Central Notes: Pistons, Doumbouya, Giannis, Cavs

The NBA’s hiatus and the coronavirus pandemic prevented Pistons head of basketball operations Ed Stefanski from making a planned scouting trip to Europe this spring, but he still feels as if his club will be ready for the draft if it moves forward as scheduled on June 25. Without in-person workouts or meetings available this year, the Pistons have been watching “a ton of video,” according to Stefanski.

“I think if June 25 rolled around, there’s no doubt we’d be prepared,” Stefanski said, per Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. “Maybe in a different manner. Obviously, we wouldn’t have live workouts. We would have to do more virtual – virtual interviews with players – and we’d get the medical done, I’d think, in all different cities. But we’re ready to adapt. We’ve talked about many different scenarios that could happen. I feel comfortable with whatever.”

The Pistons have traded away their second-round pick for 2020, but would have the fifth-best odds for the No. 1 pick in the first round if the current NBA standings are used for lottery purposes.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Although the NBA has instructed players to limit their travel during the league’s hiatus, Pistons rookie Sekou Doumbouya has returned home to France. A source informed Emiliano Carchia of Sportando that the Pistons were unaware that Doumbouya had left the U.S. to return to France, but a team spokesperson said over the weekend that the club is in the loop. Doumbouya went to France to be closer to family during the pandemic, the team spokesperson said, per The Associated Press.
  • It’s too early to say what the NBA’s salary cap will look like in 2020/21, let alone 2021/22, but the unusual nature of this stoppage may impact when the Bucks are able to offer a super-max contract extension to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the exact value of that offer. As Eric Nehm and Danny Leroux of The Athletic explain, Milwaukee will still be able to offer significantly more than any other team, whenever the Bucks get the chance to do so.
  • Within a mailbag, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com explores the Cavaliers‘ long-term outlook at small forward and considers which prospect they’d draft if they land the No. 1 pick. Fedor also reports that the team recently conducted a virtual interview with Virginia big man Mamadi Diakite, a possible second-round target.
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