Lottery pick Ausar Thompson didn’t score much in his Summer League debut, but his all-around contributions showed why the Detroit Pistons were thrilled he was available with the fifth pick, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes.
Thompson had seven points, nine rebounds, three blocked shots, three assists and a steal against the Orlando Magic on Saturday.
“At the core of him, he makes winning plays,” Summer League coach Jarrett Jack said. “Fifty-fifty balls, trench rebounds, cutting, pushing the basketball, making the extra pass, sacrificing himself in some instances to cut so somebody can get the extra pass on the back side – that’s something you can’t teach. I’m excited for his growth.”
His athleticism impressed even some of the most-athletic members of the team.
“He just … floats,” guard Jaden Ivey observed. “A layup, you could just tell. It’s something different about him that I’ve never seen before. It’s like he floats in the air when he jumps. A lot of my teammates have seen it and noticed it.”
We have more on the Pistons:
- Second-year center Jalen Duren showed a new dimension in the same game, as he attempted two three-pointers and made one, Rod Beard of the Detroit News notes. He was also very aggressive around the rim, which led to 10 free-throw attempts. Duren finished the game with 17 points and eight rebounds.
- The amount of games and pile of losses the Pistons endured last season weighed on him, Ivey admitted to James Edwards III of The Athletic. He’s hopeful that his second season will be much different. “This past season was hard. I’d never been through a season where you lose so many games and play so many games. We, obviously, only ended up winning 17 games. I think about that a lot because it’s really embarrassing to win just 17 games. … The ups and downs individually, all of the losses, I think that’ll all help me for Year 2. … I’m really excited to get started with Monty (Williams) here, to learn from him and all the coaches, which I have been. I’ve been training, really, in Detroit all summer.”
- Kelvin Sampson, Marcus Sasser‘s coach at the University of Houston, said the late first-round pick will provide the Pistons with an offensive spark. “He can score at all three levels,” Sampson told Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press. “He’s obviously an outstanding 3-point shooter but he also has a really good float game, outstanding free throw shooter. He’s a good defensive player but he’s a better offensive player than defensive player. Detroit didn’t draft him because he’s a good defender. They drafted him because he can score.”