Detroit Pistons 2023 draft mistake looks even worse now

Jan 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;  Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) makes
Jan 15, 2024; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) makes / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have needed wing players and power forwards since the days of Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace.

They did get Ausar Thompson with the 5th pick, and he looks like he'll be a good one, as he's already a good defender, rebounder and finisher at the rim.

But wing and power forward are still the roster weaknesses, as they have Isaiah Stewart starting at the four with no real backup coming off the bench.

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They have no depth behind Bojan Bogdanovic and Ausar Thompson, which is why it was inexplicable that the Pistons traded up to get Marcus Sasser, a move that looks even more puzzling now.

Drafting Marcus Sasser was a mistake for the Detroit Pistons

I should first say that I really like Sasser and think he's going to be a solid player in the NBA as a backup guard who can come in and get buckets. But a 6-foot-2 point guard who doesn't facilitate and can only defend one position is far from what the Pistons needed.

They already had Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes and then traded for Monte Morris, making Sasser the 5th guy who can play point guard. If the Pistons had moved Killian Hayes in the offseason, this move would have made more sense, but what chance did Sasser have to even get minutes on a roster already loaded with young guards? Even with Morris out, Sasser has been in and out of the rotation.

Troy Weaver cited intangibles like "grit" and "NBA readiness" as reasons to take Sasser and he has shown those things at times. But like all rookie guards, he's also shown questionable decision-making and shot selection to go with it.

The Pistons had a glaring hole at forward and instead of just drafting one with their second-round pick, they burned additional draft assets to move up and take a guard they didn't need.

It's possible the Pistons will reshuffle their roster and Sasser will move up on the depth chart eventually, but that need for a wing and power forward is still there regardless and there were some in the draft they could have had without even trading up.

Leonard Miller (33) is killing it in the G-League right now, averaging 19 points, and seven rebounds while shooting over 43 percent from long range. Do you know a team that could use a 6-foot-10 power forward who can shoot? I do.

You had players like Greg Jackson Jr. (44) and Trayce Jackson-Davis (57) sitting there for the taking, and the Pistons could have traded down, picked up some assets and still gotten them.

Instead, they burned assets to draft an undersized guard who they didn't need and immediately gave him guaranteed money before he'd ever stepped on an NBA court.

I am all for the "best player available" strategy with high picks, but when you get into the late first and second round, you can either take swings on high-upside players or draft for need, and the Pistons did neither.

If Sasser was more "NBA ready" it's because he's already 23 years old, three years older than Miller who had already played a year professionally in the G-League.

Make it make sense.

Good teams don't burn draft assets on guys who don't fit the roster or whose ceiling is "double-digit bench scorer on a good team."

But the Detroit Pistons aren't a good team and moves like this are part of the reason why.