The Pistons’ draft lottery luck from last year seemed to run out as they were unlucky enough to fall to the 5th overall pick. With the Pistons amid a complete rebuild, they need all the high-end talent they can get their hands on. And with a draft as top-heavy in the top 3 as this one, securing one of those picks was incredibly important to the Pistons’ future.
Even though the Pistons couldn’t secure one of those top 3 players, not all hope is lost in them finding a potential star. With the Kings already having a surplus of talent in their backcourt, the consensus 4th best player in the draft, Jaden Ivey, has a real chance of falling into the Pistons’ lap at five, and he’d be a fantastic fit with Cade in the backcourt. But let’s say the Kings decide to take Ivey 4th overall and leave the Pistons with a decision at that 5th spot. Who should the Pistons take then?
The answer to that lies in 19-year-old Canadian Shaedon Sharpe. Sharpe is 6’6″ with a 7-foot wingspan and a tremendous athlete with a beautiful-looking jump shot. He allegedly had an otherworldly 49-inch vertical on a jump test, the NBA didn’t give the test, so it’s not confirmed, but his leaping ability is unique either way. He also has an NBA-ready body as he is around 200 pounds right now, which is usually one of the biggest detractors for young NBA prospects. Sharpe is an exceptional finisher, and his ability to get downhill and finish with either hand is a unique trait that most 19-year-olds don’t possess. His quickness also allows him to create a lot of space of the dribble to get shots from the perimeter, and even while covered, he’s able to make difficult shots over defenders. Sharpe is a special slasher. I also think his ability to move without the ball as a cutter has flown under the radar. Playing with Cade, you will have to be adept at moving without the ball because with Cade’s vision, he will find you.
Many Sharpes weaknesses can be nullified because he would be playing alongside Cade. Sharpe’s biggest issue offensively is that he’s not a particularly great playmaker/passer yet. But sharing a backcourt with Cade would probably require Sharpe to play off of Cade as a scorer, not a facilitator. While we didn’t see Sharpe play at all at Kentucky, a problem that has been brought up has been his underwhelming defense. But with his body, length, and athleticism, I think he has all the tools to become a solid defender in the NBA. If I had to compare Sharpe to an NBA player, it would be Bradley Beal with a 45+ inch vertical.
It’s essential to add that Shaedon Sharpe was one of the highest-rated recruits in Kentucky history and him not playing at all this year is probably why he’s not a consensus top 3 pick. The skillset is there, and I wouldn’t even be opposed to the Pistons surprising many people and taking him over Ivey. I love his potential, and if the Pistons field a backcourt of 6’6″ Shaedon Sharpe and 6’8″ Cade Cunningham, that size would be a difficult cover for years to come. I know it’s hard to be optimistic about falling to the 5th pick in a draft not necessarily loaded with talent after a 23-win season. Still, if the Pistons can land Deandre Ayton and potentially Shaedon Sharpe, I think they will put themselves in a position to be, at the very least competitive for next year. The future is getting brighter in Detriot regardless of the Pistons’ misfortune in the NBA draft lottery.