Pistons Draft Guide: The pitch for 2024 NBA Draft prospects

Detroit Bad Boys

The NBA Draft is waiting on the Pistons’ doorstep. With no surefire franchise-altering superstar at the top of the board, draft anticipation seems duller than usual. Plus, the Pistons have had other crucial decisions on their mind, like the hiring of new President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon, the departure of former General Manager Troy Weaver and the fresh dismissal of now former Head Coach Monty Williams.

Now, it’s roster building time. There’s a draft knocking and Detroit has an opportunity to add a solid piece of the puzzle with the No. 5 overall pick and maneuver around the board if they so choose.

This guide aims to review each prospect the Pistons may select in the first round. The hope is to include as many players as possible in case chaos ensues. In a draft with plenty unknown like this one, chaos seems likely. Most, if not all, players with a first round grade are listed here.

What this guide doesn’t fully account for is a trade involving the No. 5 pick, primarily in a world where the Pistons decide to move out of this draft. If Langdon finds a deal to move up or down while sticking in the lottery or mid-to-late first, hopefully the prospects available who the Pistons may target are all included here.

Each player’s essentials are included only: measurements, pre-draft year stats and a brief sales pitch for the Pistons, along with a highlight or scouting report video. All measurements are according to official listings on NBA.com and pre-draft year stats are per RealGM. Prospects are listed alphabetically by last name, so in no way does this reflect a potential big board or prediction-based mock draft.

Without further ado, let’s get into it:

Matas Buzelis – G League Ignite, Wing

Measurements: 6’8.75” (without shoes), 6’10” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.7 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 14.1 points per game (PPG), 6.6 rebounds per game (RPG), 1.9 assists per game (APG), 0.9 steals per game (SPG), 1.9 blocks per game (BPG)

Shooting Splits: 45.5 FG%, 26.1 3P%, 69.6 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Matas Buzelis is debatably the trickiest prospect for me in this year’s class, which makes for a fun first “sell” in this exercise. With Buzelis, the evaluation could be simple. If you believe in the shot, there shouldn’t be an issue taking him near the top of the draft. The shot is a very valid question and uncertainty, though, after a rough year from the perimeter with the G League Ignite program. He didn’t exactly light it up from the field or the free-throw line, either. However, Buzelis still got shots up and already spent a season adjusting to the NBA 3-point line. Team context with the Ignite certainly didn’t help, either, which gives Buzelis some degree of slack. Buzelis’ upside sits with his tools at near 6’10” once he puts sneakers on. He’s super wiry and needs to add weight to compete against other players his size. Ideally, he should play in a frontcourt pairing next to a more traditional five man, while providing help as a weak side rim protector. If Buzelis adds considerable strength, maybe he could serve as a small-ball five in some sets. The biggest swing skill is the shot, but if a team believes in shooting development, Buzelis could fit the prospect archetype you look for with a high draft pick.

Bub Carrington – Pittsburgh, Guard

Measurements: 6’3.75” (without shoes), 6’8” wingspan

Draft Age: 18.9 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 13.8 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.1 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG

Shooting Splits: 41.2 FG%, 32.2 3P%, 78.5 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Carrington might be my favorite player to simply watch hoop in this whole draft class. He’s a great shot creator and bucket getter, which has brought along some lottery buzz as of late. For the Pistons, there’s the question on whether a player like Carrington makes sense when you’re building around Cade Cunningham, but Carrington can straight up ball. He’s one of the younger prospects in this class, which brings immense upside. He has good size and length for a guard, with no telling the ceiling he can reach when a team puts the ball in his hands and lets him cook. There’s not much to write home about defensively, but that’s not too big of a concern as an unmolded product. Carrington’s fit with the Pistons definitely isn’t clear, but if the team is truly building around Cunningham and only Cunningham, there are worse archetypes to take a swing on than one who can handle the ball and get buckets with positional size. Carrington’s effectiveness as a perimeter shooter is something to monitor, but again, he just needs some time to make it all work.

