The Pistons have started big men Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III alongside one another in the frontcourt in each of their last five games, with longtime starting forward Saddiq Bey moving to the bench as Bojan Bogdanovic holds onto his starting spot.
James L. Edwards III of The Athletic believes the two-big lineup will be one that the Pistons use for the foreseeable future, since it fits how they want to play — “bigger and more physically imposing,” as Edwards puts it. Detroit also envisions Stewart and rookie Jalen Duren as its long-term frontcourt of the future, Edwards adds, so it makes sense to get Stewart accustomed to playing next to another big man.
Bey had started 142 consecutive games for the Pistons before being demoted to the bench in the 15th game of the 2022/23 season. The third-year forward’s numbers have dipped this season – his 28.8% mark on three-pointers is by far a career worst – but he’s accepting his new role in stride, as Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link) writes.
“It’s an opportunity to try and help the team win as much as possible,” Bey said. “Whatever role the team needs me to do, I’m ready to do. It’s me walking the walk. This is the role (head coach Dwane Casey) needs me to do to help us win and I’m just going to try and contribute as much as I can and just play hard.”
For what it’s worth, Casey said that he still looks at Bey “as a starter” even though he’s currently asking him to be the primary scoring option for that second unit.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- It’s still unclear whether or not Myles Turner has a future in Indiana beyond this season, but the Pacers center seems to be enjoying himself and is more consistently engaged than he ever has been in the past, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required). “I’m having a great time,” Turner said. “My main focus is to come out and help this team win. I can sit and talk (about my future) in general all I want to, but that’s not what’s going to help this team win.”
- In a separate article for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak writes that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard “desperately wanted” Andrew Nembhard in the 2022 draft despite his modest college numbers. Nembhard is making Pritchard look good so far, enjoying the best game of his young career on Monday when he racked up 31 points, 13 assists, and eight rebounds in a road win at Golden State. Head coach Rick Carlisle recently expressed a belief that the No. 31 pick will end up being a top-12 or top-15 player in this year’s draft class.
- Spencer Davies of BasketballNews.com makes the case that center Jarrett Allen is the most crucial part of the Cavaliers‘ success, breaking down his impact on both ends of the court.