Well, Wembanyama went into the wind, Scoot has scattered, and Miller has moved on.
Yep, the woebegone Detroit Pistons, the team with the worst record in the NBA, got slapped in the face by the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night, ending up with the fifth pick.
The glass-half-full take: Sure, Victor Wembanyama coming to Detroit would’ve been the absolute best outcome, but there was more than an 85% chance that wasn’t going to happen. Fans can’t be too distraught over the situation.
Victor Wembanyama’s highlights from his last game are ridiculous.
This isn’t even fair 😂 pic.twitter.com/jRf8dRWK1n
— Bradeaux (@BradeauxNBA) May 8, 2023
As for not getting the second or third pick? Well, Scoot Henderson, the consensus second-best player in the draft, is a guard, and the Pistons are clearly set there with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. Fans can’t say the same about Brandon Miller of Alabama, the consensus third pick off the board. That one stings a little. He would have fit in just fine with this Pistons squad. But it’s no big deal missing out on the fourth pick, as the Houston Rockets are there, and another point guard — Amen Thompson — looks to be the likely selection.
So, really, No. 5 isn’t such a worst-case scenario despite being, quite literally, the worst-case scenario, as per NBA draft lottery rules, that’s the furthest the Pistons could’ve fallen.
Examining the options
Who might the Pistons take with the No. 5 pick? Well, that’s where it gets interesting, as the sportsbooks — as of this moment — are throwing up a shrugging shoulders emoji.
Amen Thompson is the favorite at +200 on DraftKings, but as noted above, he’s a point guard and not a fit in Detroit.
Thompson’s twin Ausar is also at +200, and he’s more of a swingman. He’s certainly on the list.
Next up is Jarace Walker of Houston at +300. He’s a 6’8″ forward with a 7’2″ wingspan. He’s also considered a little bit of a project, and the Pistons are hoping for at least a play-in invite to next year’s playoff party.
From there, at +450, sits Villanova’s Cam Whitmore. He’s an athletic freak, a finisher at the rim, and plays a lot bigger than his 6’6″ frame suggests. He’s a perfect pairing with Cunningham and Ivey. Together they would be about as athletic a threesome as there is in the league.
Cam Whitmore is a force. Incredible athlete with the tools to be a elite finisher w/ his speed, physicality, body control, and touch. Shot 75.5% at the rim in his L13 GM at Villanova. Can handle the ball and has shown shotmaking flashes. 3rd best prospect in the draft to me. pic.twitter.com/tMuTj04GeC
— Israel (@iohandles) May 11, 2023
But wait, there’s more. How about Taylor Hendricks at +1000, a 6’9″ power forward from UCF? Or Anthony Black at +2000 from Arkansas?
Or perhaps none of this matters. Maybe the Pistons like some players later in the draft and will decide to trade down.
See? Isn’t all this betting intrigue better than getting the boring No. 1 pick?
Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images