Marvin Bagley III

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Diallo, Draft, Bagley

James Wiseman has received plenty of playing time since being traded from Golden State to the Pistons. The early results from the No. 2 overall pick of the 2020 draft have generally been positive, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes in a subscriber-only story.

Wiseman is averaging 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 24.5 minutes through his first six games with the Pistons. Coach Dwane Casey said Wiseman is still early in the learning process.

“Let’s keep it simple,” Casey said. “Eventually we’ll do that. We’ve got to go through the process of elementary, middle school, high school and eventually he’ll get there. Like everything else, everybody wants him to be All-Pro and where we are right now, that’s not going to happen. He will eventually get there at some point on both ends of the floor.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • There’s no guarantee Detroit will retain reserve wing and impending unrestricted free agent Hamidou Diallo, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes in his latest mailbag. Diallo has established himself as a energetic rotation piece but if the club has an opportunity to significantly upgrade the roster via free agency or trade, Diallo will likely not be retained, according to Edwards, who doesn’t see Diallo getting a big raise from his current two-year, $10.4MM deal.
  • The Pistons will almost assuredly have a top-seven selection and Sankofa predicts which player they’d select at each of those draft slots. If the Pistons slide beyond the top five, Sankofa opines they’ll go for either Arkansas’ Anthony Black or Houston’s Jarace Walker.
  • Marvin Bagley III has cracked the 20-point mark in three of four games since returning from a fractured hand that sidelined him for nearly two months. Bagley has also averaged 13 rebounds in that span. He had 20 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks against Cleveland on Saturday. “Marvin played with as much force as he’s played since he’s been here,” Casey said. “Really proud the way he played. The amount of force he played with was really impressive against two of the top big men in the league.”

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Draft, Bagley, Ivey, Duren

The Pistons gambled on James Wiseman‘s potential, trading away steady forward Saddiq Bey in the process, and they’re confident he’ll be part of their future, Keith Langlois of writes.

Coach Dwane Casey said the staff is working on the “little things” to maximize Wiseman’s growth.

“He has all the athletic skills,” Casey said. “The length, the size and that’s something that’s helped our defense, having that deterrent at the rim, that 7-footer at the rim to block shots. He’s done a good job of that. Just now learning all the little things, footwork in the post, not letting them push him off his sweet spot in the post. Command your spot. That’s what the coaches now are working on him with that.”

Wiseman had 23 points and seven rebounds in a loss to Charlotte on Monday.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • So what will the Pistons do if they don’t win the lottery and the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes? James Edwards III of The Athletic explores that scenario, predicting which players the team would select in the 2-6 range. Edwards still sees Detroit taking Scoot Henderson at No. 2 despite drafting guards Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey in the lottery the past three years. However, other teams would make significant trade offers to the Pistons if they get the No. 2 pick, Edwards notes.
  • Marvin Bagley III erupted for season highs of 21 points and 18 rebounds against Toronto on Saturday after he missed nearly two months due to a fractured right hand. After re-signing Bagley last summer, the Pistons want to see more of that on a consistent basis, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press writes. “He told on himself when he got 18 rebounds,” Casey said. “So now we’re looking for 18 rebounds (Monday) night, the next night, the next night, or close to it. Let’s be consistent.”
  • Ivey missed Monday’s game due to personal reasons,, Sankofa tweets. Fellow rookie Jalen Duren missed his second straight game with ankle soreness. Bojan Bogdanovic (Achilles soreness) and Isaiah Stewart (hip) also sat out.

Pistons Notes: Wiseman, Hampton, Cunningham, Grant, Bagley

The Pistons have been out of the playoff race for a long time, but they still have some important work to do in their final 23 games, observes Keith Langlois of Part of that mission includes seeing what they have in a pair of reclamation projects who were once considered elite draft prospects.

James Wiseman was acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline, but because a health issue involving Gary Payton II held up the deal, Wiseman only appeared in one game before the All-Star break. He displayed a glimpse of the potential that caused Golden State to take him with the No. 2 pick in 2020, posting 11 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes.

Detroit has to determine how Wiseman can fit with the team’s other young big men. He has been used exclusively at center during his brief NBA career, but Langlois believes the Pistons will want to test out a lineup with Wiseman at power forward alongside rookie center Jalen Duren. The addition of another seven-footer seems to indicate that Isaiah Stewart will now be used primarily at power forward, Langlois adds.

