Detroit Pistons whiff on another draft steal

Mar 20, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) controls the ball
Mar 20, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons guard Marcus Sasser (25) controls the ball / David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Pistons have hit on some talent in the NBA Draft, and they should, as they have mostly chosen in the top five in recent years.

Where they've had no success is later in the draft, as the Pistons have yet to find a second-round gem or undrafted player in the Troy Weaver era, which seems almost impossible for a team that has had so many developmental minutes available and whose GM's biggest strength is meant to be talent evaluation.

In the 2023 NBA Draft, the Pistons traded up to take Marcus Sasser, which I said was a mistake at the time and I stand by it. This has nothing to do with Sasser as a player, as he has had a solid rookie season and looks the part of an NBA rotation player who can score off the bench.

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But the Pistons didn't need more guards, especially undersized combo guards, they needed wings and forwards, as many as they could get their hands on.

The worst part is that there were solid forward prospects that they could have had without trading up, including one who has blown up recently.

GG Jackson looks like another NBA Draft whiff for the Detroit Pistons

I can't kill a GM for missing on a second-round pick, as most of them never make it to the NBA. There is an element of luck, but when you see how often the good teams find such players, maybe luck isn't all there is to it.

The Memphis Grizzlies took GG Jackson with the 45th pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and he has had a solid rookie season as the youngest player in the NBA, averaging 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds while shooting 37 percent from long range on 5.4 attempts per game in the 36 games he has played. Can you think of a team that could use an athletic 6-foot-9 forward who can shoot 3s?

Jackson has been on fire of late, as he has had a more featured role with the Grizzlies, who have more injuries than any team in the league by far:

You can't make too much about six late-season games but Jackson has the kind of skillset the Pistons desperately need and he's four years younger than Sasser, who is already 23 years old.

When you look at the landscape of the NBA, which type of player has the potential to make more impact, an undersized combo guard or a tall forward who can shoot?

Jackson wasn't the only forward available in the 2023 NBA Draft, as 6-foot-10 Leonard Miller, another big forward with shooting touch was another player the Pistons could have had without trading up.

The draft is more than just racking up top-five picks, it's also about finding underrated talent so you have players who contribute on low salaries, something that will be even more important in the new CBA where stars are eating up more of the payroll.