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2023 NBA Draft: Ausar Thompson selected by the Detroit Pistons with the 5th pick

Ausar goes one pick after his twin brother Amen

2023 NBA Draft Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

The Detroit Pistons needed a lot of talent, and you can only fill so many of those roster holes with one selection. With the fifth pick, the Pistons decided the best talent to have, and the player with the highest upside was Ausar Thompson. The versatile wing defender and connector went just one pick after his twin brother Amen, who went No. 4 to the Houston Rockets.

Shortly after the Pistons made the selection, NBA draft analyst Matt Babcock joined DBB Live and said his ceiling could be a player similar to Scottie Pippen.

We’ve covered Ausar a bit in the past, so I would encourage you to read up on the player the Pistons are getting at 5. He can be one of the league’s better defenders, he can be an elite connector from the wing position, and he has a very iffy jump shot that will certainly need to improve if he is going to reach anything close to his ceiling.

The Pistons are desperate for wings, and Ausar represents the most dangerous win in the draft. He could eventually deliver all-NBA defense in the style of Herb Jones, but with a little of Andre Iguodola’s passing game and high-level basketball IQ. He is a plus athlete and could turn into an elite connector on the floor. He could play off of either Cunningham or Ivey in the pick-and-roll and become a weapon as a cutter providing rim pressure, finish lobs, or become a facilitator, either running the pick-and-roll himself or receiving the pass on the roll and dishing it to an open teammate in the face of a collapsing defense.

It’s just too enticing to pass up.

The big question mark is his shooting, and it is a significant worry. He shot 48.1% from the field, 29.8% from three, and 66.2% from the free-throw line. His shooting mechanics are cleaner than his brother Amen, but that is likely setting the bar too low.

In a field of players with big questions marks and big abilities, I want to bet on Ausar is the potential to reach a level far beyond where anyone else left in the class can get to. It’ll take significant develoment time, attention from coaches, buy-in from Ausar, and a deft touch from Monty Williams. But the potential payoff is just too great.