Since taking over as the GM of the Detroit Pistons, Troy Weaver has drafted three players in the mid-to-late first round who have been immediately impactful: both Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey in the 2020 draft, and again this offseason with Marcus Sasser.
Sometimes, it’s not so much what pick you have as it is what year you have it. Case in point can be found in San Antonio where the proverbial “generational talent” himself now roams. There isn’t a front office executive in the world who would have blown that call. How many such executives were anywhere close to emerging from the July draft with Sasser is up for speculation. What is less debatable is how quickly the Detroit Pistons rookie is separating himself from those who were selected in his proximity.
Marcus Sasser proving to be a standout in top-heavy rookie class
After the game against the Golden State Warriors, Sasser was outplaying his draft position in several statistical categories. Among all rookies, he is 6th in points at 9.0 ppg, 10th in field goal percentage at 52.8 percent, 5th from downtown shooting 51.9 percent, and 4th in assists with 2.7 per game. He has also added to his efficient play by rarely turning the ball over during his 18.5 minutes per game.
To take the full scope of those numbers in, we have to remember that Sasser was selected with the 25th pick of the draft. The only player picked below Sasser and yet played more minutes than him is Portland’s Toumani Camara, who was finally snatched with the 52nd pick and has made solid contributions in the Trail Blazers front court.
Most players who were selected in Sasser’s immediate vicinity, like Kris Murray and Olivier Maxence-Prosper, both of whom were taken right before him, as well as Ben Sheppard and Nick Smith, Jr., both of whom were taken right after him, have failed to have anywhere near the same impact.
And then there are those who were held in much higher regard, such as Gradey Dick, Jett Howard and even the likes of Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson, who have thus far failed to reliably deliver the caliber of contributions that Sasser has for the Detroit Pistons.
It’s still early, but the data paints a promising picture
It’s still early, and the cream always rises to the top. It’s hard to watch Ausar play so well and not imagine his twin brother ultimately having a similar impact with the Rockets. Just as Scoot is bound to smooth some of the rough edges to his game, too.
In fairness, the fact is that at 23 years old Sasser should be expected to be more polished than some of the exciting but significantly younger talents like 19-year-old Cam Whitmore.
All any of us can do is our best at making sense of the data available to us, which is why I join the chorus of voices presently echoing the sentiment that Weaver unearthed another rock solid Piston outside of the draft lottery.