Devin Carter – Providence, Guard

Measurements: 6’2.25” (without shoes), 6’8.75” wingspan

Draft Age: 22.3 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 19.1 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG

Shooting Splits: 47.3 FG%, 37.7 3P%, 74.9 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: The team who ends up with Devin Carter is getting an absolute dog. He’s a great defender that can knock down shots on the other end. He’s a strong rebounder for his size and the effort is never in question. You can question whether the Pistons should seriously look at an undersized guard, but if there’s anyone who can offset those concerns with their motor, work ethic and skillset, it’s Carter. He may be too rich of a selection with the fifth pick, but he brings a defensive minded guard who can hit shots at a high clip. A Derrick White-type player that the Pistons could certainly use.

Stephon Castle – UConn, Guard

Measurements: 6’5.5” (without shoes), 6’9” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.6 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 11.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.5 BPG

Shooting Splits: 47.2 FG%, 26.7 3P%, 75.5 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: To me, Stephon Castle is the ideal backcourt partner for Cade Cunningham defensively. Where you can question the fit is on the offensive end, specifically with Castle’s outside shot. The Pistons certainly want to surround Cade with shooters, but Castle brings everything else as a high-level defensive combo guard who will do what’s needed to win, as we saw during his only season with UConn. The outside shot is his swing skill. If that comes along, he’s a no brainer pick if still available at number five. The issue is, teams obviously will not know what the shot will turn into on draft night. With the Pistons’ recent hiring of shooting coach Fred Vinson, Castle’s shooting upside is a bit more intriguing to me. If new President of Basketball Operations Trajan Langdon and Vinson believe that Castle can shoot it, the pick would make sense. Defensively, Castle has all of the tools. Size, length, effort and awareness. Plus, he’s a good ball-handler and can finish at the rim thanks to that positional size. If you believe in the shot eventually coming along, Castle is a home run.

Donovan Clingan – UConn, Big

Measurements: 7’1.75” (without shoes), 7’6.75” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.3 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 13.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 1.5 APG, 2.5 BPG, 0.5 SPG

Shooting Splits: 63.9 FG%, 25.0 3P% (eight attempts), 58.3 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Clingan solves a glaring need in Detroit as an imposing rim protector the moment he steps into the league. He’s a force in the paint on both ends of the floor. Potential upside as an outside shooter has buzzed through the draft cycle, which I’m not sure I buy, but Clingan with a reliable 3-point shot should be the clear No. 1 prospect in this class. I don’t think he’ll be a high volume or extremely efficient floor spacer, at least for a while, but potential as a 7-foot-plus big with upside to get some respect on the perimeter is intriguing. I’m not drafting Clingan based on that upside, though. He’s an impact defender that’s effective at the basket on the offensive end with playmaking chops as the roller in pick-and-roll actions. There are questions about his conditioning and potential injury concerns, but Clingan holds the potential to be one of the NBA’s elite rim protectors.

Isaiah Collier – USC, Guard

Measurements: 6’2.5” (without shoes), 6’4.75” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.7 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 16.3 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 4.3 APG, 0.2 BPG, 1.5 SPG

Shooting Splits: 49.0 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 67.3 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Collier was a top prospect out of high school and into his freshman year at USC. The team underwhelmed as a whole and Collier didn’t have the season he needed to solidify himself as a top pick in the 2024 draft. Still, he’s a big guard who can get to the basket effortlessly. His strength should overpower opposing guards at any level. He turned the ball over a lot at USC, but still recorded a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. His shooting splits are an area for concern. He’s an outside shot away from proving himself as a strong lead guard at the next level. His strength brings good defensive activity, mainly applying on-ball pressure that helps minimize worries as a smaller guard. Collier’s fit with the Pistons is questionable to put it nicely. In the mid-first round, however, I think there comes a point where Collier’s upside is too much to pass up on.

