Pistons Notes: Thompson, Hayes, Bagley, Livers

Pistons rookie Ausar Thompson looked worthy of being a starter in his first preseason game, writes James L. Edwards of The Athletic. The 20-year-old small forward replaced Jaden Ivey in the starting lineup for Sunday’s overtime loss to Phoenix and posted 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in 39 minutes. He also drew a tough defensive assignment, guarding Devin Booker for most of the afternoon.

Coach Monty Williams was impressed by what he saw from Thompson, but pointed out areas where he needs to improve.

“He’s got to play with force all game,” Williams said. “I thought there were times when he thought he was in position, and I got to show him on the film that if he sprinted to the spot and used his athletic ability to shift out as opposed to walking to the backside of the defense … he’s going to be much better.”

Ivey had an efficient game off the bench, scoring 15 points while shooting 5-of-8 from the field and 3-for-6 beyond the arc. Williams told reporters not to read too much into Sunday’s lineup decision, but Edwards observes that Thompson and Ivey will likely compete for the final starting spot once Bojan Bogdanovic returns from a right calf strain that kept him out Sunday.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Killian Hayes followed up a strong camp with an impressive performance in the preseason opener, Edwards adds. The fourth-year guard, who will be competing for minutes in a crowded backcourt, registered 13 points, seven assists and five steals in 21 minutes. Monte Morris didn’t play Sunday due to injury, and Hayes took advantage of the chance to show Williams that he’s deserving of a spot in the rotation.
  • Sunday’s game didn’t do anything to clear up the rotation in the frontcourt, notes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Before starting center Jalen Duren sprained his right ankle in the first half, James Wiseman was the only big man to come off the bench. After the intermission, Marvin Bagley III scored 25 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 22 minutes. “He just came in and played with a great deal of force,” Williams said of Bagley. “His dives were productive. He wasn’t putting the ball down in traffic. Defensively, I thought he did a much better job calling out screening actions which helped our guards out. For him to sit over there and come in and have an effect says a lot about his mindset and discipline to stay locked in.”
  • Isaiah Livers is likely to see regular minutes when he returns from his sprained ankle, Edwards states in a mailbag column. He notes that Lively can handle either forward spot, and Williams seemed impressed with him before the injury.
View Comments (5)