Pistons Notes: Hayes, Umude, Duren, Bagley

Pistons point guard Killian Hayes saw his name pop in trade rumors this offseason after Detroit added first-round pick Marcus Sasser and veteran Monte Morris to an already crowded backcourt that also includes Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Alec Burks. In August, multiple reporters suggested Hayes could be moved before the 2023/24 season begins.

While the season doesn’t start for another couple weeks, Hayes has certainly helped himself to this point with a strong training camp and preseason, writes James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. In addition to drawing praise from head coach Monty Williams, the 22-year-old is averaging 14.5 PPG, 5.0 APG and 3.0 SPG while shooting 57.1% from the field in two preseason contests (23.8 MPG).

Morris has yet to play due to a back injury, which has opened up minutes. But even when he returns, Edwards believes Hayes should — and probably will — have a rotation role when Detroit’s season tips off on October 25 in Miami.

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Second-year wing Stanley Umude is another young player who has impressed during preseason, tweets Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Umude, who is on a non-guaranteed training camp contract, is averaging 15.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 2.0 APG on .667/.600/1.000 shooting in just 19.8 MPG through two games. As Langlois notes, the Pistons have an open two-way slot and Umude is making a case for a promotion. The 24-year-old spent the majority of last season playing for Detroit’s G League affiliate, the Motor City Cruise, though he did appear in one NBA game after receiving a 10-day contract in February.
  • Jalen Duren put an early end to a potential competition for the starting center position, and he’s ready to show more of his “unlimited ceiling” in his second season, according to Langlois of Pistons.com. “The feel with the ball, the touch, the passing,” Williams said of Duren’s atypical big man skills. “His (dribble-handoff) game is pretty advanced for a young player. He knows how to get off the DHO, drop the ball and still screen and that’s something it takes kids a few years to understand how to do that consistently. I’ve heard he was always big, so it befuddles me when you look at him and you see the guard skills. You’re like, ‘Where did he get that?’ He has the ability to get down in a guard-like position when he’s dribbling the ball. We’re going to try some things, give him the ball in the full court and let him go off of rebounds. Tell everybody, get out of there. Because he does have that ability.”
  • Marvin Bagley III, who is competing with James Wiseman for backup center minutes, had a strong showing on Sunday in the team’s first preseason game against Phoenix. As Omari Sankofa of The Detroit Free Press writes (subscriber link), injuries and consistency have been an issue for Bagley, which Williams acknowledged. “I think he would agree that he’s looking for consistency in his career,” the head coach said. “The number two pick, a lot of acclaim, a lot of talent, and at this point in his career he’s looking for consistency. And that’s what I’m looking for.” Williams also praised Bagley’s defensive communication.
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