The Detroit Pistons have selected Ausar Thompson with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. Thompson is a 6-foot-6 guard that spent the past two seasons playing for Overtime Elite, a professional league for players between the ages of 16 and 20 based in Atlanta, alongside his brother Amen,
The Thompson twins led City Reapers to that league’s championship, and Ausar made the game-winning 3-pointer to seal the title in Game 3 of the OTE Finals. Fittingly, the Thompson twins have gone back-to-back in the 2023 NBA Draft. Amen went No. 4 to the Rockets, and Ausar has now gone No. 5 to the Pistons in what is no doubt be an incredible night for the Thompson family.
Thompson has been one of the top prospects in this class all along, but lagged very slightly behind his brother. Both are remarkable athletes that can handle the ball and defend, but neither has yet developed a reliable jump shot. In a league that is increasingly defined by shooting, both will need to improve in that respect if they hope to reach their ceilings.
for Detroit. Here’s why:
This possibly was a reach for the other Thompson twin, who is less regarded as a prospect than Amen and might have been available with a trade back. However, he’s a well-rounded player who seems to be further along as a shooter than his brother. Thompson is a true athletic wing and potential defensive stopper, one of the best in the draft class at that end. Here’s my concern in Detroit: Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey already are weak shooters, so there’s pressure to see Thompson help space the floor.
Detroit hoped to make a leap into the play-in race last season. The Pistons even made moves trying to get there. Despite the relative youth of their roster, they added veterans Bojan Bogdanovic, Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks last summer planning to be competitive. Sadly, those hopes were dashed the moment former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham suffered a season-ending shin injury. Without him, the Pistons had the NBA’s worst record.
But now that he’s returning, Detroit has a strong base of young talent. Cunningham and Jaden Ivey is one of the NBA’s most compelling young back courts. The Pistons have added several highly-drafted young centers, including Jalen Duren, James Wiseman, Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley, and are hoping one or two of them emerges as a long-term keeper. And after making Monty Williams one of the highest-paid coaches in sports, the Pistons surely expect to not to pick this high again next season.