Pacôme Dadiet – Ratiopharm Ulm, Wing

Measurements: 6’7.75” (without shoes), 6’9” wingspan

Draft Age: 18.9 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 6.6 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.5 SPG

Shooting Splits: 50.2 FG%, 35.8 3P%, 74.4 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: While Pacôme Dadiet’s numbers won’t jump out at you, he’s shown the tools to one day develop into an upper-class wing at the NBA level. He’s very raw, but he showed shooting skill, athleticism and the ability to get out in transition throughout his pre-draft season with Ratiopharm Ulm. He can create his own shot, with upside to further improve that part of his game as one of the youngest players in the class. He has the size to compete defensively, but he’ll need time to add strength and get his bearings when guarding bigger players in the NBA. I like Dadiet as a talented, but unfinished, product that can thrive when given the time to do so in the right situation. He will likely go after some of the other young wings with upside that are available this year, which makes Dadiet a tempting gamble without the same risk as a top-five pick, for example. Should Langdon add a pick toward the end of the first round or even in the early-to-mid second, Dadiet is the exact type of upside swing the Pistons should look at.

Tristan da Silva – Colorado, Wing

Measurements: 6’8.25” (without shoes), 6’10.25” wingspan

Draft Age: 23.1 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 16.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.6 BPG, 1.2 SPG

Shooting Splits: 49.3 FG%, 39.5 3P%, 83.5 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Tristan da Silva is NBA ready the moment he hears his name called. He’s a low-maintenance 3-and-D wing that helps any roster on both ends of the floor. He may be better suited for a team that’s looking for a rotation piece on a rookie contract to help with a playoff or title run, but da Silva is just a good basketball player. He’s not a home run swing, but he provides the shooting and defensive instincts and versatility that the Pistons are searching for.

Rob Dillingham – Kentucky, Guard

Measurements: 6’1” (without shoes), 6’3” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.5 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 15.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Shooting Splits: 47.5 FG%, 44.4 3P%, 79.6 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: A team is drafting Rob Dillingham to go out there and score, point blank. He doesn’t offer much, if anything, on the defensive end and will get targeted due to his size, but boy is he electric on offense. At the very least, I like him as a microwave scorer off the bench. He’s lightning quick and can shoot the leather off the ball, paving the way for a role at the next level. Dillingham is a threat to pop off on any given night, which keeps his draft stock high amid questions regarding his size and defense. He has the star power to be a focal point in an NBA offense with playmaking upside, the question is whether those skills are enough to overcome the hill he faces as an undersized guard. I don’t love his potential fit in Detroit, but there shouldn’t be a question about Rob’s ability to put up points.

Ryan Dunn – Virginia, Wing

Measurements: 6’6.25” (without shoes), 7’1.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 21.5 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 8.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 2.3 BPG, 1.3 SPG

Shooting Splits: 54.8 FG%, 20.0 3P%, 53.2 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Dunn has a strong case as the best defensive prospect in this year’s draft class. The problem is, what is he on offense? He didn’t shoot well from deep or the free-throw line last season, leaving questions to whether his shot is fixable. The Pistons did just hire highly-touted shooting coach Fred Vinson, though, which makes Detroit an intriguing developmental landing spot for Dunn. His defensive skills combined with size and extreme length allows him to guard any position on the floor, which brings a talent NBA teams should bet on. If the offensive continues to lag, though, his true role at the next level is tricky. If teams see promise in Dunn’s development as a shooter, he could turn into a great rotational piece because, well, it all starts on defense.

Zach Edey – Purdue, Big

Measurements: 7’3.75” (without shoes), 7’10.75” wingspan

Draft Age: 22.1 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 25.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.2 BPG, 0.3 SPG

Shooting Splits: 62.3 FG%, 50.0 3P% (two total attempts), 71.1 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Let’s start with the obvious, Edey is an enormous human. He would bring Detroit a true rim protector if nothing else. His production at the college level is tough to match analytically. He doesn’t space the floor and mobility is certainly a concern, along with potential health issues for any big man close to his size. However, Edey is a dominant paint presence on both ends. In a scenario that brings him to Detroit, he addresses a need, most notably on defense, with rebounding and interior scoring skills as well. An Edey-to-Detroit scenario likely only plays out through a trade. Nevertheless, he gives you a defensive-minded big that the team needs, even if that’s in a bench role.

