DBB on 3: Coming to terms with the NBA Draft Lottery

Detroit Bad Boys

Well, here we are.

The Detroit Pistons, the worst team in the NBA last season, will pick fifth in the 2023 NBA Draft. It’s the worst-case scenario for Detroit, who dreamt of the top pick and Victor Wembanyama even if most of us expected something worse. The DBB crew dove into the fall and what it means for the Pistons:

1. The Pistons fell in the draft once again. What are your emotions in the wake of this drop?

Lazarus Jackson: I felt this coming. I thought it would be four, but I had a strong feeling Pistons fans would not be pleased with their lottery luck. The Vibes Are Bad And Have Been Bad. I wish I knew why, I wish I didn’t have an impending sense of doom hanging over the offsesason, but… yeah not feeling gerat.

Ben Gulker: If you train yourself to expect the worst, the Pavlovian response to the worst isn’t so bad.

Brady Fredericksen: I’m not mad. I’m not sad. It’s just this empty feeling. I feel like Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation: “Life is pointless and nothing matters and I’m always tired. Also, I can’t sleep, I’m overeating and none of my old hobbies interest me.”

Justin Lambregetse: I’m just numb at this point. I wasn’t expecting number 1, but I got myself to accept picking in the top 3. This is absolutely devastating.

Ben Quagliata: Everything is rigged and the NBA is keeping us down and Adam Silver is a lizard person and *cartoon hook drags me off stage left*

David Fernandez: Deflated would be an understatement. Obviously, with a transcendent talent like Wemby in the mix, tonight’s result hurts even more, but to fall to #5 makes me feel like last season was nearly a total waste.

Christopher Daniels: This might sound strange. I was disappointed but I still have so much faith in Cade from at least a leadership (if not talent ceiling necessarily) perspective that missing out on Wemby was tolerable. No Wemby means Cade is still top dog. No Scoot means Ivey can cook, and then it’s upside wings which we needed.

Blake Silverman: Disappointed, but not deflated. Pistons are now in a prime position to draft for fit and address their need on the wing. There are still another of names to choose from that can come in and make an impact. Of course, still super disappointed that we were the only team of the bottom three to drop out of the top four.

Damon Allred: I’m still new to Pistons-land so I’m not as emotionally invested as others I’m sure, but I absolutely had a heart-drop moment when Mark Tatum flashed that Pistons logo much earlier than I would’ve liked.

Ryan Caldwell: I did my best to focus more on the group of prospects outside of the top three so I wouldn’t be as disappointed with this, but it still sucks. Getting a cheat code solution to turn everything around would have made this so much easier.

Wes Davenport: Honestly, my emotions are about as neutral as they could be. It would have been far more exciting to land Wembenyama, but any outcome 2-5 was going to get a similar level of excitement from me. They should have 2 or 3 players available there at 5 with all-star upside or higher if everything breaks right. This is a top heavy draft and they have a top pick. Adding another Jaden Ivey-type is a wonderful thing for the rebuild.

2. Is there any player you like at No. 5? Or do you feel that trading the pick is the better move here?

Lazarus Jackson: I am a proponent of trading the pick: The Pistons have averaged 20 wins over the last 3 seasons; it’s time to stop mucking about and Cam Whitmore or Jarace Walker aren’t gonna help the Pistons stop mucking about for a few more years.

Ben Gulker: I like Jarace Walker a lot, although I understand wanting higher upside. The worst team in the NBA should be open to trading anything, but trading this pick to make short-term gains next season might be an overreaction. They would have been unlikely to compete for the Playoffs with a top 3 pick in my view and still need to raise the talent floor.

Brady Fredericksen: I’m leaning Trade The Pick because you gotta start trying to win sometime, but also a big Jarace Walker fan. He was so fun to watch at Houston and I think he’s everything people wish/think Isaiah Stewart can be. He’s good enough to be what Cade Cunningham is offensively to the Pistons’ defense.

Justin Lambregetse: I would probably trade the pick, but if I had to pick somebody, it would probably be Cam Whitmore. I think he’s better than he showed in college due to the injury and he does fit with the current young core.

Ben Quagliata: I like the idea of adding one of the athletic wings like Amen Thompson or Cam Whitmore but my lottery takes outside of Wembanyama are totally based on reading what people who actually watch NCAA/prep ball are saying.

David Fernandez: I honestly haven’t given much thought to a pick outside of the top three. From a profile perspective, give me a wing with high upside, and go from there. I’m not sure what Detroit could net for #5, so I’d rather stand pat and pray that you get lucky with your selection.

Christopher Daniels: Time to start digging into film more.

Blake Silverman: I would take Cam Whitmore at five, should he still be there. He’s a super athletic wing who can score and is a plus defender. Whitmore is my number one option for the Pistons by a lot at this draft slot.

Damon Allred: Does anyone from the top 4 fall out of it into the Pistons’ lap, especially someone like Brandon Miller? Taking him at #5 would be a no-brainer, even from someone like me who’s lower than consensus on him. Do you fall in love during the pre-draft process with someone in that next tier like Cam Whitmore or Ausar Thompson? If you come away feeling strongly, it’s absolutely worth making that pick. If you don’t love anyone from the next tier, what sort of trade-down options are there? I have my eye on Utah (#9, #16, and #28) as well as Brooklyn (#21, #22, and #51).

