While some teams are fighting Play-In matchups to get into the NBA Playoffs, it is the offseason for the Detroit Pistons. That’s what happens when you finish with the league’s worst record. If the Pistons want to even plausibly fight for a play-in spot next season, they will need to ace this offseason — coaching hire, free agent additions, trades and the NBA Draft.
Luckily, there is a consensus No. 1 pick this season and a potential generational player in Victor Wembanyama. Not so luckily, despite having the league’s worst record, the Pistons have only a 17% chance of landing the prized prospect. That means they could be picking lower — as low as fifth, in fact. We also know Trader Troy Weaver loves to make moves to get back in the first round. In his three seasons at the helm, he’s already traded for three additional first-round picks.
That means it’s NBA Draft season. That means it’s big board season. That means it’s time to release the first official Detroit Bad Boys Staff Big Board. In the year’s I’ve been aggregating this stuff for DBB, I’m not sure we’ve ever truly had a consensus No. 1 before. Unsurprisingly, that ends with the arrival of Victor Wembenyama. He went 12-for-12 on submissions. Scoot Henderson, the dynamic G League Ignite guard also went 12-for-12 at No. 2. That is, unsurprisingly, where consensus ended.
Let’s get to the results. The intrepid staff at DBB have inserted their thoughts on certain players, and we’ve included some excellent scouting videos from Adam Spinella of “The Box and One,” an excellent Substack worth bookmarking, especially with the draft approaching.
DBB Big Board NBA Draft Lottery
1. Victor Wembanyama
ADP: 1, Highest: 1, Lowest: 1
2. Scoot Henderson
ADP: 2, Highest: 2, Lowest: 2
3. Brandon Miller
ADP: 3.25, Highest: 3, Lowest:4
Sometimes safe feels incredibly scary, and I think early on in this evaluation process that is where I am with Brandon Miller. He screams “safety” as a potential pick for the Detroit Pistons. On the one hand, safe is what first came to mind when the Pistons took ... Stanley Johnson over Devin Booker in 2015, and Luke Kennard one pick before Donovan Mitchell in 2017. Heck, you could even extrapolate that out to 2020 when the gritty Villanova product Saddiq Bey was selected ahead of Tyrese Maxey. But sometimes you can outsmart yourself (see Killian Hayes over Tyrese Haliburton, also in 2020). Miller is safe, sure. He is also an incredibly easy fit on Detroit’s roster. He also might not have the upside of either Thompson twin. But there is also a world where he is the second-best player coming out of this draft class.
He’s a long, two-way wing who shot more than half his attempts from deep and converted at a 38% clip to go with being a plus rebounder, hitting 86% from the line and was the best player on for what was the best team for much of the season. Still ... this safe pick has me scared. I get extremely worried about any player who converts less than half their 2-point field goals (Miller ended at 48%), and he certainly tailed off as the competition got tougher. — Sean Corp
4. Amen Thompson
ADP: 4.5, Highest:3, Lowest: 7
As a 6-foot-7 combo guard, Amen Thompson can serve as a lead ball handler if needed. He also may be the best outright athlete in this draft class. He can play the wing and is a strong defender, who is then able to bring instant offense in transition. Amen is big for a guard, the skillset he possesses is few and far between at his size. He’s great with the ball in his hands, and can be a true playmaker in the league. He shines as a passer, providing easy opportunities for teammates off of incredible dishes. — Blake Silverman
5. Jarace Walker
ADP: 5.58, Highest: 4, Lowest: 10
6. Ausar Thompson
ADP: 6.25, Highest: 4, Lowest: 9
Of the Thompson twins, I feel strongly that Ausar is the better selection for the Pistons in the event Detroit falls to fourth or fifth. Amen’s status as an elite twitch athlete and dribble-driver has him understandably ahead of Ausar on many scout’s big boards. That said, Ausar projects as a much cleaner fit on this Pistons roster. While “talent > fit” is the general rule of thumb, I don’t believe Ausar is all too far off from Amen as a prospect, and I can’t ignore Ausar’s potential on this team if he realizes his upside. I’m a believer that the off-ball shooting will come around, and I think he has the traits to give him great potential as a wing-connecter and defensive hound. That type of game should grow very nicely next to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. — Jake Polack
7. Cam Whitmore
ADP: 6.25, Highest: 4, Lowest: 8
Cam Whitmore is a very athletic six-foot seven-inch, 232 pound forward who has excelled as a freshman at Villanova. He is a versatile defender who has the ability to guard several positions on the court effectively with his impressive length and quickness. He ranked eighth in the Big East in steal percentage as well as sixth in defensive rebound percentage. His defensive upside is a major reason for him ranking so highly on my board.
