The Pistons made a few roster upgrades this summer, but the biggest reason for optimism is the return of Cade Cunningham, who was limited to 12 games last season before deciding to have shin surgery. Anthony L. Schulte of The Detroit Free Press takes a look at how Cunningham’s presence will affect the rest of Detroit’s backcourt.
The biggest influence may involve second-year guard Jaden Ivey, who became one of the team’s top play-makers with Cunningham out of action. They will likely be the starting backcourt, and Schulte expects Ivey to adopt more of a scoring mentality with Cunningham running the offense.
Schulte adds that Cunningham’s return may cause the Pistons to move on from Killian Hayes, who flourished somewhat last season but still faces an uncertain future in Detroit. The Pistons reportedly talked to the Mavericks about a Hayes trade this summer, but weren’t able to make much progress.
There’s more from Detroit:
- The Pistons may have trouble finding minutes for Joe Harris, who was acquired in a trade with the Nets, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press states in an overview of the roster. Even though there’s a need for more shooting, Bojan Bogdanovic appears locked in as the starting small forward and the team invested a high lottery pick on Ausar Thompson, who was impressive during Summer League.
- There will also be a competition for playing time in the backcourt, where newly acquired Monte Morris will benefit from his ability to handle either guard position, Sankofa adds. Morris used to play alongside Nikola Jokic in Denver, so he has plenty of experience in moving without the ball. “I ain’t gotta be on the ball all the time, so I’ll be able to play off the ball alongside Cade, kinda like the Jamal Murray role when me and him was in the backcourt together,” Morris said. “Whatever situation they want me to play, I’ve seen it all. I’ve played third, fourth option, second option, all that. I’m just a hooper, bro. I don’t really care.”
- Instead of signing free agents, the Pistons used most of this year’s cap money to trade for Harris and Morris, who both have expiring contracts, notes Marlowe Alter of The Detroit Free Press. Detroit is projected to have more than $50MM in cap space next summer, and the 2024/25 season will be the final year before Cunningham’s expected extension kicks in.