Detroit Pistons general manager Troy Weaver has made it no secret he will consider dealing the No. 5 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. After falling to the fifth pick in the draft lottery, it makes sense why Detroit may opt to trade the pick instead of using it. Weaver may believe he can get a return that will have a bigger impact on this young team than what is available in the draft.

But it takes two to tango. For now, the Pistons will be on the clock when the fifth pick comes up.

While the headliners, Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller, are all likely to be gone within the first three picks, there are still talented prospects available to Detroit with the fifth pick. Villanova’s Cam Whitmore is one of the first names that pops up in discussions over who Detroit may select. He likely places somewhat highly on the team’s draft board. However, is not the only name that is sure to intrigue Weaver.

Houston forward Jarace Walker is another prospect expected to draw serious consideration from the Pistons. The 19-year-old forward featured on a dominant Houston team. Walker averaged 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game in 2022-23.

There is good reason to believe the Pistons will select the remainder of Whitmore or Walker based on what the Houston Rockets do with the fourth pick. If Whitmore is the high-upside athletic prospect, Walker is the high-floor option. For a team looking to turn a corner in 2023-24, the Detroit Pistons could make good use of a high-floor prospect.

Jarace Walker could be a high-impact defender for the Detroit Pistons

Walker has made his name as a dominant defensive force. He makes the most of his 6-foot-8, 220-pound frame and solid instincts.

Off ball, Walker rotates well and knows when its appropriate to help off his man. He is consistently aware of the situation and tracks his man well through screens and cuts. He utilizes his length to disrupt passing lanes and strip the ball from ball-handlers.

On ball, Walker is most comfortable defending wings and power forwards. He as the strength and length to guard big men in a limited capacity as well. He uses his size to price poor shots and effectively contest them. In the pick-and-roll, he can switch, drop and hedge with ease.

That is not to say Walker is a perfect defender. Inside the three-point line, he thrives. On the perimeter, he can be challenged a bit. He should not be expected to defend guards for extended periods of time. He needs to work on his reaction time and lateral quickness to not get beat off the dribble by quicker players. Still, Walker is not a liability on the perimeter. He is still average at worst in that position.

Defense is where Walker will make his biggest impact early in his career. His awareness and engagement on the defensive side of the ball will allow him to thrive with the solid physical tools at his disposal.

Jarace Walker could grow into a versatile offensive game with the Detroit Pistons

Walker’s offensive game is a work in progress. He struggles to finish through contact and does not take advantage of his size when he has a smaller defender on him. He struggles with pressure around the rim. Walker connected on only 40.6 percent of his halfcourt layups and 26.8 percent on drives to the basket.

However, Walker has shown flashes of potential on the offensive side of the ball. His 1.8 assists per game as a forward show insight to his natural playmaking potential. Walker is never going to be a lead ball-handler, but he has the instincts and accuracy to make smart reads and find open teammates.

He shot 34.4 percent on catch-and-shoot three-point attempts. His ability to connect on 3s will be critical to his ability to play small forward instead of being limited to power forward. Where Walker thrives the most on offense is as a cutter. He made 73.2 percent on cuts to the rim.

Walker has a long way to go in improving his offensive game. He has the makings of a reliable three-point shooter and the makings of a playmaker. However, he is just not there quite yet. As these areas of his offense grow, he will be able to lean on his cutting to make a consistent impact on offense.

Jarace Walker’s potential fit with the Detroit Pistons

In an ideal world, Walker would find consistency with his three-point shot if he were drafted by the Pistons. This would allow him to play the three while Isaiah Stewart plays the four. With Bojan Bogdanovic on the roster, there is no need to force Walker to play early; however, Bogdanovic may be able to make a bigger impact as a scorer off the bench.

A potential frontcourt of Walker, Stewart and Jalen Duren would form a dominant defensive trio for the Pistons. He would also allow the Pistons to comfortably switch on defense more often.

At worst, Walker would be a strong defensive player for the Pistons. If he hits on his development, he could be a defensive stopper with the skillset of a reliable offensive weapon.


For more from the author, Thomas Chavez, check him out on Twitter here: @tlchavez43

Featured Image Credit: © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: May 31st, 2023Categories: Detroit Pistons, NBA

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