After one of the most futile seasons in franchise history, the Detroit Pistons will not be rewarded with the No. 1 overall pick and the chance to draft generational prospect Victor Wembanyama.
No, no, the light at the end of a miserable 17-win season is the No. 5 pick, a indescribably disappointing result that seemingly keeps the Pistons’ rebuild in neutral — barring a much-needed big offseason from GM Troy Weaver.
The 2022-23 season was supposed to be the year Detroit built on its young core and finally saw progress through a “restoration” that began in 2020. After all, Weaver publicly stated that it was time to start “competing.”
Well, that plan short-circuited before it had barely begun with Cade Cunningham, the No. 1 pick two years ago, missing nearly the entire season with a shin injury that eventually required surgery.
The absence of Cade meant the team was forced to thrust rookie Jaden Ivey into the role of primary offensive creator. It was a role he struggled with early in the season. Without other dangerous weapons on the floor aside from veterans Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, the Pistons offense was anemic and their defense wasn’t much better. Injuries and resting veterans just made things worse.
By the end of the season, it was hard as a fan to watch RJ Hampton, Eugene Omoruyi, Cory Joseph and James Wiseman on the floor. But it was all leading to this moment, and the moment has arrived... with a whimper.
Instead, it will be the San Antonio Spurs, the same team who has built a dynasty around former No. 1 overall picks and Hall of Famers David Robinson and Tim Duncan, who will take Wembanyama first in a few months.
It brings us to the elephant in the room: what’s next?
Obviously, this is the worst case scenario. Code red bad.
With the No. 5 pick, the Pistons will miss out on the true difference makers. There’s talent here — good talent that will be nice to add to this roster — but none of these players fit the bill as game-changing players who’ll alter Detroit’s fortunes in the next few seasons.
It’s anyone’s guess who the Pistons would take in this range.
You’ve got Villanova’s Cam Whitmore (a good buddy of Cade and one of my personal favorites) and Houston’s Jarace Walker (my other large adult son) at the top of the list, but this range also includes Overtime Elite’s Amen and Ausar Thompson (favorites of potential Pistons coach Kevin Ollie) and a bunch of other guys.
There’s upside. There’s safer floors. There’s flaws. You really are trusting your scouting at this point in the draft because the caliber of prospect just isn’t the same as it is with Wemby and, to a lesser extent, Scoot.
Regardless, this obviously a massive bummer.
So, share your frustrations, vent and get it all out in the comments.
We’ll get through it together.