With the playoffs out of reach, the Pistons will give plenty of opportunities to young players for the rest of the season, according to Keith Langlois of NBA.com. That includes Derrick Walton Jr. and Donta Hall, who are both on 10-day contracts, as well as Khyri Thomas, who returned to Detroit’s lineup last night for the first time since breaking his foot in November. Langlois notes that coach Dwane Casey used all 12 available players in the first 18 minutes of a loss in Denver.
“I know we’ve got a lot of youth,” Casey said. “I thought we were in (G League) Grand Rapids a couple of times, but that’s part of the deal.”
The Pistons’ direction for the second half of the season was set when Blake Griffin underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in early January. The organization committed to building for the future, sending Andre Drummond to Cleveland at the trade deadline and reaching a buyout with Reggie Jackson last week. Derrick Rose is the only player left on the roster who is older than 30, Langlois notes.
There’s more from Detroit:
- Hall played 15 minutes Tuesday and showed why the Pistons gave him an opportunity as an undrafted free agent last summer, Langlois adds in the same piece. Hall could have a steady role next season as a rim protector who brings energy off the bench. “Really was impressed with Donta,” Casey said after the game. “Came over a couple of times in the first half, great verticality.”
- John Henson, who was acquired from the Cavaliers in the Drummond trade, may have a future in Detroit beyond this season if he’s willing to accept a veteran’s minimum deal, suggests Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Henson is shooting 68% from the field since coming to Detroit and provides an experienced presence in the locker room. Christian Wood will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and Beard notes that Thon Maker may be unrestricted as well if the Pistons elect not to make a qualifying offer.
- Detroit turned away a trade inquiry from the Lakers about Rose and intends to bring him back next season, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on a recent Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to Real GM). He added that there’s “no chance” the Pistons will seek a buyout on the second season of Rose’s two-year, $15MM contract.