The Detroit Pistons won the draft lottery on Tuesday even, which means they have the first pick in the this year’s draft. This is the first time Detroit has the number 1 pick since 1970 when the team chose Bob Lanier in St. Bonaventure.
After it was announced that the Pistons had the number one pick, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver talked about some of their plans.
“Obviously, we get to add another young player to the restoration process,” Weaver said. “We’re excited to be in this position, but it means that we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re going to be diligent about it. It always helps to add the No. 1 pick and such a talented group of players to choose from. We’re excited.”
After the Pistons secured the number one pick, I reached out to Jalen Green’s trainer Mark Edwards to ask him what Green would bring to a franchise.
“When we are talking about Jalen Green, we are talking about a kid that is coming into the NBA, who is going to score 20 points a game at an efficient rate. He is also someone that is going to sell tickets. He is someone that a franchise can build around, so if that is one of these teams looking for. One of these top three teams, number one teams, or two teams are looking for then; that’s what you get in Jalen Green,” said Edwards.
“That’s what you get on and off the court, marketing ability and that desire to be great. He doesn’t desire to be better than Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James. His desire is to be the best version of Jalen Green as possible.”
What are you getting from Green off the court? He is a player who loves his family, friends, and he has studied how Michael Jordan has helped put many African Americans in positions of power at Nike and other places. According to Edwards, he has studied the chess moves that LeBron James has done with Rich Paul and Maverick Carter.
“Jalen is the same type of guy. He wants to affect his community and empower the people around him. He really takes time out to inspire people, such as younger players that work out with him. Kids who are still in high school will work them through professional drills and inspire them to fight through things when trying to finish the workout. He is trying to be the best version of himself. When you talk to him, he is really attentive and trying to grasp everything you are saying and will ask questions if he doesn’t understand something.”
The Pistons have a lot of pressure to get this pick right because the last time they picked in the top two selections of the draft, they elected to pass on future Hall of Famer Carmelo Anthony and drafted Darko Miličić instead.
“That’s the goal,” Weaver said. “Whoever we pick, that’s the No. 1 goal, to continue to help restore the Pistons and build this franchise back to where it once was.”
With that being said can Green be a Hall of Fame type of player?
“I think he can be a Hall of Fame type player yes, his work ethic is undeniable, his desire is undeniable, his athletic ability is other worldly. The kid exudes confidence on the court, he wants to win and hates to lose, and he hates to miss shots. That is one of the things that will drive him crazy, and we do some really tough training and development for his pre-draft.
I made it really difficult for him to score the ball and dribble the ball, but he fought through it all. He really wants to be great, and I have never seen someone have that much desire.
I can only imagine the level of desire Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James had when they were in the same position in their careers. This Kid is a rockstar, and I think any team that drafts him will experience that. In a good way, I mean that as someone who comes out and performs and does something that his audience only can hope to do but know they won’t be able to,” Edwards said.
Global Sports Marketing and Brand Manager, Ivory Tabb agrees.
“Just off looks, he is very marketable! His personality and how he handled himself in the G-League last year will definitely increase brands’ awareness of him headed into this year’s draft,” said Tabb.
Tabs has worked with numerous athletes in the NFL and NBA. The most recent is the NBA 2015 draft class, which features Minnesota Timberwolves Karl Anthony Townes, and the Phoenix Suns Devin Booker.
The Detriot Pistons are trying to return to their glory days of the mid-2000s, where they were contending for Eastern Conference and Finals appearances, which many members of the media, including ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, believe that Cade Cunningham is the consensus No. 1 draft pick due to his ability to play at either guard position.
“Cade Cunningham they have the opportunity to draft, one of the most complete prospects that I have ever evaluated. You can play him off the ball or on the ball, and teams really love his versatility. A guy who can play pick and roll, and he can shoot it off the catch. You can run him off screens and he is really smooth with his feet set shot. Shot over 40 percent from three,” said Schmitz on Sportcenter Tuesday night.
Edwards, compared to Cunningham to Grant Hill, told me Tuesday night that he did not want to tear him down in favor of his client.
“They have the same build look at their broad shoulders that point-forward type of player. Grant Hill is more explosive, but Cade, he just fits the description as well,” said Edwards.
“I think Jalen is the best scorer in the draft and the thing about it is, what they saw from Jalen in the G-League and some high school footage. Is nothing compared to what he is now, as far as an offensive threat. He has added a lot of professional movements, that are really going to enhance his scoring ability. Scoring more with ease than ever before, which will give him an advantage over a lot of other rookies in the draft. Cade and Jalen are going to have battles because those two guys are very competitive,” said Edwards.
“They both won’t possibly talk about it, but I know they both feel they deserve to be in that number one spot. They went through that in high school where I think Jalen finished number one on ESPN, and I think Cade finished number one somewhere else. Jalen has an amazing high school resume, he might have scored 3000 points I’m not sure, but he scored a lot of points. He won Three gold medals with USA Basketball. He has just been an amazing player and Cade won a national championship in high school amazing player and leader. They will clash and match up and I look forward to be entertained.”
During his freshman year at Oklahoma State University, Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. While, Green averaged 17.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 assists in 15 games. He finished with a season-high 30 points, seven assists and three steals against the G League, Raptors 905.
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