Kyle Filipowski – Duke, Big

Measurements: 6’10.75” (without shoes), 6’10.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.6 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 16.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.5 BPG, 1.1 SPG

Shooting Splits: 50.6 FG%, 34.8 3P%, 67.1 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Somewhat inverse to the thought process in drafting Edey, Kyle Filipowski provides upside as a floor spacer in the big spot. Filipowski’s size is a bit awkward, you can make an argument that he shouldn’t be a true center at the next level. However, if he can develop as a defender, he unlocks a whole lot of options offensively and could allow teams to play a five-out offense that the Oklahoma City Thunder have seen success with utilizing Chet Holmgren, for example. To be clear, I’m certainly not comparing Filipowski to Holmgren. Playing five-out would require Detroit to round out their roster with additional shooting, as well, which should be a priority no matter the outcome of the draft. Filipowski has shown off playmaking prowess, too. His free throw percentage isn’t great, which makes you question the validity of the shot. However, if Filipowski can become even an average 3-point shooter, he might be the most intriguing big in this draft class that possesses upside to space the floor.

Johnny Furphy – Kansas, Wing

Measurements: 6’7.5” (without shoes), 6’8” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.5 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 9.0 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.3 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Shooting Splits: 46.6 FG%, 35.2 3P%, 76.5 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Furphy was a hot name in the draft world after a midseason heater. He received top-ten and maybe even top-five buzz at one point as a potential wing candidate the Pistons could target with their pick at the top of the first round. Things have cooled down since then, and there were even questions on whether Furphy would return to Kansas for a second season. He decided to stay in the draft and will give a team selecting in the mid-to-late first round an interesting upside bet. He falls in the coveted 3-and-D archetype, only needing further time to develop within a system. His shot looks good and he can finish at the rim. He moves well off-the-ball, often getting to the right spot after searching for an open look. He needs time to add strength and improve defensively. I like the idea of Furphy spending time with a team’s G League affiliate next year to help make those leaps and see how the shot carries over into NBA range. As long as a team can provide patience, he’s worth the swing.

Kyshawn George – Miami, Wing

Measurements: 6’7” (without shoes), 6’10.25” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.5 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 7.6 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 2.2 APG, 0.4 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Shooting Splits: 42.6 FG%, 40.8 3P%, 77.8 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Similar to Furphy, Kyshawn George is another upside swing at the wing that can likely be had in the mid-to-late first round. In George’s freshman year with Miami, he shot the three at over a 40% clip on high volume, putting up over four 3-point attempts per game while only averaging 23 minutes. He showed the promise to become a true off-ball wing at the NBA level, who can also create his own shot when needed. Also like Furphy, George needs time to add some size and round out his game. Another good option to get reps in the G League his first season, with the possibility of contributing marginally to an NBA roster out of the gate. The Pistons need to prioritize the wing position, specifically with those that provide shooting prowess. George fits that bill and is an interesting name to target if the Pistons maneuver back in the draft and are in the mood to take a swing on a promising project who fits their need on the wing.

Ron Holland II – G League Ignite, Wing

Measurements: 6’6.5” (without shoes), 6’10.75” wingspan

Draft Age: 18.9 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 19.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 BPG, 2.3 SPG

Shooting Splits: 46.0 FG%, 24.0 3P%, 72.8 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: There’s no doubt that Holland is an upside swing for the fences. He was asked to do a lot for the Ignite, operating with the ball in his hands more often than not. The Ignite’s season was tough to watch, which makes evaluating Ron and any other Ignite prospects all the more difficult. Through the mess, Holland showed off his elite athleticism and defensive chops. He stepped into passing lanes and turned defense into quick and easy offense. The biggest question for me with Holland is the shot, shooting a less than ideal 24% from three through his pre-draft season. Another question is his decision making and ability to take care of the ball. Holland faced some turnover struggles early in the season with the Ignite and showed the willingness to improve in that sense. Through these question marks, his role at the next level becomes another unknown, but his existing skillset presents star upside. If the Pistons are content with building around Cade, and only Cade, Holland could be a secondary option if all breaks right.

