Central Notes: Wiseman, Sasser, Merrill, Bitim

The Pistons are still hoping reserve center James Wiseman can produce on a more consistent basis, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). During his first full season in Detroit, the seven-footer out of Memphis is averaging 5.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 0.6 blocks across 40 appearances. The No. 2 pick in 2020 is now playing just 14.3 minutes per night for a 9-50 Pistons club.

“I just want him to be consistent,” head coach Monty Williams said. “The effort is always there. Communication in defense is improving. We love his presence in pick-and-rolls. We just want to see consistency.”

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • Pistons rookie swingman Marcus Sasser, who’s dealing with a knee injury, is considered probable to suit up for today’s bout with the Magic, reports James L. Edwards III of The Athletic (via Twitter). Edwards notes that, should Sasser actually play, Detroit will field a completely healthy roster for the first time all season.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com wonders if, after scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting – all from long range – during a 110-100 victory over the Pistons on Friday, Cavaliers shooting guard Sam Merrill might have earned further consideration for legitimate rotation minutes. Merrill is already enjoying a career year with Cleveland. In 41 games this year, the Utah State product is averaging a career-best 7.8 PPG on a .435/.435/.917 shooting line, with career highs in rebounds (1.9) and assists (1.5) per game as well.
  • Bulls rookie shooting guard Onuralp Bitim has enjoyed a pair of solid games since being promoted from a two-way contract onto the injury-plagued club’s standard roster. He’s averaging 21.9 minutes across his last two contests and scoring 8.0 PPG on .455/.571/1.000 shooting, along with 5.0 RPG. As Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times details, the 24-year-old was a seasoned pro long before making his NBA debut with Chicago. The 6’6″ wing has been playing with Turkish clubs since he was 19. ‘‘Playing professionally since such a young age helped me a lot because, in the end, basketball is universal,’’ said Bitim, whose parents both suited up for professional Turkish teams. ‘‘[My mom] tells me that I got my IQ and vision from her… My dad says that the athleticism and other things are from him.’’
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