Detroit will reportedly sign R.J. Hampton sometime after he clears waivers on Thursday. Hampton hasn’t made an impact in his first two NBA stops, but he’s only 22 and a rebuilding team like the Pistons could give him an opportunity for regular playing time.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Cade Cunningham is still recovering from season-ending shin surgery in December, but the Pistons are optimistic about his long-term prognosis, Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press writes in a mailbag column. Cunningham hasn’t been cleared to play 5-on-5 yet, but team officials believe he’ll be ready for full summer workouts once the season ends. Sankofa notes that Cunningham has been dealing with soreness in his left shin for several years, so there’s hope that he’ll be pain-free next season.
  • Jerami Grant could become a target for the Pistons in free agency, Sankofa adds. Grant, who Detroit traded to the Trail Blazers last summer, hasn’t decided on a four-year, $112MM extension offer from Portland. If he turns it down, Sankofa sees Grant as an obvious target for general manager Troy Weaver, who could have up to $40MM in cap space to work with this offseason.
  • Marvin Bagley III participated in most of Wednesday’s practice and coach Dwane Casey said he’s close to returning, Sankofa tweets. Bagley has missed the past 19 games after having surgery on his right hand.

Injury Notes: O. Robinson, Williamson, Bagley, Beal

Heat backup center Orlando Robinson has only missed two games since fracturing his right thumb on January 31 in Cleveland, but the rookie big man is ready to return. Robinson said that he plans to suit up on Wednesday after receiving positive news from a doctor and testing out the thumb in practice, tweets Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

The Heat have listed Robinson as probable on their injury report for Wednesday, so it sounds like the team is comfortable having him play. Udonis Haslem and Dewayne Dedmon each spent one game as Miami’s backup center in Robinson’s absence, but Dedmon has since been traded and Haslem will almost certainly remain out of the rotation as long as Robinson’s good to go.

The injury news isn’t all positive for the Heat, however. Victor Oladipo (right ankle sprain) has been ruled out for a third consecutive game, and – as we relayed on TuesdayKyle Lowry will miss at least the next three contests due to knee soreness.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Pelicans head coach Willie Green said on Tuesday that he doesn’t think the team will have its opening night starting five available before the All-Star break, per Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). Currently, four of New Orleans’ five opening night starters are healthy, so Green’s update suggests Zion Williamson (right hamstring strain) won’t be back before All-Star weekend.
  • Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III has progressed to individual work as he makes his way back from surgery on his right hand, tweets James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. The team announced on January 5 that Bagley would be reevaluated in six weeks, so we can probably expect a more concrete update on his progress sometime late next week.
  • After missing the team’s last two games, Wizards star Bradley Beal (left foot soreness) practiced on Tuesday and has been upgraded to questionable for Wednesday’s contest vs. Charlotte, tweets Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma (left ankle sprain), also listed as questionable, didn’t take part in Tuesday’s practice.

Pistons’ Bagley To Miss At Least Six Weeks After Hand Surgery

JANUARY 5, 3:45pm: Bagley underwent successful surgery on Thursday and will be reevaluated in six weeks, per the Pistons.

JANUARY 3, 7:09pm: Bagley has his two broken fingers on his right hand and will likely need surgery, Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports tweets. Bagley is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.

JANUARY 3, 1:57pm: Pistons big man Marvin Bagley III will miss “extended time” after sustaining a right hand injury, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

According to Wojnarowski, Bagley is undergoing additional evaluation to determine next steps, so a recovery timeline has yet to be established.

The injury occurred during the second quarter of the Pistons’ game in Portland on Friday night. Bagley was attempting to post up Blazers wing Keon Johnson and the two players got tangled up battling for position (video link). Bagley immediately grabbed his right hand in apparent pain and was seen grimacing and favoring the hand until he checked out of the game a couple possessions later. He didn’t return.

Bagley, 23, has been a regular rotation player for the Pistons this season after signing a new three-year contract with the team over the summer. In 25 appearances (13 starts), the former No. 2 overall pick has averaged 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per night.

With Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren starting alongside one another for the past few weeks, Bagley has been the first big man off the bench. In his absence, it’s possible that Nerlens Noel, who played six fourth-quarter minutes on Friday, could find his way into the rotation. The Pistons may also lean more heavily on smaller lineups, with reserve forwards like Saddiq Bey and Kevin Knox seeing additional playing time.

Eastern Notes: Williams, Sims, Hartenstein, Nets, Bey, Bagley III

Celtics forward Grant Williams will be a restricted free agent in the summer and Shams Charania said on FanDuel TV (video link) that he’ll attract strong interest. Charania anticipates Williams will receive something in the range of $15-17MM annually on his next deal. If he doesn’t reach an agreement with Boston, the club would have to decide whether to match an offer sheet.

