Pistons Player Was Flabbergasted Watching Team Get Fifth Pick at NBA Draft Lottery

Pistons forward Ausar Thompson reacts to Detroit earning the fifth pick in the NBA draft lottery on Sunday.
Pistons forward Ausar Thompson reacts to Detroit earning the fifth pick in the NBA draft lottery on Sunday. / Screengrab Twitter @ESPNNBA

The Detroit Pistons entered Sunday's NBA draft lottery at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago feeling good about their chances of landing the top overall pick after securing a league-worst 14-68 record during the 2023-24 season.

In a shocking twist of misfortune, the balls did not bounce in the Pistons' favor.

The Atlanta Hawks, who had just a 3% chance to earn the top selection, walked away with the first overall pick while the Pistons, who lost an NBA-record 28 straight games at one point during the season, have the fifth pick to show for all their struggles.

Ausar Thompson, the Pistons' 2023 first round pick and representative at the draft lottery, couldn't hide his reaction, a mixture of astonishment and amusement, on live television.

One can hardly blame Thompson, whose first taste of NBA action included historically-bad levels of losing, for feeling dumbstruck.

For two straight years now, the Pistons entered the lottery with the best odds to land the first pick, only to watch as they slid down to the fifth spot, which led to plenty of reactions from fans on X, formerly Twitter.

Detroit fans—and Thompson—will have to hope the team still ends up with a talented prospect when the franchise is on the clock during the first round of the 2024 NBA draft on Wednesday, June 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Tim Capurso


Tim Capurso is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. Previously he wrote for RotoBaller and ClutchPoints, where he was the lead editor for MLB, College Football and NFL coverage. A lifelong Yankees and Giants fan, Tim grew up just outside New York City and now lives near Philadelphia. When he's not writing, Tim enjoys reading, exercising and spending time with his family, including his three-legged cat Willow, who, unfortunately, is an Eagles fan.