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Hey, Pistons fans! Well, not only did the Pistons not get lucky last night, they got unlucky, sliding back in the lottery, all the way to the fifth pick. Ooof.
But hey, it’s still a Top 5 pick, and there are some great options for the Pistons, depending on how things shake out at the top. And the fifth pick has some nice history behind it.
What the Pistons could do with the 5th pick
The Pistons dropping to the 5th spot is obviously not as fun for us to think (or write) about, but there are some really exciting potential players that would still make an immediate impact.
First, here’s a look at some of the best 5th picks in NBA history:
Kevin Garnett — 1995
Dwayne Wade — 2003
Charles Barkley — 1984
Scottie Pippen — 1987
Ray Allen — 1996
Vince Carter — 1998
Juwan Howard — 1994
Kevin Love — 2008
Walt Frazier — 1967
Trae Young — 2018
Darius Garland — 2019
Okay, yes — there are also a lot of duds in this group. Like, most of them are duds. But that’s not the point! It’s all about potential with the draft. And this shows us the Pistons could hit it big with the fifth pick.
For the Pistons, their needs haven’t changed. They need a guard and a big. And the players that should be available will (well, should) be able to fill it. So let’s get into it:
For the purposes of this exercise, we’re going to eliminate a few players who should be off the board by the time the Pistons are on the clock.
Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga
Jabari Smith, F, Auburn
Paolo Banchero, F, Duke
We can safely assume, barring something crazy, that these three will go in the top three, in some order. So who will be left for Detroit at No. 5? Here are some potential options:
Jaden Ivey is probably the best fit for the Pistons here, if he makes it past the Kings at No. 4 — and that’s a BIG if. The Purdue combo guard could slot in with Cade Cunningham, adding an explosive offensive threat, and solidifying the back court, for perhaps years to come.
Ivey averaged 17 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists in about 31 minutes per game last season with Purdue, shooting 35% from the three-point line, and getting to the free throw line at a turbo clip.
Ivey is widely considered the top guard on the board. He’d be a fun addition to this young Pistons team. He’s the best case scenario for Detroit at 5.
NBA comparisons: Donavan Mitchell, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Edwards
While Jaden Ivey is probably the best fit, Kentucky guard (sort of) Shadeon Sharpe is probably the most likely pick here for Detroit, but he’s also maybe the highest risk, highest reward pick.
Sharpe started in high school last fall, and after getting enough credits to get his diploma, he enrolled at the University of Kentucky in January. He did not play for Kentucky, despite being eligible. So, he didn’t play a minute of college basketball.
I don’t have any stats to show you for this guy. It’s a total mystery. He has great AAU numbers, but that’s AAU. His skillset has been compared to a Zach LaVine.
Sharpe would have been the No. 1 ranked college player in the 2022 class if he stayed in high school last year. So that’s something. Cade Cunningham was the highest ranked in the 2020 class and he turned out alright. Sharpe is just one of those players that NBA scouts covet even though the typical basketball fan may not have ever seen him play.
I’m sure Pistons GM Troy Weaver will do his due diligence here, but if you’re looking for more info on Sharpe, good luck — I couldn’t even find a usable picture of the kid.
NBA comparisons: Jalen Green, Zach LaVine, Brandon Roy
Here’s your safe pick of the draft — Iowa forward Keegan Murray. The 6′8″ power forward was a Big Ten standout last season, averaging 23 points and nearly 9 rebounds per game, shooting almost 40% from the three-point line.
He’s got high marks across the board. He doesn’t turn the ball over at a high clip, he draws fouls, he can shoot from everywhere on the court, he can pass, block, steal and shoot free throws. He would need to improve as a playmaker and defensive stopper at the next level.
Murray is considered the top forward, outside of Jabari Smith and Paolo Banchero. He’d be a fine fit for Detroit, if they decide to move on from Jerami Grant, which seems likely in this scenario.
Murray will be 22 by the time the season starts this fall, which is older than every other top prospect. Saddiq Bey was 22 when he was a rookie.
NBA comparisons: Pascal Siakam, Tobias Harris, Kyle Kuzma
There are some other scenarios here for the Pistons, maybe AJ Griffin from Duke, or maybe they take a flier on a G-League player like Dyson Daniels. A lot could change between now and the draft. We’ll keep you in the loop.
So what do you think? Who would you like to see the Pistons take at No. 5? Let us know in the comments below.
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