Jaden Hardy is not someone the Detroit Pistons should be looking at with the picks they have in the NBA draft. But there were Pistons players and executives at a Hardy practice. Why?
The Pistons have two picks in the June 23 NBA draft, one at No. 5 and another at No. 46. Jaden Hardy will not be drafted as high as No. 5 and should be taken well before 46, but the higher-up Pistons, and even the players, were watching Hardy practice.
On June 6 at Klutch Sports Pro Day (hosted by Adele’s boyfriend Rich Paul), among those in attendance were general manager Troy Weaver, coach Dwane Casey and players Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart. According to reports, they seemed to be paying a lot of attention To keep jade hardy.
Hardy, a 6-foot-4 guard, was the G-League Ignite team’s top scorer last season. He should go from the end of the first to the start of the second round. So why were the Pistons players and management eyeing a guy the team probably won’t draft, barring a trade?
Hardy is not planned, according to him, give it a try with the Pistons. Of course, it might raise eyebrows with other teams if he did. Weaver likes to work quietly.
He is originally from Detroit but Hardy’s family moved to Nevada before he started high school. Hardy was there with other hopes as part of Klutch’s training, but a pattern seems to be emerging.
And why were Cunningham and Stewart present? Neither is represented by Klutch (Cunningham is with Excel and Stewart is replaced by Roc Nation). Maybe they are big fans of Adele and hoped she would pass?
Stewart played with Hardy at the Rising Stars Game during All-Star Weekend, but that’s hardly a reason to go see anyone at a public practice.
Too much can be read into that, but Detroit seems to be showing an outsized interest in players who are expected to go late in the first round.
Remember, in the 2020 draft, Weaver maneuvered to get Detroit the No. 16 and 19th picks, in addition to the No. 7 they were to start on the night.
Would it just be due diligence, in case a trade gives the Pistons a late first round? Or is something brewing, and Weaver knows he needs to take a look at the players later in the first round?
Why are Weaver and Casey and some Detroit Pistons players watching Jaden Hardy play?
Everything could be innocent. Casey and Weaver are there to watch the players and pay tribute to Klutch, who represents many NBA players. Cunningham and Stewart may know some buddies who are part of the practice.
Sometimes when there’s smoke, it’s just smoke.
CBS Sports has Hardy for the Spurs at No. 20 in its last fictional draft. Despite being ranked among the top high school players in the Class of 2021, he’s had a season of ups and downs in the G-League, mostly playing against much older players.
He averaged 17.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists, which are pretty good stats for a 19-year-old. But consistency would have been an issue.
Is Hardy made for the Pistons? A big, athletic guard is certainly welcome, the Pistons are looking for a permanent backcourt partner for Cade Cunningham. He’s not a great outside shooter (26.9% of three in the G-League), which is why he’s not a lottery pick.
The Pistons already have athletes who aren’t good shooters, but Hardy has a big advantage if he can figure out his shot.
Was the Pistons crowd at Hardy training significant, or just a coincidence and nothing more? We could find out on draft night.