5 players Pistons fans should watch in the NCAA Tournament

The Detroit Pistons need to start putting the pieces together in a constructive manner. Focusing on these stars in March Madness could help.

Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats
Reed Sheppard, Kentucky Wildcats / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
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The Detroit Pistons aren't the worst team in the NBA, which is a huge upset considering how the season started. Still, "second-worst team" doesn't have a much better ring to it. Detroit has completely floundered under the hapless leadership of Monty Williams, who clearly has no idea what to do with such a young, incomplete group.

Unfortunately, the weaker 2024 NBA Draft class probably will not provide a one-stop solution to all of the Pistons' woes. That said, it's critically important for Detroit to nail this pick. It's past time to start putting pieces around Cade Cunningham that actually fit. The Pistons' young core stacks up with the best in the league, but the infrastructure around that core is sorely lacking.

As of right now, the Pistons own the second-worst record in the NBA, which means they are tied for the best odds to land the No. 1 pick (14 percent). The Pistons also own the No. 51 pick in the second round, courtesy of the New York Knicks. Factor in the bounty of young talent and trade ammo at Troy Weaver's disposal, and there's no discounting the possibility of Detroit acquiring another pick — perhaps in the middle of the first round — via trade.

With that in mind, here are five prospects of varying magnitude that deserve the attention of Detroit fans.

5. UConn's Alex Karaban could be the ideal Pistons role player

The Pistons stubbornly succame to the obvious need to add shooters at the trade deadline, acquiring vets like Simone Fontecchio and Evan Fournier to supplement the young core. Cade Cunningham has thrived despite extremely poor circumstances for much of the season, combatting cramped spacing to deliver glimpses of his All-Star ceiling.

Detroit's No. 1 offseason priority should be to stock up on shooters. The guard rotation is set. Cunningham is the man, with Jaden Ivey quickly climbing the ladder as Detroit's No. 2 and Ausar Thompson well on his way to achieving his own brand of stardom. Marcus Sasser graces the bench, and we know the Pistons have no shortage of useful bigs. So, it makes sense to target wing spacers who don't need substantial touches to impact winning.

Connecticut sophomore Alex Karaban is the exact type of prospect Detroit should target in the second round. He has been extremely productive in the stretch-four role, averaging 13.9 points and 5.0 rebounds on .501/.395/.889 splits. Karaban does exactly what it says on the label — at 6-foot-8, he spreads the floor with a bankable 3-point stroke. He offers smart team defense and a robust collection of touch shots around the rim, too.

While Karaban doesn't offer much upside due to his limited athleticism and lack of on-ball utility, he's an efficient play-finisher who can make life easier on the Pistons' core pieces. At 21 years old, he profiles as a potential plug-and-play rotation piece in the second round.