Before the Pistons can take a leap in the win column and contend for the postseason, the team will need its young role players to improve in their development. Mike Curtis of The Detroit News identifies power forward Marvin Bagley III — the former No. 2 lottery pick in 2018 — athletic wing Hamidou Diallo, and center Isaiah Stewart as three such role players capable of growing their games in 2022/23.
Curtis thinks that Bagley could become a reliable option in the post if he can stay healthy next year. Curtis also opines that Diallo could see his standing in the Detroit hierarchy improve if he grows as a long-range shooter. Stewart’s three-point output has been limited in the last two seasons. He has connected on 33% of his 0.8 attempts thus far in his NBA career. Curtis writes that the 6’8″ big man showed off an increased willingness to let fly from outside during two Summer League contests with Detroit in Las Vegas this year. Overall, Stewart shot 5-of-9 from outside.
There’s more out of the Motor City:
- The Pistons may still be holding out hope that they can use the expiring $9.2MM remaining on veteran point guard Kemba Walker‘s current contract in a trade. Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes in a new mailbag that, if such a deal does not materialize in time for the start of NBA training camps later this month, Detroit could move to buy him out of his deal. Elsewhere in the mailbag, Langlois says he considers Isaiah Livers the most likely new addition to the Pistons’ starting lineup this season, and thinks star point guard Cade Cunningham, the top draft pick in 2021, could be in line for All-Star consideration this season if he continues to develop.
- In an interview with Johnny Kane of Bally Sports Detroit (Twitter video link), Pistons head coach Dwane Casey expressed enthusiasm about the team’s ability to grow next season. Casey hailed Cade Cunningham and 2022 No. 5 overall pick Jaden Ivey as “stars to be.” Casey anticipates that the team will at the very least improve from its 23-59 record in 2021/22. “You expect growth,” Casey said (hat tip to Mike Curtis of The Detroit News for the transcription). “The internal growth is very important. One thing [GM] Troy Weaver has done is brought a bunch of young, hard-working, character guys in that have been working all summer. I can see the improvement. The game has slowed down for a guy like Saddiq Bey. You mentioned Cade Cunningham. You mention Isaiah Stewart — all those guys, the game has slowed down for them.”
- The Pistons recently agreed to sign free agent big man Micah Potter to a training camp deal. Get the full details here.