The Detroit Pistons have had a theme over the last four seasons: The team has stunk, but they’ve had promising rookies who showed star potential.
The Pistons have had at least one player on the All-Rookie team in each of the last three seasons and appear to be on their way to at least one more this year with Ausar Thompson.
Marcus Sasser looks like the steal of the draft so far, so Troy Weaver continued his streak of finding talent in the draft. If only he could find it anywhere else.
Both players were featured on last week’s KIA Rookie Ladder, which is the NBA’s weekly ranking of first-year players.
They are there again this week, though Sasser slipped after seeing his minutes cut when Jaden Ivey returned to the rotation and the Pistons added Kevin Knox in free agency.
Ausar Thompson stat stuffing and “stocks”
Ausar Thompson retained the 3rd position on the Rookie Ladder behind Wembanyama (1) and Chet Holmgren (2), though I think there is a strong argument that the top two spots should be reversed. It’s going to be difficult for Thompson to crack into that top-2, but in a lot of years he’d be the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year with what he is doing.
Ausar Thompson is averaging a double-double with 12 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per game.
He has a real chance of making the All-Defensive team as a rookie, something that has only been done 36 times in NBA history, mostly by the best players to ever play in the league.
He’s currently second in the ENTIRE NBA in “stocks” (combined steals and blocks) behind just Anthony Davis. Wembanyama and Holmgren are also in the top five, so when we look back on this draft (Holmgren technically came out in the last draft and then missed an entire season) we might see it as one of the best defensive drafts in a long time.
Marcus Sasser is still the steal of the draft
Marcus Sasser only played 28 minutes combined in the last two games, part of the reason he slipped to 10th on the Rookie Ladder. But he is still 6th in points per game among rookies, and 5th in assists per game with the 3rd-most assists by a rookie overall.
His shooting numbers have predictably come back to earth somewhat, yet he is still shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from long range. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Pistons’ rotation looks like when and if they finally get fully healthy. Someone is going to be the odd man out but it’s hard to imagine Sasser being that guy at this point.