DaRon Holmes II – Dayton, Big

Measurements: 6’8.75” (without shoes), 7’1” wingspan

Draft Age: 21.8 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 20.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.1 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Shooting Splits: 54.4 FG%, 38.6 3P%, 71.3 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Holmes improved outside shot over the past season has shot him up draft boards, putting up 2.5 3-point attempts per game and hitting those at a 38.6% clip. That’s close to two more attempts per game compared to his previous season on even better efficiency. He dominated the Atlantic 10 this past season, and even the year before, as the conference’s clear best player. He’s good in pick-and-roll actions and is an effective finisher near the hoop, paired with solid rebounding skills and intriguing upside as a passer in the short roll. He might be a bit undersized as a true NBA center, but he possesses the skillset and strength to potentially overcome that concern. He has the ability to allow an NBA team to play five-out as long as the improved shooting over the past year translates. A floor spacing big who protects the rim would give the Pistons an edge. Holmes can potentially provide that if there’s a way for Detroit to acquire him on draft night.

Bobi Klintman – Cairns, Wing

Measurements: 6’8.75” (without shoes), 6’11” wingspan

Draft Age: 21.3 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 10.2 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Shooting Splits: 43.4 FG%, 33.7 3P%, 81.3 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Bobi Klintman is a big wing who had some draft buzz last season after his freshman season at Wake Forest, but he decided to withdraw from the draft and head to the NBL’s Cairns Taipans to improve his game. He improved as a shooter and impacts both ends of the court. A team can plug him into any lineup as a versatile option who can move off-the-ball and hopefully knock down shots. Klintman’s skillset at his size is his calling card to me. If he improves as a defender, he could potentially play as a small-ball five in spurts within certain lineups. If the Pistons still held their own pick at the top of the second round, Klintman is in the group of high upside wing players that I’d target. If Langdon maneuvers around the draft board or makes a move for additional picks in this draft, Klintman is an exciting two-way option.

Dalton Knecht – Tennessee, Wing

Measurements: 6’5.25” (without shoes), 6’9” wingspan

Draft Age: 23.2 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 21.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.6 BPG, 0.7 SPG

Shooting Splits: 45.8 FG%, 39.7 3P%, 77.2 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Knecht can go and get you a bucket. Although he’s a strong 3-point shooter, that’s not all you’re getting. Knecht has shown the ability to score at all three levels. He possesses the athleticism for that ability to carry over into NBA action. The big minus in Knecht’s game is the defense. He likely won’t ever be a supreme defender, but he transferred to Tennessee last season in an effort to improve defensively. Even though that hasn’t shined through yet, Knecht can likely stay afloat on the floor enough to not negate what he brings on offense. However, any team who selects Knecht will do so for his bucket getting ability. He’s potentially the best offensive fit next to Cade Cunningham in this draft class.

Jared McCain – Duke, Guard

Measurements: 6’2” (without shoes), 6’3.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.3 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 14.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.9 APG, 0.1 BPG, 1.1 SPG

Shooting Splits: 46.2 FG%, 41.4 3P%, 88.5 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Can I interest you in a high-level floor spacer who can play both on- and off-the-ball? Hello, Jared McCain. McCain has an argument as the best shooter in this class, along with the likes of Reed Sheppard and Dalton Knecht. Although McCain is a small guard, he has the strength and feel for the game to make up for it, at least to a degree. He is a great rebounder for his position, which should translate to the next level. McCain also has upside on-the-ball as a potential pick-and-roll ball-handler when Cade Cunningham is off the floor or away from the action. But, the primary reason McCain is so highly touted in this class is his elite shooting skill.

