2023 NBA Mock Draft: Mavericks go defense, Pistons surprise at 5
By Tyler Watts
5. Detroit Pistons take Ausar Thompson
This pick feels wide open, and the Pistons were the biggest loser on lottery night. They finished with the worst record in the NBA before falling to fifth. Detroit now has to decide among a group of players with similar draft grades.
The Pistons are building around Cade Cunningham with Jaden Ivey as their point guard of the present and future. They also have multiple talented young big men, but Detroit could use a wing to round out their core.
Selecting Ausar Thompson may come as a bit of a surprise because he struggles to space the floor, but getting a 6’6 athletic wing with a 6’10 wingspan is difficult to pass on. Thompson could become a lockdown defender, along with being able to handle the ball, rebound, and score. This is a selection based on upside, which makes sense as Detroit looks to exit a rebuild.
Can Thompson improve his jumper and become a league-average 3-point shooter? How will the Pistons adjust with another ball-handler in the mix? Their new coach will have plenty of avenues to explore, and Detroit could become dangerous quickly if their young talent blossoms. There are multiple options here, but do not be surprised to see the Thompson twins go back-to-back on June 22.