Pistons Draft Haul Is Puzzling

If NBA championships were determined by first-round picks on your roster, the Detroit Pistons would be contenders. Following the 2023 NBA Draft, the Pistons have seven former first-round picks under contract or on their roster.

So woopity-do, right? Last season all those first-round picks got Detroit was 17 lousy wins.

With new head coach Monty Williams on the hot seat, the Pistons prepare for the upcoming season with a set of players with varying skills. But, can they be mixed together in a stew that will result in savory winning?

On this most recent draft night, the Pistons selected forward Ausar Thompson, one half of the famed Thompson Twins basketball duo. Ausur is the lesser (apparently) of the brothers. His sibling was taken one pick ahead of him. TO many basketball experts, the selection of the second Thompson was a reach by Detroit.

Thompson is great for defense but can't shoot a jumper

Thompson is a 6.7 small forward with long arms and speed to fill the lane. But, he’s more famous for what he cannot do: shoot a jumper. He’s highly acclaimed for his defense, which is nice, but the Pistons have two guys in their projected starting lineup (Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey) who are not known for long-range shooting. Where will the requisite three-point scoring come from?

Jalen Duran will be 20 years old this season, still a baby by NBA standards. He has the potential to be a defensive force inside, and with Thompson, that could mean a stingy defense from Detroit. But, who plays in the paint these days anyway?

Are the Pistons and Monty Williams working on a time machine to go back to 1983 basketball? If so, maybe this roster could compete for a playoff spot.

Cunningham still has only 76 NBA games under his belt. He will turn 22 in September, which makes him one of six Pistons who will be either 21 or 22 this upcoming season. The NBA’s youngest team will likely get schooled by the old fellas, the only question is how much.

Ivey showed promise in his rookie season, but he was asked to do more than he could because of Cunningham’s injury. In the 2023-24 season, that duo will share backcourt duties, and when Thompson and Bojan Bogdanović are on the court, that’s a small lineup that could either be a matchup dream or nightmare.

Williams needs to get the new players to step up

Williams is known as a defensive coach who has abilities to shake up his lineup and coax performances from role players. That should be a boon to Bogdanović, who likely will never repeat his 2022-23 season when he averaged 21.6 points per.

Where does Isaiah Stewart fit into all this? Another former 1st round pick, Stewart is gaining a reputation for cleaning the glass, but he’s surprisingly stiff and slow filling the lane and has little to offer offensively.

Then there’s Killian Hayes, who like Ivey and Cunningham, handles the ball as a point much of the time. Hayes is a former first-rounder, but he can’t shoot a jumper to save his life.

The Thompson move seems to point to the possibility that Williams will hold onto the assets that got the minutes last season, rather than shake things up by grabbing a pure long-range sharpshooter.

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