Yves Missi – Baylor, Big

Measurements: 6’10.75” (without shoes), 7’2” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.1 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 10.7 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 0.4 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.6 SPG

Shooting Splits: 61.4 FG%, 0.0 3P% (zero attempts), 61.6 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: The pitch for Missi is simple. He’s a big who’s going to rim-run and protect the paint. He moves well and shows good timing when blocking shots. The Pistons need a big who can bring that on defense. One who could come off the bench and provide that defensive energy, at the very least. His athleticism brings versatility in defensive schemes. Missi won’t space the floor, he didn’t take a single 3-point attempt during his only season at Baylor. Still, I like his upside as a big man who can do the dirty work. If the Pistons are fully bought in on the Jalen Duren experience, I like Missi as a big who can quarterback a defense through long spurts as needed off the bench.

Zaccharie Risacher – JL Bourg, Wing

Measurements: 6’8.5” (without shoes), 6’9.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.2 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 11.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Shooting Splits: 47.0 FG%, 38.7 3P%, 70.7 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Risacher may be the most plug-and-play option for the Pistons if he’s still available once they’re on the clock. A true off-the-ball 3-and-D wing, he addresses an immediate need by providing the floor spacing Detroit so desperately needs and good defense to boot. He broke out as a 3-point shooter this season with JL Bourg and played well during the team’s playoff run, which was great timing toward the end of the draft cycle. He doesn’t provide much shot creation, but he makes up for it with off-ball movement and the ability to knock down shots. To me, it seems that the Pistons could insert Risacher into any lineup and he’d make an impact as the player archetype the team needs to prioritize to take a step forward. Unfortunately, I doubt he’ll slip to Detroit with the fifth pick, but if he does, Risacher makes all the sense in the world.

Tidjane Salaun – Cholet, Wing

Measurements: 6’8.75” (without shoes), 7’1.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 18.8 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 9.7 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.2 BPG, 1.1 SPG

Shooting Splits: 40.6 FG%, 31.6 3P%, 74.8 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Tidjane Salaun’s motor jumps off the screen any time you watch his tape. He’s a raw, developing talent, but there’s no question he’s going to work his tail off to bring out every ounce of potential within his lengthy frame. He’s a good shooter that has confidence in his shot, specifically when he lined up and knocked down a logo three for Cholet during the French league playoffs. He has work to do as a defender, but there’s plenty of room for him to add strength and improve his positioning to become a positive on that end. His length is an immediate plus, but he’ll need time to fully round his defense and the rest of his game, which is expected as one of the youngest players in this draft class. Salaun received top-10 buzz as of late, which feels similar to the late, meteoric rise of Bilal Coulibaly in last year’s draft. If the Pistons are feeling frisky, which may be too much of a risk at this stage under the new regime, Salaun is a swing for the fences that’s a bet on the motor and your internal development staff.

Alexandre Sarr – Perth, Big

Measurements: 6’11.75” (without shoes), 7’4.25” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.1 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 9.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.5 BPG, 0.4 SPG

Shooting Splits: 50.0 FG%, 27.6 3P%, 70.7 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Sarr is the top prospect on many draft boards. While it’s up in the air whether the Atlanta Hawks will select him with the first pick, it’s unlikely he slides to Detroit unless they trade up, unfortunately. If the Pistons did get lottery luck in an alternate universe, Sarr would bring a defensive-minded big with offensive upside who moves extremely well at his size. He has shown flashes as a shooter, too, which brings promise for further development from the perimeter. Immediately, Sarr would solve Detroit’s rim protection issues while everything else works to click. Before spending his pre-draft season in Australia with the Perth Wildcats of the NBL, Sarr played with the Overtime Elite program while Ausar Thompson was also there. Although Sarr-to-Detroit in another world brings questions on the future of Jalen Duren, a 7-footer that moves as well as Sarr with the defensive chops and shooting potential is hard to pass up on.

