The Detroit Pistons Fall To No.5 - But Fans Should Still Be Really Excited - NBA Draft Room

The Detroit Pistons Fall To No.5 – But Fans Should Still Be Really Excited

Landing a top 3 pick in this draft would have been nice but at no.5 the Pistons have a chance to draft not only a really good player but a player that would be a great fit alongside Cade, Ivey and Duren.

When a team has star point guards/facilitators the biggest needs become shooting, play-finishing and defense. At no.5 the Pistons could have their choice between two stud young forwards in Jarace Walker and Taylor Hendricks who provide exactly that.

I think Walker has a bit more upside but Hendricks could be the more seamless fit in Detroit.

How Taylor Hendricks Fits With The Pistons

I love this fit. Adding Hendricks, a bouncy 6-9 PF from UCF, in the frontcourt next to Jalen Duren would give the Pistons elite interior defense, rim protection and rebounding. He’d also add a new dimension on the offensive end with his ability to space the floor.

With Cade’s passing and Ivey’s ability to breakdown the defense Hendricks would get a lot of easy looks from outside, and he’s proven to be a high level 3pt shooter, hitting 39.4% from 3 his freshman season. He should be able to expand his offensive game in the future, to be able to make more plays off the bounce, but for starters his ability to finish in the paint and shoot the rock are exactly what the Pistons need.

Taking Hendricks at no.5 might be too rich for some people but I’m a huge Hendricks fan and I think he’d be a solid value here. And an awesome fit.

How Jarace Walker Fits With The Pistons

Similar to with Hendricks, Jarace Walker, the 6-6 ½ powerhouse forward from Houston, would fill a lot of needs and be a really good fit in the frontcourt next to Duren. He’s not as smooth of a 3pt shooter as Hendricks but his shot shows promise and he should develop well in this area. He’s also a more polished passer than Hendricks and can make plays with the ball in his hands.

Where Walker really stands out is as an elite defender. He can guard 4 positions, even some small-ball 5 and is a play-maker on defense, racking up lots of steals and blocks. While he might not develop into an offensive star he projects as an elite role player who will contribute a lot to winning.

He recently measured at 6-6 ½ without shoes, so he’s not the biggest power forward in the world, but his massive 7-2 1/2 wingspan combined with his chiseled 248lb frame give him plenty of size to hang and bang in the post. He’s not as pure of a rim protector as Hendricks but he’s a special all around defender.

The Pistons would do really well to add either of these stud forwards to the roster.

Cam Whitmore As An Upside Option

I see Cam Whitmore as a boom or bust prospect. There’s definitely a case to be made that his upside is as a really good second option offensive player on a winning team and that he has All NBA potential. He’s an absolute force as an athlete, is one of the youngest players in this class but is already built like a truck, and could develop into a dynamite scorer in the league.

But there are also concerns. His passing is barely existent and his ability to play bully-ball will be somewhat diminished going against NBA defenders.

In Detroit he’d have a chance to play off the ball and be a pure play-finisher/scorer, which would negate some of the play-making concerns, but when drafting a player in the top 5 you want them to have at least a few paths to success in the league. Cam is a very solid rebounder and a strong defender but if I’m the Pistons I’d take one of the really solid prospects in Walker/Hendricks rather than swing for the fences with Whitmore.

2023 NBA Mock Draft