Not winning the lottery for Victor Wembanyama was cause for cringe #1 for this year's draft, but there are several other issues making me cringe that come to mind that I thought I'd share and ask for others to respond to.
The top picks associated with the Piston's pick at #5 are PF Jarace Walker, GF Ausar Thompson, and GF Cam Whitmore. Others have been mentioned but I believe these are the top three in contention. With these players let the cringing begin!
PF Jarace Walker seems like a very solid prospect. He reminds me of Isaiah Stewart. In fact, he seems so similar I doubt that we could play both at the same time. I suppose splitting the game between the two might give us some advantage over some teams, but it would seem doubtful either would realize their best or highest potential. So although I might like Walker the best of the three, it just seems like a bad choice to optimize the team's performance or to allow either player to reach their peak. In summary, this pick is cringe worthy because it just wouldn't seem to move the needle on building a better team. (That's cringe topic #2.)
GF Ausar Thompson is rated ahead of Walker on some boards and he does play a position that is a need for the Pistons. I begin to cringe though when I read his biggest weakness is shooting. This is a scoring league and although he might be a very good defender, a cutter, and accomplished ball handler, the lack of being a premier shooter makes me extremely worried. Maybe he is a great player, but why is his brother rated better despite Ausar winning the league's MVP Award? That seems to contradict what scouts are saying, or simply confuses me why he won the award. In any case, I just don't have a great feeling about Thompson, fair or not. (Cringe #3, but who's counting.)
GF Cam Whitmore seems like the logical choice. That makes me cringe, for the 4th time, because how often have I been right about who the Pistons should pick as the logical choice? Even though I'm probably two for two over the past two drafts, I'm not overly confident I can predict what Troy Weaver will do. Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya have shaken my confidence I suppose, but frankly wanting and hoping for Cunningham and Ivey haven't really produced great results either. So, cringe #4 is simply hoping or wanting Whitmore to be the pick, but wondering just how much difference he can make.
The biggest cringe, #5, is hoping that James Wiseman really does go to it and gets bulked up to be a much stronger and imposing force in the middle. I suppose the idea that he was a former #2 overall pick gives him some special quality, or so I hope. Yet, he also seems similar to Darko Milicic. There was so much potential, so I thought, but so little demonstrated.
Cringe #6 comes in the concern that if Wiseman does somehow come into his own, then what? I mean if he does come in and claim the center position, do we really want him to claim the center position over Jalen Duren? Wiseman has 1 year on his contract. Supposedly he would be a restricted free agent if the team makes him a $15M qualifying offer, but then if he becomes a stud, just how much would the team be willing to spend and forsake Duren, potentially in doing so?
Cringe #7, isn't really all that big or important to me, but it lurks in the corner of my mind. Why did the team sign Marvin Bagley, Jr.? How does he fit? Does he have any role moving forward? Can they deal him to anyone? It just doesn't seem to make me feel good to have one of our highest paid players not being a big contributor with Wiseman and Duren the preferred players at the center position. However, what if Monty Williams can transform Bagley into a key performer? I guess the good news is that he's signed through 24-25. Ahhhh, ohhh, cringe.
Cam Whitmore does seem to me to be the best choice. Will he be a great player? I've read he's an aggressive scorer, very athletic, and should be able to start right away. He probably blends or melds into our team best of the three from the get go. I suppose I would be happy, but will picking him make this a winning team? Is it alright to cringe yet again, #8.
Cringe #9 happens when I think the Pistons really still need to add a free agent to their roster. I've read some speculation about who this could be. Dylan Brooks, Kristaps Porzingis, Jerami Grant, and Cameron Johnson have all been mentioned. I probably like Jerami Grant out of familiarity best of all. I also think he could toughen our defense and play power forward. Porzingis is perhaps a better scoring option, but he also seems more fragile. Brooks might be a very good compromise, but he's most likely a small forward that would compete with Whitmore. Johnson has a relationship with Monty Williams and might prove the best option since he would bring scoring and position flexibility. I'm cringing probably because I see this addition as a risk that could impact some of our young players playing time and chance to develop.
Cringe #10, I guess it's simply I don't feel as optimistic as I'd like to be. If everything seems to go right, Cunningham and Ivey look good playing side-by-side. Whitmore blends magnificiently. Either Stewart or a free agent, or Bogdanovic fit seemlessly too. Duren and Wiseman become a dynamic center duo that we haven't seen before in Detroit. The second unit is filled too with a good balance of scoring, defense, and more. So, how good can we be under new head coach Monty Williams? 35 wins, 40, or maybe 41? I suppose it's improvement, but I still tend to cringe about that being mediocre and likely not good enough to help us more in the draft.
Cringe #11, what if we are good enough to no longer protect the first-round draft choice we owe somebody? Can we improve in 24-25 without a draft pick?
Let's leave it at that. Eleven cringes is probably enough. What are your thoughts? Did I leave out any more significant cringe worthy aspects?