Detroit Pistons: No training wheels for Ausar Thompson

Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball against Ausar Thompson #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Luguentz Dort #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball against Ausar Thompson #9 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

As early as draft night, the Detroit Pistons knew that they got their hands on a gem in Ausar Thompson.

From his workouts to his first interview, Ausar Thompson impressed – and in the minds of the Pistons, separated himself from his twin brother Amen.

As the draft went according to plan, Thompson fell to Detroit in the fifth spot. Although it was not the big prize of Victor Wembanyama or even Scoot Henderson, fans quickly talked themselves into the pick, mainly because of the excitement coming out of the front office.

Summer league continued this train of excitement. Ausar quickly showed off his explosiveness, defensive intensity, and playmaking potential. Even through camp and last few weeks in the preseason, Ausar has proved that he was the right pick and his ceiling is as high or higher than we originally thought.

Starting all 4 games, he averaged 11.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game in the preseason. He shot 40 percent from three and showed some brilliant flashes on the defensive end.

Approaching the start of the regular season, it looks like Ausar will continue to get big minutes with Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, and Isaiah Livers starting the season on the mend. However the guard rotation shakes out, Thompson will likely play big minutes as small forward, flanked by Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren in the frontcourt.

Fans will get to see this versatility on display right front the jump.

Ausar Thompson taking on the toughest defensive assignment

Ausar Thompson will most likely have a first night defensive assignment of Jimmy Butler or Tyler Herro, as the Detroit Pistons open up with the Miami Heat.

Look for Thompson’s 6-foot-7 frame and 6-foot-10 wingspan to catch these guys by surprise and make things difficult all night. Pair that body with off-the-charts athleticism and you have an elite defender on your hands.

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This is where Ausar Thompson’s versatility and flexibility will be huge for the Pistons – and more specifically Cade Cunningham.

Ausar will take the toughest perimeter defensive assignment, freeing Cade up to keep more energy in the tank to orchestrate the offense.

Now Cade is no slouch on defense, he showed early and often that he is willing to get his hands dirty on that end. He just doesn’t need to be expending all of his energy as a defensive stopper when the offense rests on his shoulders.

This set-up should fall into place right away with early games against LaMelo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Shai-Gilgeous Alexander.

Ausar Thompson is more than just defense

On the offensive end, Ausar can plug in seamlessly into a new offense orchestrated by Monty Williams and eventually begin to build out sets and strategy around him.

Early in his career, Thompson will be used as a high-tempo slasher, feeding off of opportunities created by others. But as we saw in the preseason, he has the potential to be a secondary creator with real ball-handling skills.

Throwing Thompson into the mix with Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren means Cade has a lot of athleticism to work with. As these guys mature together, the shooting will come and the offense will get more sophisticated.

Detroit Pistons fans all know that Ausar Thompson has insane potential and one of the quicker first steps we have seen. The rest of the NBA world is going to find out soon and with a big opportunity in the rotation, it might happen right away.

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