Baylor Scheierman – Creighton, Wing

Measurements: 6’6.25” (without shoes), 6’8.25” wingspan

Draft Age: 23.7 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 18.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 3.9 APG, 0.1 BPG, 0.9 SPG

Shooting Splits: 44.8 FG%, 38.1 3P%, 87.6 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Scheierman isn’t in the Pistons draft range with their top selection, barring any trade-back scenario. However, he is a high-level shot maker at his size that also brings rebounding and the ability to make the right reads. I noticed Scheierman putting an emphasis and showing improvement on the “no-dip” 3-point shot, which Jerami Grant and Frank Jackson made famous during their time in Detroit. Scheierman is a good mover off the ball, constantly finding ways to get open on the perimeter. He has defensive concerns, but the promise as a floor spacer and feel for the game at his size could be worth a late first round pick. As an older prospect, he’s likely ready to contribute to an NBA rotation sooner rather than later.

Reed Sheppard – Kentucky, Guard

Measurements: 6’1.75” (without shoes), 6’3.25” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.9 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 12.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 0.7 BPG, 2.5 SPG

Shooting Splits: 53.6 FG%, 52.1 3P%, 83.1 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Just look at the numbers. You can’t help but smile at Sheppard’s efficiency. Yes, he’s small. Yes, he’ll likely struggle defensively and get targeted out of the gate. But, you simply can’t overlook his lights out shooting ability and strong feel for the game. I don’t think Sheppard is a total negative defender, either. Although he’s undersized, he puts himself in the right spots and steps into passing lanes, grabbing 2.5 steals per game in his freshman year at Kentucky. He may be the cleanest option for the Pistons as an off-ball floor spacer next to Cade Cunningham. At Kentucky, Sheppard shined amongst a group with many prospects and mouths to feed. His game translates, even though his archetype isn’t totally built for the modern NBA. It’s likely Sheppard isn’t even on the board when the Pistons select at No. 5, but if he is, he has to be in strong consideration at the very least.

Tyler Smith – G League Ignite, Forward/Big

Measurements: 6’9” (without shoes), 7’1” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.6 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 13.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.9 BPG, 0.8 SPG

Shooting Splits: 48.0 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 73.2 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: I love the idea of the Pistons adding a stretch big or forward who can effectively space the floor from the frontcourt. The problem is, those players are hard to come by. Then, once a team has a good one, they probably aren’t letting them go. Well, Tyler Smith is an intriguing prospect in this class that can shoot the three at his size. Smith is another Ignite prospect who battled through challenges of team makeup, but I think he did a good job showing off his NBA skillset through the rocky road. He came off the bench and was mostly positive in his minutes, but he needs to improve as a defender. He likely won’t be able to guard a true NBA center, at least out of the gate, but his signature shooting skill and archetype should allow him to carve out a role and help unlock a team’s offense no matter the minute load. Of the Ignite prospects, I think Smith had the best pre-draft season, which should earn him a look from a team looking for a stretch big in the first round. If the Pistons could find a way to trade into the mid-to-late first round, Smith is a name I’d target.

Nikola Topić – Red Star, Guard

Measurements: 6’5.75” (without shoes), 6’5.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 18.8 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 14.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.5 APG, 0.1 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Shooting Splits: 49.8 FG%, 30.6 3P%, 87.8 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Unfortunately, a recently announced partially torn ACL injury has impacted Topić’s draft stock. It’s unclear how much, or if, he’ll be able to contribute his first year in the NBA. However, Topić’s skillset as a true point guard shouldn’t be overlooked. He makes incredible reads, showing promise as a floor general for an NBA team. Plus, there’s his size and touch near the rim, which makes him dangerous as a driver. The Pistons may not need a point guard while centering their roster around Cade Cunningham, but there does become a point where Topić could be too good of a prospect to pass up. Sure, there are much cleaner fits and a bevy of talented prospects to target with the fifth pick, but Topić should get some consideration, even post-injury. In a world where Topić lands in Detroit, him and Cade could split on-ball duties, while staggering the two to keep one on the floor at all times. Topić needs to improve his 3-point shot. If he ever gets to league average or above from deep, he has a case for the best prospect in this year’s class. Period.

