Central Notes: Pistons, Pacers, Cavaliers, Draft

Although there’s a consensus among most draft experts that the top tier in the 2022 class consists of only three – or maybe four – prospects, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver, whose team will be selecting fifth overall, said on Tuesday night that he doesn’t agree with that assessment.

“I don’t see it as a ‘big three,'” Weaver said, according to Nolan Bianchi of The Detroit News. “I think there’s tremendous players all along the board. Length — everyone wants to add length and size.  We’re gonna pick the best player for us. Length, size, speed, it really doesn’t matter. We’ll pick the best player for the Pistons. We’re very comfortable with the guys that are all along the board in the lottery.”

Weaver said he considers the 2022 draft class to be about as strong as last year’s, especially in the top half of the lottery. He also confirmed that fit will be a consideration when the Pistons make their pick at No. 5 and expressed confidence that the incoming rookie will have no problem fitting in with the culture the team has established over the last couple years.

“There’s a certain culture here. Working hard, being selfless. Coach (Dwane) Casey‘s coaching staff has done that,” Weaver said, per Bianchi. “We’re confident because the last two drafts, we’ve had three players make All-Rookie, so we’re very comfortable with our culture here and what our coaches have been able to do with these young players.”

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said on Tuesday that he isn’t worried about having slipped to No. 6 as a result of the lottery, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I would’ve much rather have the first pick because we want the shot,” Pritchard said. “You want to take the shot, but historically there’s seven really good players in every draft. If we make the right pick, we’re gonna be just fine.”
  • Pritchard is excited about the flexibility that the Pacers will have this summer as they consider roster moves, Boyd adds in the same story. “We’ve got cap space. We’ve got a good pick,” Pritchard said. “… The gamut of what we can do is wide and wider than I’ve ever seen ever in my time in this league, and I like that because now we get to get on the board and look at every scenario. There won’t be one. There won’t be two. There might 50 things we’ll look (at) up on the board, and that’s when you can be aggressive.”
  • Adding wings and play-makers will be a top priority for the Cavaliers this offseason, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who explores which prospects the team might target with the 14th overall pick. Malaki Branham (Ohio State), Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite), Tari Eason (LSU), and Jeremy Sochan (Baylor) are among the prospects the Cavs like, says Fedor, though it’s possible not all of them will still be available at No. 14.
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