Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Detroit Pistons Post-Lottery 2023 NBA Mock Draft Roundup

Leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft, we will update our Detroit Pistons Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Detroit Pistons from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in recent mock drafts for the Pistons:

The Rookie Wire — Cody Taylor (5/19)

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

The Pistons certainly had a disappointing draft lottery after dropping to fifth. However, general manager Troy Weaver didn't view the results as a large disappointment and believes the team can add another young player to the mix. They are even open to trading the pick, too. In any case, this stage of the draft looks to be where things will get rather interesting as the Pistons will seemingly have several players to consider.

Whitmore should be considered here.

He established himself as one of the top college prospects this past season with his athleticism and ability to penetrate into the paint and finish with power. He can score from seemingly all over the court and still has plenty of room to develop. Whitmore had some inconsistent performances due to injury but has all of the tools to develop into a franchise cornerstone, something the Pistons are in the market for.

CBS Sports — Gary Parrish (5/17)

5. Jarace Walker, Houston

Considering nobody had better lottery odds than the Pistons, it's disappointing for Detroit to be picking fifth in this draft. That said, Walker would be a nice consolation prize as a physical specimen who exerts energy on both ends of the court and possesses the ability to play the four or small-ball five.

Sporting News — Kyle Irving (5/17)

5. Jarace Walker, Houston

Aside from winning the lottery, this could end up being the next best thing for the Pistons in terms of fit. Detroit already has its backcourt of the future in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey. They also hope to have their center rotation of the future in Jalen Duren and James Wiseman. Now, enter Walker, who is the best power forward in this draft class.

Walker put his versatility and elite defensive prowess on display in the NCAA Tournament, tallying 12 blocks over three games with more than a handful of impressive sequences on that end. The 6-8, 240-pound forward is built like an edge rusher, yet he moves fluidly with a powerful presence. He is one of the best all-around defenders in this class with relentless energy on the glass. On offense, he's a constant lob threat and he's shown flashes of a soft shooting touch and some shot creation and passing chops.

Walker fits the archetype of what teams are looking for in a power forward in today's NBA.

The Athletic — Sam Vecenie (5/16)

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

The Scout: Whitmore has ridiculous upside because he has an elite blend of explosiveness and strength. Coming in at about 230 pounds, Whitmore is a 40-inch vertical leaper who actually plays like he has one. He rises up through contact powerfully and throws down around the basket. But there's more to it than that. He is a real shot creator who can knock down pull-up jumpers from behind the 3-point line. He has a real first step when attacking the basket. Defensively, he's a very good on-ball defender with real switchability because of his strength and quickness. The main concern here is his overall feel as an offensive player. Whitmore had a historically low assist rate and consistently missed passing reads throughout the course of his time at Villanova. That's where he needs to improve. But his ceiling is immense.

The Fit: The Pistons could have an incredibly fun core with Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Whitmore on the perimeter. Cunningham and Ivey would be perfect for Whitmore, two high-level ballhandlers and distributors who would allow Whitmore to focus on what he does best: Score the basketball. He'd be allowed to come along slowly as a passer and decision-maker and would be a tremendous transition threat with Ivey running the break. A pairing with Ivey would arguably give the Pistons two of the 10 most athletic players in the league. The Pistons are undoubtedly disappointed to fall to No. 5, but Whitmore would be a killer fit for what they're building, and he fits perfectly with what Troy Weaver tends to value in terms of bigger, longer prospects with athletic tools.

Yahoo! Sports — Krysten Peek (5/16)

5. Ausar Thompson, Overtime Elite

Ausar is one of the best on-ball defenders in this draft class and has the same freakish athleticism as his brother. He can slide in as a secondary guard on the wing for the Pistons and bring some added pressure defensively on the perimeter. An ultra competitor, Ausar has improved his reads and passing off the pick-and-roll and is very patient offensively, letting the game come to him. Defensively, he's the best chase-down blocker in this draft class with his speed and impeccable timing in transition. Like his brother Amen, his 3-point jumper continues to be an area of development but there were glimpses of improvement throughout his second season with Overtime Elite.

Bleacher Report — Jonathan Wasserman (5/16)

5. Jarace Walker, Houston

Unless the Pistons make Jaden Ivey or Jalen Duren available, they'll have trouble moving up. A trade down is more likely. Staying put to target Walker's spectacular physical profile, offensive versatility and defensive upside would seem reasonable.

With Walker and Duren, Detroit would have the strongest 4-5 pairing in the league. But it's Walker's potential to stretch the floor, attack closeouts, pass off the live dribble, hit specialty shots and overwhelm defensively with his power and length that creates such a unique outlook.

SB Nation — Ricky O'Donnell (5/16)

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

Whitmore has major upside as a scorer thanks to his combination of strength and athleticism while showing flashes of shot-making potential. At 6'6 and 230+ pounds, Whitmore thrives by attacking the basket and finishing through contact. He dunks everything around the rim and can out-muscle smaller or weaker defenders in close. He can score in the restricted area both on and off the ball: his ball handling is pretty tight for a player with his size, and he's also great at cutting into open spaces for easy baskets. Whitmore made 34.3 percent of his threes on 4.3 attempts per game this year, and can get hot as a shooter when he's in a rhythm. His playmaking is his biggest area of growth, and scouts will also wonder what position he best defends in the league.

CBS Sports — Kyle Boone (5/16)

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

Detroit has very few glaring holes on its roster but wing is absolutely one of them. Whitmore is one of the most explosive vertical athletes in this class who can hit 3-pointers and attack closeouts. Good fit next to Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

For the Win — Bryan Kalbrosky (5/16)

5. Cam Whitmore, Villanova

Villanova's Cam Whitmore didn't make the tournament, but he should still hear his name called as one of the first collegiate players selected in the 2023 NBA Draft. Whitmore, the MVP of the FIBA U18 Americas Tournament, earned Big East Rookie of the Year last season.

He scored 0.76 points per touch on drives, per AI-Powered statistics provided by Stats Perform, and Villanova also averaged 1.05 points per touch on those possessions. Both ranked as the best among all potential first-rounders.

Whitmore is an explosive athlete and his max vertical at the 2023 NBA Draft Combine ranked in the 94th percentile among all participants since 2000, per Stadium Speak.

Although he shot just 34.3 percent from beyond the arc for Villanova, per Stats Perform, he was 20-for-46 (43.5 percent) on 3-pointers from NBA distance.

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