Pistons center Isaiah Stewart is making progress in his recovery from an ankle injury he suffered as part of the U.S. Select Team, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. After a strong rookie season, Stewart was chosen to be part of the squad that helped Team USA prepare for the Olympics last month. Despite hurting the ankle during a scrimmage, he said it was a valuable experience.
“It was great,” Stewart said. “Just my name being selected on that USA Select Team. Being out there with the best of the best will definitely for sure boost your confidence. Just shows you that you belong. It was great to be out there. I learned from some great coaches while being out there, and I was just being a sponge.”
Stewart was in a walking boot for a while, but he has progressed beyond that as the ankle heals. He’s with Detroit’s Summer League team in Las Vegas, but isn’t playing as the Pistons are focused on having him fully healthy for training camp.
Stewart also discusses his heated high school rivalry with Cade Cunningham and what he believes the No. 1 pick can bring to the team.
“I see him fitting with me easy,” Stewart said. “I’m tough, hard-nosed, chip on my shoulder. I feel like he’s got that same thing even though he’s the No. 1 pick. I can just tell he’s a dog. I feel like in Detroit, that’s what this team needs to be surrounded by is tough, hard-nosed players who put they construction hat on, go to work every night. And I can see him meshing with the rest of the guys pretty well. That’s the culture we’re trying to build.”
There’s more on the Pistons:
- Cunningham has looked like a star in the Summer League and turned in his best game in Friday’s win over the Knicks, per Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Cunningham went 7 for 10 from three-point range in a 24-point performance. “There’s a reason we drafted him at one,” said Summer League coach J.D. DuBois. “His ability to do multiple things, his ability to make tough shots, to want the ball. His leadership, both with his voice and his actions. He prepares at a high level every day. When you see him perform like this, you’re not shocked. He works really hard at it on a consistent basis.”
- The Pistons have a good collection of young talent in place, but Killian Hayes looks like a question mark, observes Evan Sidery of Basketball News. The seventh pick in the 2020 draft, Hayes was limited to 26 games as a rookie because of injuries and has struggled with his shot during Summer League.
- Second-round pick Balsa Koprivica was confident the Pistons would select him after a strong pre-draft workout for the team, Sankofa adds in a separate story.