Jaylon Tyson – California, Guard/Wing

Measurements: 6’5.5” (without shoes), 6’8” wingspan

Draft Age: 21.5 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 19.6 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 0.5 BPG, 1.2 SPG

Shooting Splits: 46.5 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 79.6 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Jaylon Tyson did it all this past season for Cal as a transfer from Texas Tech. He likely won’t have anything close to the usage level at Cal in the NBA, which isn’t an issue. He’s a strong shot maker, which you can see translating to an off-ball role somewhere in an NBA rotation. Tyson is a bit of a tweener in the middle of a combo guard and wing to me, which isn’t much of a concern in this era of positionless basketball. He can create on-the-ball when asked, as he showed throughout his pre-draft season. He’s a good rebounder and is an active defender, which is notable when taking into account all he was asked to do for Cal. If he can continue to knock down shots, Tyson can turn into a reliable role player that you can plug-and-play on most, if not all, rosters.

Ja’Kobe Walter – Baylor, Guard

Measurements: 6’4.25” (without shoes), 6’10” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.8 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 14.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.2 BPG, 1.1 SPG

Shooting Splits: 37.6 FG%, 34.1 3P%, 79.2 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: I saw Walter as a strong fit for the Pistons early on, but inefficiency as his season at Baylor moved on caused him to slip down draft boards. Walter still has upside as a scorer and shot maker at the next level, though. He has the size and length to help Detroit as a combo-guard alongside Cunningham. Walter can also guard up when needed, bringing the versatility that helps in constructing any roster. He needs to develop further and add strength to help him finish at and near the rim. Walter’s shot should translate, which could make sense for Detroit as an option to round out the rotation as a floor spacer, scorer and versatile defender as he adjusts to the league.

Kel’el Ware – Indiana, Big

Measurements: 6’11.75” (without shoes), 7’4.5” wingspan

Draft Age: 20.2 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 15.9 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.9 BPG, 0.6 SPG

Shooting Splits: 58.6 FG%, 42.5 3P%, 63.4 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Ware was initially a 2023 draft prospect, but after an underwhelming freshman season at Oregon, he transferred to Indiana and returned a much better campaign. At Indiana, he shot the three at increased efficiency, although on lower volume. He regressed at the foul line, which makes me question the validity of his perimeter shot, but he did get to the line much more with Indiana and still wasn’t terrible. This past season, he showed improvement as a rim protector and rebounder, which at his size provides reassurance as an NBA-level big even if the outside shot takes time to come along. Offensively, he’s a great finisher at the hoop with leaping ability and increased passing chops, which brings intrigue as a versatile roll-man. He’s much longer than Filipowski, for example, who’s another potential stretch big in this class. Outside of the shot, Ware’s motor is a question, but if he’s comfortable playing a role at the next level, his upside is tremendous.

Cody Williams – Colorado, Wing

Measurements: 6’6.5” (without shoes), 7’1” wingspan

Draft Age: 19.6 years old

Pre-Draft Year Stats: 11.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.6 APG, 0.7 BPG, 0.6 SPG

Shooting Splits: 55.2 FG%, 41.5 3P%, 71.4 FT%

Elevator Pitch for the Pistons: Williams is an upside swing. He needs time to add strength and adjust to the next level. Frankly, he needs more reps after missing time at various points during his freshman season due to injury. While on the floor, he’s shown great touch near the hoop and the ability to shoot the three, albeit on low volume. He’s the ideal 3-and-D archetype that any team covets and the Pistons need. Wherever Williams lands, the team will need to give him at least a couple of seasons to develop into the wing he can be.

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