Deeeeeee-troit-basketballllllll. The Detroit Pistons are a good bet for the most improved team. Understanding most improved in this context is important because they only won 23 games last season. There is no shortage of talent on the squad. Coaching will be a decisive factor in how the season plays out for Detroit.
2021-2022 Record: 23-59
2021-2022 Home record: 13-28
2021-2022 Road record: 10-31
Strength of Schedule rank: 26/30
2021-2022 Championship Odds: +50,000 (FanDuel)
Few teams hold as much young talent as the Detroit Pistons, with an average age of 24.8. The challenge for Pistons head coach Dwayne Casey will be in managing this very young team and getting them to commit to team basketball. Getting away from run-and-gun tendencies to ensure the right shots are taken, and knowing when to make the next pass will be paramount. It is not uncommon for young players, who are used to being the first scoring option and in some cases the only scoring option, to have a long adjustment period to the NBA. Generally, there is a veteran presence on the court to help steady the ship. The Pistons do not have an experienced leader on the floor.
#Pistons coach Dwane Casey: 'Being young is not an excuse': https://t.co/L5Xzok9DCX
— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) September 27, 2022
Cade Cunningham: Cunningham will be the go-to option on offense and should lead the team in scoring. He is the most offensively polished player on the roster. Cade is better when in motion, as opposed to having to create his own shot. With Detroit’s lineup, Cade will be forced into being the first option, whether he likes it or not. Cade finished the 2021-22 season with averages of 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, with those numbers much improved after the All-Star break. The former first-overall pick can help carry a team, but is he ready?
Saddiq Bey: A 2020 first-round pick, Bey posted a solid season with averages of 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Bey is a good but streaky shooter and a plus 80% free-throw shooter. The gift and curse with Saddiq is the outside shooting. A capable three-point shooter, he needs to use his 6-foot-7 stature to his advantage and get low when the opportunity is there. If Bey develops a consistent mid-range jumper, he can be one of the more dangerous players in the league.
Killian Hayes: Hayes went seventh overall in the 2020 NBA draft and should have the biggest leap year-over-year improvement. As a 6-foot-5 point guard, he can see over the top of most defenders. However, he is a 37% career field-goal shooter, while averaging 7 points and 4 assists per game. It’s not enough to justify 25 minutes per game. If Hayes cannot take the necessary steps to improve his shooting and ball distribution, then he will find himself on the bench more often than no. Hayes’ ceiling is much higher, he just needs to prove it.
Jaden Ivey: Ivey was taken fifth overall in the 2022 NBA draft and is one of the most athletic newcomers in the league. Detroit has lofty expectations for the rookie as his speed and explosiveness cannot be taught, and better yet – cannot be guarded. He has a way to go in terms of becoming a better shooter, but he will get to the rim and do so regularly. Ivey will get instant minutes and can certainly be a difference-maker
Marvin Bagley III: Bagley III took a large step last season when he was dealt from Sacramento to Detroit. His points per contest improved by 5.3. This is in part due to more playing time, but his field-goal percentage skyrocketed as well, from .463% to .555%. Detroit gave up two second-round picks for Bagley and then agreed to pay him $12.5 million per year. The Pistons are expecting a lot from the fourth-year big man. The greatest area of concern will be his durability. Bagley has played more than 60 games only once in four seasons.
Bojan Bogdanovic: The most underrated aspect of winning teams is the spot-up shooter. When we think of great shooters, most immediately think of the Golden State Warrior, Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson is more the mold of a spot-up shooter than Curry. There is only one Stephen Curry, but there are many Klay Thompsons. I could go for days on this, but a few that immediately come to mind: Byron Scott, Kyle Korver, Ray Allen, JJ Reddick and Allan Houston were as important as any other player on their respective teams. Bogdanovic can be that guy for Detroit with the help of Casey and the rest of the coaching staff. He has made 869 three-pointers over the last five seasons and averaged 17 points or more in each of his last four seasons. The youth, energy and athleticism of the Pistons will create mismatches and open shots for Bojan. They just have to get him the ball.
Detroit Pistons Starting 5
Point Guard: Cade Cunningham
Shooting Guard: Jaden Ivey
Small Forward: Saddiq Bey
Power Forward: Bojan Bogdanovic
Center: Isaiah Stewart
Summary: Detroit has tremendous youth, athleticism, and size. They are one of the biggest teams in the league as well as one of the youngest and most athletic. If the Pistons work themselves into playoff position, Dwayne Casey will be a favorite for Head Coach of the Year. Juggling the pieces and sharing minutes will be the challenge. The talent will not be.
Fantasy implications: The only players I would comfortably draft from this team in annual league formats are Cunningham, Bogdanovic, and maybe Saddiq, late.
Regular Season: 33-49 – 11th in the Eastern Conference
Postseason: Misses playoffs
My pick for Eastern Conference Champion
You have Atlantic Hawks Starting 5 at the end of the article for obviously Detroit Pistons. Just a heads up.
Keep up the great work !