Why Detroit Pistons felt they needed to trade up for ‘a rock’ like Marcus Sasser

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Pistons knew what they wanted to accomplish and who they needed to do it with going into the 2023 NBA draft.

General manager Troy Weaver and the front office had their eye on Houston guard Marcus Sasser, so much so that they traded up to get him. The Pistons traded their 31st overall pick in this year’s draft as well as two future second-round picks to acquire Sasser.

Sasser and Ausar Thompson, the Pistons’ fifth overall pick, made their way to Detroit on Friday afternoon for their introductory news conference, along with Weaver and newly hired head coach Monty Williams.

Weaver made clear Sasser, who regards his defensive ability as his greatest strength, has what it takes to be a key component of the team hoping to bounce back from a league-worst 17-65 record last season.

“He’s a stabilizing player and personality,” Weaver said. “He’s a rock. When you’re building what we’re trying to build, you need some rocks. This young man is a rock. We can talk about his shooting, defense. He’s a rock, steady, brings it every game. You never have to worry where he’s gonna be, what he’s gonna do. He’s rock solid.”

Weaver said the characters of Sasser and Thompson attracted the team to them before the draft. He also said they’re a good fit for Williams’ coaching style because they all have the same mentality.

But it’s not all defense with Sasser, who shot 3-pointers at an elite level last season. He made 38.4% from behind the arc his senior year at Houston, in which he led the team to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Being a two-way player made Sasser even more desirable to the Pistons, which kept defense top of mind while making selections.

“I’ve never seen a team shoot their way to the top,” Weaver said. “It starts with defense. I’ve been saying it since I arrived, and I’ll say it until my last days here.”

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Sasser seems to fit in well with this defensive mentality. Despite being just 6 feet 2, he’s not worried about taking on bigger players at the same position.

“I really just feel like I can fit in with like 6-6, 6-7 point guards and the play the point guard spot and I can just space the floor with my ability to shoot the ball and really lock in on defense and be one of the best defensive teams in the league,” Sasser said.

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