The Detroit Pistons’ luck in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery could not have gone any worse. They had a 52.1 percent chance to at least make the top four after a dispiriting 17-win season, but here they are drafting outside the top four and essentially taking them out of the conversation for Brandon Miller.
It will be interesting to see how the Pistons front office navigate this unfortunate development. After positioning themselves nicely to draft another potentially game-changing prospect, there will be much uncertainty with what the Pistons would choose to do with the fifth overall pick, especially with there being a lack of consensus outside the top-three.
At the very least, the Pistons will have an opportunity to draft yet another talented prospect, with the likes of Cam Whitmore, Ausar Thompson, and Taylor Hendricks, among others, looking like solid fits for the team alongside the returning Cade Cunningham and the nascent Jaden Ivey.
Nevertheless, it must behoove the Pistons front office to at least do their best to try and package what they could to move up the draft. Perhaps the Portland Trail Blazers, in the pursuit of a star, would want to milk as many assets as they could out of the third overall pick.
Or in a more unlikely scenario, perhaps the Pistons decide to trade away the fifth overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft for an established wing to expedite their rebuilding process.
Whatever the case may be, here are the two best trades the Pistons can make using the fifth overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Pistons package the 2023 fifth overall pick, top-5 protected 2026 first-round pick, and Isaiah Stewart for the Blazers’ third overall pick
Knowing the evaluation of many draft experts, it definitely seems like there is a steep drop off from the consensus top three of Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, and Brandon Miller. The rest of the projected lottery picks seem to be interchangeable, depending on team fit and need.
Thus, the Blazers, should they fail to trade away the third overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft for a bonafide star, may find it the best course of action to keep the pick. This is especially the case, as doing so might net them Scoot Henderson given the Charlotte Hornets’ reported leaning towards picking Brandon Miller.
Still, the Pistons should they their best to convince the Blazers to trade down, and that may necessitate the inclusion of their top-5 protected 2026 first-rounder to make it worth their while.
In addition to that pick, the Pistons will be including Isaiah Stewart in this scenario. The Pistons have plenty of bigs on the roster, so why not utilize whatever trade value Stewart may have to convince the Blazers even further, especially when the team needs more reliable role players around Damian Lillard.
Some Pistons fans may think that this is an overpay, and that may very well be the truth. But drafting Scoot Henderson should be worth the risk, even if he may not be the best fit alongside Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.
Pistons deal the fifth overall pick, Marvin Bagley III, Killian Hayes, and a lottery protected 2026 first-round pick to the Toronto Raptors for OG Anunoby
At first glance, engaging in trade talks with the Raptors for OG Anunoby may not seem like the best idea for a rebuilding Pistons team, especially if it costs them the fifth overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. But there comes a point where stocking up on prospects leads to diminishing returns.
The fifth overall pick also carries too much uncertainty; Cam Whitmore’s college assist rate is worrying, Taylor Hendricks does not have the most expansive game off the dribble, and Ausar Thompson’s three-point shooting is a huge question mark.
Acquiring OG Anunoby erases all that uncertainty, and the Pistons could very well give Anunoby the greater offensive involvement he reportedly wants. Anunoby is a stellar fit given the Pistons’ need on the wing, giving them a dangerous starting lineup alongside Cunningham, Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jalen Duren.
This may not match the Raptors’ unreal asking price of four first-round picks, but the presence of the fifth pick in this hypothetical trade should override their desire to amass as many picks as they could. Those picks will be coming from contenders, which means that those will land in the late first round, while the Pistons’ picks should amount to much more.
Again, it bears mentioning that it’s unlikely for the Pistons to do this. But at the very least, they should think twice about surrounding their young core with the requisite help so they could emerge as one of the more surprising teams for next season.