The Detroit Pistons have the fifth pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft. They will be taking …
Well, gosh. Who knows.
The regulated Michigan online sportsbooks have some idea, assuming — and at this point, it’s still a relatively big assumption — that the Pistons will be standing pat with the fifth pick. Trade rumors continue to swirl around forward Jerami Grant, who is in the final year of his three-year, $60 million contract. The Portland Trail Blazers have long been (rumored to be) interested in Grant, and they hold the seventh pick in the draft.
Then there are the Sacramento Kings, who hold the fourth pick in the draft. Will they stand pat? Will they make a trade? Trade rumors there have ramped up from “swirl” to “mini-tornado” in recent weeks.
The most active teams in trade talks right now are the Pacers, Wizards and Kings, per @wojespn.
— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 22, 2022
And the vast majority of the rumors — at least the rumors the Pistons are probably interested in — concern the eventual fate of Purdue guard Jaden Ivey, widely considered the fourth best player in the draft after some combination of Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr., Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, and Duke’s Paulo Banchero.
A peek at the odds
As these words are being typed — and expect this to change plenty in the next 36 or so hours — Ivey is the betting favorite to be picked fourth, whether by the Kings or whoever trades up for the pick. The odds for this happening are -130 at FanDuel.
As for the fifth pick, the pick the Pistons currently hold, the favorite is Keegan Murray of Iowa, listed at +130 on DraftKings. Ivey, who was as high as +330 to go fifth a few weeks ago, is all the way down to +240 on FanDuel. Bennedict Mathurin of Arizona has also made a late run up the odds board, and he’s at +280 on FanDuel.
It seems safe to say one of those three will be wearing a Pistons jersey at the end of draft night.
Well, unless things get wild.
When draft season started, Holmgren was the favorite to go No. 1. Post-lottery, Smith ran up the board, and is now the favorite at -240 at FanDuel. But in recent days, Banchero has shot up the board, going from +2200 to +250 on PointsBet. This move is reminiscent of the NFL draft, where Travon Walker went from a plus-money underdog to an overwhelming favorite to go No. 1 in the days leading up to the draft.
Could the same thing be happening with Banchero? It’s possible.
Furthermore, Holmgren — all 7-feet, 195 pounds of him — hasn’t given his medical records to all teams, and didn’t go through the NBA’s heart screening tests. Why he did this is unclear, but some think it’s in an effort to make sure the Orlando Magic don’t draft him first overall, and that he wants to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But what if …
Well, the what-ifs can add up pretty quickly, and the idea of Holmgren dropping out of the top three — with Ivey taking his place — aren’t entirely far fetched.
As a DIE HARD @DetroitPistons fan, I can’t wait until the draft on Tuesday. I have this strange feeling that both Jaden Ivey & Keegan Murray will be off the board and Chet Holmgren is going to slide to 5. I actually think Murray is going to have the best career of the 3🤷🏻♂️
— RETRO (@retrolenny) June 20, 2022
For those scoring at home, Holmgren at No. 5 is +6000 at DraftKings.
All will be revealed soon.
Photo: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen/USA TODAY