The debate is on.
after hours haze 2023 NBA Draft Lottery Drops Detroit Pistons From No. 1 To No. 5A slew of names are emerging that the Pistons will have to sift through to decide who they will add to their core.
The consensus top three consists of Victor Vembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Brandon Miller. But after that, depending on each team, many prospects will be evaluated and placed quite differently.
The Pistons have five weeks to figure out their board before draft night on June 22.
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Let's take a look at six of Wednesday's most likely prospects to entice Pistons general manager Troy Weaver and his staff with the no. 5 overall selection:
PG Amen Thompson, 6-7, Overtime Elite
player: Will immediately become one of the top 1% athletes in the NBA once he debuts – imagine if Ja Morant is 6 ft 7. Flies to the rim with quickness and finishes. Excellent vision and playmaking, wants to run in transition, and can be valuable on defense with the size and agility to guard small guards and big wings. Thompson's shooting is a mess, though, as evidenced by his 65.6% marks on free throws and 25% on 3s last season. The competition level is a big projection: He and his twin brother, Ausar, were some of the oldest players, in their 20s, facing mostly teenagers in an overtime elite program.
accurate: Strange because of Thompson's shooting shortcomings. He's best with the ball in his hands, but the Pistons already have two rising creators in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
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SF Cam Whitmore, 6-6, Villanova
player: Another player with good athletic skills and a body ready to jump into the competition. “A bulldozer on a trampoline,” Free Press sports writer Omari Sankofa II called him. Can shoot, catch and dribble, and create for himself with powerful drives. Has the defensive tools to be a pest on the ball, and is one of the youngest players in the draft – turns 19 in July. The bigger issue is his slow decision-making and passing, matching 19 assists and 42 turnovers last season.
accurate: He is a good off-ball player and scorer on the ball, and the Pistons may believe that Cunningham and Ivey provide enough playmaking to offset Whitmore's shortcomings. Perhaps the best intersection of talent, need and fit for the Pistons.
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PF Jerez Walker, 6-8, Houston
player: Skilled interior scorer with great tools to become a defensive weapon and even a small ball center. Like Isaiah Stewart, Walker will have to prove he can knock down 3s at a league average rate in the mid-30s — he shot 34.7% on 2.8 3s per game last season — but his passing, length , strength and way of playing sets him up well to contribute until he gets around.
accurate: If the Pistons use this pick on Walker they may go overboard, but we know Weaver's fascination with big guys. Walker would add size, passing and defensive versatility to the roster. The Pistons will need to make a trade to balance out the rotation, and/or let Stewart or james Wiseman walk away in restricted free agency next summer.
SG/SF Ossar Thompson, 6-7, Overtime Elite
player: Like his twin brother, he should be an interchangeable and valuable piece on defense. Great athlete with burst as a scorer and control around the rim, moves the ball well and has improved a bit as a shooter, though a lot of work remains, especially off the ball (29.8 on 3s %). There are projection concerns similar to the amen coming from the overtime elite.
accurate: A better fit for the Pistons than his brother, but he has a low rating around the league because his upside is considered low, as he is not quite an athlete or lead ball-handler.
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G Anthony Black, 6-7, Arkansas
player: Reliable, supple and smart, with excellent shape. Multi-positional defender who can handle a variety of assignments, rebounds and hounds the ball with his movement skills (2.1 steals per game last season). Makes good decisions with the ball offensively, draws fouls (averaging 5.3 free throw attempts) and can finish through contact. Struggled with shooting mechanics, shooting 70.5% from the foul line and 30.1% on 3s (2.6 per game).
accurate: Fills some holes on both ends, and his playmaking will give the Pistons more dangerous options with the ball. But the lack of proven shooting adds another questionable layer to the rebuild's need for off-ball shooters to open up the floor for the two young guards.
PF Taylor Hendricks, 6-9, Central Florida
player: A rare and valuable stretch can be a -4 that also protects the paint and can make a switch on the perimeter. Swallows shots with his length, smarts and timing (1.7 blocks per game), and has 5 ability in the small ball. Shot 39.4% on 3s on 4.6 attempts per game, has shown flashes of self-creation, and is a huge dunk threat as a finisher. Needs to add power, show better touch around the rim and continue to develop his offense.
accurate: Similar to selecting Walker, the Pistons will be loaded with size and defense with Hendricks, putting Stewart's future in the spotlight. But there's no doubt the 19-year-old will bring skills to the team that no other big man has, with a combination of shot-contest defense, dunking and catch-and-shoot ability from deep.
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This article was originally published on the Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons in NBA Draft 2023: 6 names to watch with No. 5 pick