Ryan Caldwell: I really like Cam Whitmore. He’s a burly and athletic wing/forward with long arms who plays even bigger than he is. His two way-potential is really exciting. As a scorer, he gets to the basket at will and finishes with authority. His shooting is still a work in progress but has been promising, especially considering he is one of the youngest players in the draft. On the defensive end, Whitmore is a strong and versatile defender who can guard at least the 2 through 4 effectively. I honestly believe that the best case scenario for Cam Whitmore is exactly the type of player that the Pistons should be looking for to plug in at SF.

Wes Davenport: I’d like to keep the pick. Any of Whitmore, Anthony Black or Amen Thompson would fit well and offer substantial upside. Those guys would be great additions, period. To trade the pick, we’d need to assess the value of pick #5 and what level of talent you’d be looking for in return. I think they’d need to add another young player to the package to land a true star. And to take back a player that’s not quite a star would a) not be worth doing, and b) cost way too much in salary for me to be excited about it. Keep the pick. You have 3 great options and who knows, maybe a guy like Miller falls to #5.

3. How significant of an impact does this lottery drop have on Troy Weaver’s slow and meandering rebuild plan?

Lazarus Jackson: Weirdly, not that much? If they got #1 it would’ve obviously thrown things into hyperdrive, but as it stands now, the core is still Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Jalen Duren, and you’re looking for guys who fill in around that core at a reasonable price relatively quickly. Troy Weaver has not ACTED like a GM trying to save his job (yet), and that’s when I will start REALLY panicking.

Ben Gulker: Missing out on a generational talent like Wemby is obviously huge, but Weaver shouldn’t have been planning on winning the lottery once, much less twice. Unfortunately, bad luck might mean the Pistons find themselves right back here again next year, with hopefully (?) worse odds at the top pick.

Brady Fredericksen: I think it’s a significant detriment, but I’m also not sure what Weaver’s plan even is. So far, it’s be bad and draft. They’ve postured that year four should be a more competitive season, but they said that last year, too. Cade’s injury killed that, but we all watched the same team — it was going to be very bad with or without him. The Pistons cannot build a contender out of No. 5 picks. Maybe a trade is the best route?

Justin Lambregetse: It is a huge hit to the rebuild, but relying on lottery luck with the current lottery odds is just setting yourself up for disappointment. I definitely feel like this causes Troy Weaver to be more aggressive in the trade market with this pick to try to speed up this process, which could be disastrous. I just don’t think a Whitmore or Walker puts this team in a position to be playing any kind of meaningful basketball anytime soon.

Ben Quagliata: Get ready to be here again next season.

David Fernandez: Last season wasn’t totally on Weaver, Cade was injured, and the team he built surrounding Cade was barely watchable. But Detroit lost a developmental year for Cade, and a year where the Pistons would be able to figure out how best to utilize him and Ivey together. Now Detroit marches on, with too many bigs, not enough wings, cap space (in a weak wing free agency class), and the fifth pick (which is a total crapshoot). The lottery balls may have sealed Weaver’s fate if he’s unable to uncover some diamonds in the rough.

Christopher Daniels: This is where the clock starts in many ways for Weaver. He has his guys in place in Cade, Ivey, Duren and Stewart and now he has to show us all what he makes from the 5th pick, be it a pick, trade etc. New-ish territory for Troy as a Piston.

Blake Silverman: I don’t think this lottery result is a huge setback. If we trust in Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren moving forward, adding a top five player to that core will only help with development and building a competent roster to make a leap in this league.

Damon Allred: Missing out on Wembanyama will always be a massive loss by opportunity cost, but having a top 5 pick still gives Weaver a chance to either add another strong talent or recoup value elsewhere. There’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision, but it’s not all that bad of a situation to be in.

Ryan Caldwell: It would have been a huge boost to the rebuild to get Victor, but I do think that we already have a future star to build around in Cade and his injury makes it feel a little slower than it is. There are also a lot of good players in the draft outside of the top 3, so it really just comes down to identifying the right talent for us, and there are plenty of really talented wings and forwards who would fit very well in Detroit.

Wes Davenport: Am I allowed to answer a question by rejecting the question? I don’t think there is a big adverse impact to dropping and the rebuild has not been slow and meandering. This is a top 5 pick in a strong but top heavy draft class — that’s where you want to be! They’re going to add an exciting and high ceiling prospect to this core of Cade, Ivey and Duren. If I guaranted that would happen last October, I bet we’d all be over the moon. In terms of a slow rebuild? They just wrapped up year 3. Let’s see what happens next season. By all accounts they should have more pieces and exciting young players taking steps in development. For all the over excitement we fans had going into last season, we’re all under excited as of today. I don’t mean to be the proverbial dog saying “this is fine” in a burning room, but… This really is fine!

Let us know your answers in the comments:

1. The Pistons fell in the draft once again. What are your emotions in the wake of this drop?

2. Is there any player you like at No. 5? Or do you feel that trading the pick is the better move here?

3. How significant of an impact does this lottery drop have on Troy Weaver’s slow and meandering rebuild plan?

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