilitate for his teammates and create for himself, but will also be able to slide to the two guard spot if needed and play alongside Derrick Rose. With his close friend and former teammate Sekou Doumbouya playing alongside him, I think the sky is the limit for Hayes. 

The Isaiah Stewart pick was one that very interesting to me. At only 6’9, Stewart is slotted for more of the power forward position in the NBA but he plays much bigger than that. Stewart is 250 pounds with a 7’4 wingspan, helping him  cover larger centers, kind of like Bam Adebayo. 
Stewart has publicly said that his game is not flashy, but it gets the job done and that is what intrigues me about him. I think Stewart will be much more of a developmental guy, than one who will contribute right away. However, I do not hate the pick at all. Troy Weaver must have seen something in him to trade for him at 16.

I like the pickup of Bey a lot. At 6’8, he has the ability to play the 2-4 positions. He has a silky smooth jumper which he showed off at Villanova, connecting on 41.8 percent of his threes in two seasons, including 45.1 percent this past season. Bey will probably be the second or third option at the small forward position in Dwane Casey’s depth chart behind Jerami Grant and potentially Josh Jackson. I am very intrigued by Bey’s game though, as I see him as a potential piece to compliment Hayes and Doumbouya. 

Detroit made a big swing in this draft, one that most people felt was weak with star power but laden with role-player type of talent. The Pistons have, in many peoples opinions, made the right with Killian Hayes. Next time, we will review free agency – another area that Troy Weaver has been very active in.

(Featured image by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)


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