The 2023 NBA Draft takes place Thursday night, and the Detroit Pistons still have many options on the table. Despite being one of the three teams with the highest odds for the top pick, the lottery awarded them the fifth overall selection. Now, General Manager Troy Weaver and newly hired Head Coach Monty Williams must decide whether to retain the pick, trade down, or opt for a trade for an immediate-impact player.
Why keep the pick?
Retaining their fifth pick could be beneficial for the Pistons in numerous ways. The team needs a defensive forward who is also an excellent shooter or has the potential to become one. There are three prospects who could be a good fit for the Pistons at pick five and who have the potential to thrive under this new coaching staff. These players could make an immediate impact on the team, fostering good chemistry with franchise Point Guard Cade Cunningham.
Ausar Thompson—Listed as 6’6″ and weighing 218 pounds, Thompson could be an immediate playmaker for the Pistons. Many NBA scouts regard Ausar as a better prospect than his brother Amen due to his defensive prowess and ongoing improvement in shooting skills. Within the Pistons offense, Ausar would not need to be the primary option given the duo of Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
Cam Whitmore—An aggressive wing, Whitmore lacks pure shooting ability but thrives on defense and has potential as a shot-creator. While he may not be the perfect fit, Whitmore could provide the Pistons with high-level basketball and an added defensive presence on the perimeter. Head Coach Monty Williams is known for working wonders, and this addition could prove immensely helpful.
Jarace Walker—Walker, though somewhat raw, shows promise. His length, versatility, and presence are sure to please any NBA team. His shooting has improved consistently throughout his career, and his post-defense would be a formidable force alongside Jalen Duren in Detroit.
Why trade the pick?
The Pistons could also benefit from trading their pick or moving down. Doing so could allow Detroit to acquire a starting experienced wing, sidestepping the potential pitfalls of mishandling a player’s development. Some potential trade targets for the Pistons might include Cam Johnson of the Nets or Jerami Grant of the Blazers. Recent rumors have linked the Pistons to a potential Zion Williamson trade, although the likelihood of that deal seems to decrease daily. Depending on the strategies Monty and Troy wish to pursue, this could be a tantalizing option.
No matter which direction the Pistons decide to take on Thursday night, there’s no doubt the team will improve. Having a coach like Williams at the helm diminishes concerns about the Pistons heading in the wrong direction.
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