Offensively, Whitmore is an explosive athlete who attacks the rim with authority, using his leaping ability and superior strength to finish around the basket resulting in him shooting 57.8% on two-point shot attempts. His development as a three-point shooter will ultimately determine his ceiling. So far, Whitmore has been promising though somewhat inconsistent, shooting 34.3% on 4.2 attempts per game. One of the younger players in the draft at only 18, Whitmore may not be a finished product, but his upside is intriguing and worth betting on. — Ryan Caldwell
8. Anthony Black
ADP: 9.42, Highest: 6, Lowest: 14
Size, versatility, playmaking, defense — Anthony Black has it all. Operating as the lead guard for a solid Arkansas team, Black showcased his ability to be just about everything on the basketball floor. At 6’7, Black can guard 1-3 effectively (he averaged 2.1 steals per game last season), see over the defense to the tune of 3.9 assists, and is simply a high IQ basketball player on both ends. While there are questions about his shot and ability to create space with the ball in his hands at the NBA level, I believe Black can become a high-level “connector” and utility man for a really good team, and soon. He’s a phenomenal player next to Cade and Ivey. Envision a slightly taller Lonzo Ball playing 1-3 next season and I think you’ll see the upside here as well. Black is solidly #6 on my board. — Wes Davenport
9. Cason Wallace
ADP: 10.75, Highest: 7, Lowest: 13
10. Keyonte George
ADP: 10.83, Highest: 8, Lowest: 14
11. Gradey Dick
ADP: 10, Highest: 7, Lowest: 16
Gradey Dick is an easy lottery choice simply due to his perimeter shooting ability, but the upside surrounding the rest of his game is what teams will be attempting to figure out before draft night.
The Kansas freshman played very well as a second option for one of the best teams in the nation and he’ll be counted on to do the same at the next level.
The most impressive part of his game this year was his ability to make an impact offensively without putting the ball on the floor often. Dick excelled in catch and shoot situations while also being an elite off ball cutter.
The questions around Dick will be his projection to guard bigger wings at the next level and development as an offensive creator. Id bet on both to improve simply due to his effort on both ends and solid size at 6’7. If things break right in both cases, he’s an easy top ten selection. At the very least, he’ll be find a nice as a shooter. — Austen Flores
12. Taylor Hendricks
ADP: 11.75, Highest: 8, Lowest: 17
13. Nick Smith Jr.
ADP: 11.50, Highest: 7, Lowest: 15
One of a few lottery prospects who saw their freshman season derail before it could even start due to injury, the 6-foot-5 Nick Smith Jr. projects as an elite shooter despite his sub-40% showing from the floor in his one season at Arkansas. He boasts some of the cleanest mechanics in the class, but it’s largely remained theoretical at this point, shooting worse than 35% from deep each of the past three seasons, dating back to high school and AAU.
I have a special affinity for guards who can smoothly create for others and themselves with the ball in their hands, especially when there’s a high level of patience and craft involved. One of his best games came against Kentucky and Cason Wallace, who’s maybe the best perimeter defender in the class. Smith Jr. finished with 25 points and six assists while looking every bit of the hybrid combo guard that the NBA has so much room for in the modern age. — Damon Allred
14. Jett Howard
ADP: 15.83, Highest: 13, Lowest: 19
Jett lands at 10 on my board, which is higher than where many of the national draft outlets currently have him listed. He is ranked 17th and 20th per ESPN and The Athletic, respectively. The reason for his rise is simple: shot-making. Howard has shown the ability to make tough, contested shots in a variety of ways with decent efficiency and volume. His effectiveness in making plays for both himself and others, particularly in isolation and dribble hand-off situations makes him a formidable secondary playmaking option. He is best from 3 and in the midrange att this point. He shot a respectable 36% from 3, but the nature of his makes are what is most impressive to me. Many were off the dribble, or on the move, and highly contested. Playing on a Michigan team that lacked good point guard play, and adequate spacing did Jett’s efficiency no favors. At 6’8 Howard’s penchant for hitting tough shots combined with his size makes his floor much higher, and separates him from other prospects. — Max Sturm
The Rest of the First Round
15. Brice Sensabaugh
16. Jalen Hood-Shifino
17. Rayan Rupert
18. Jordan Hawkins
19. Kris Murray
20. Dereck Lively II
21. Kyle Filipowski
22. GG Jackson
23. Mawell Lewis
24. Christian Koloko
25. Colby Jones
26. Terquavion Smith
27. Kobe Bufkin
28. Dariq Whitehead
28. Leonard MIller
29. Sidy Cissoko
30. Leonard Miller
Submit Your Big Board
Now that you’ve read what the DBB staff has to say, we’d love to hear from you on who the best prospects are in the 2023 NBA Draft. Our DBB Readers Big Board survey is live. Just rank your top prospects from at least 1-14. We will publish the DBB Readers’ Big Board, including contributions on your favorite (or least favorite) players in the draft.