“When you look at the cap space teams in the summer, the Orlandos, the OKCs, the Indianas, those are teams that you can plug a Grant Williams on a team that’s not competitive right now, he can help you with leadership and obviously, on the court as well,” Charania said of the Celtics forward.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • With Obi Toppin sidelined by a leg injury, the Knicks have been using the power combination of Isaiah Hartenstein and Jericho Sims on the second unit. Coach Tom Thibodeau likes what he’s seen from that duo, Fred Katz of The Athletic writes. “I think it gives you rebounding. It gives you size,” Thibodeau said. “It gives you physicality.”
  • The Nets overcame an early 18-point deficit against Toronto and a 19-point deficit at Detroit. That’s not a recipe for long-term success against tougher competition, forward Royce O’Neale told Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “It’s a big challenge for us. So I think we’ve got to raise our level of play,” he said. “The way we’ve been playing sometimes, you know, can’t come out with lack of energy or [focus]. We’ve got to set the tone from the jump and then we’ve just got to execute and control the whole game.”
  • Saddiq Bey and Marvin Bagley III have been moved to the Pistons’ second unit by coach Dwane Casey. It has led to better bench production, though the team has lost six of its last seven after falling to Utah on Tuesday, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News writes. “It’s no disrespect to Saddiq, no disrespect to Marvin at all being in the second unit,” Casey said. “We need that. I love the way our second unit is coming in and changing the game and kind of having an identity, defensively, offensively, some go-to actions that they can click with.”

Central Notes: Pistons, Bey, Turner, Nembhard, Allen

The Pistons have started big men Isaiah Stewart and Marvin Bagley III alongside one another in the frontcourt in each of their last five games, with longtime starting forward Saddiq Bey moving to the bench as Bojan Bogdanovic holds onto his starting spot.

James L. Edwards III of The Athletic believes the two-big lineup will be one that the Pistons use for the foreseeable future, since it fits how they want to play — “bigger and more physically imposing,” as Edwards puts it. Detroit also envisions Stewart and rookie Jalen Duren as its long-term frontcourt of the future, Edwards adds, so it makes sense to get Stewart accustomed to playing next to another big man.

Bey had started 142 consecutive games for the Pistons before being demoted to the bench in the 15th game of the 2022/23 season. The third-year forward’s numbers have dipped this season – his 28.8% mark on three-pointers is by far a career worst – but he’s accepting his new role in stride, as Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscriber link) writes.

“It’s an opportunity to try and help the team win as much as possible,” Bey said. “Whatever role the team needs me to do, I’m ready to do. It’s me walking the walk. This is the role (head coach Dwane Casey) needs me to do to help us win and I’m just going to try and contribute as much as I can and just play hard.”

For what it’s worth, Casey said that he still looks at Bey “as a starter” even though he’s currently asking him to be the primary scoring option for that second unit.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • It’s still unclear whether or not Myles Turner has a future in Indiana beyond this season, but the Pacers center seems to be enjoying himself and is more consistently engaged than he ever has been in the past, according to Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star (subscription required). “I’m having a great time,” Turner said. “My main focus is to come out and help this team win. I can sit and talk (about my future) in general all I want to, but that’s not what’s going to help this team win.”
  • In a separate article for The Indianapolis Star, Dopirak writes that Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard “desperately wanted” Andrew Nembhard in the 2022 draft despite his modest college numbers. Nembhard is making Pritchard look good so far, enjoying the best game of his young career on Monday when he racked up 31 points, 13 assists, and eight rebounds in a road win at Golden State. Head coach Rick Carlisle recently expressed a belief that the No. 31 pick will end up being a top-12 or top-15 player in this year’s draft class.
  • Spencer Davies of makes the case that center Jarrett Allen is the most crucial part of the Cavaliers‘ success, breaking down his impact on both ends of the court.

Pistons Notes: Stewart, Bagley, Bey, Bogdanovic

Isaiah Stewart has spent most of his young career at center. Pistons coach Dwane Casey believes that will eventually change, Keith Langlois of writes.

“Eventually, he’s going to be a power forward-slash-center – the other way around,” Casey said. “He’s developing into that because he can guard all five positions. So now the last part to come out is his 3-point shooting.”

That process began when Marvin Bagley III, who just returned last week from a knee injury, replaced Saddiq Bey in the lineup on Monday. However, Stewart exited the contest against Toronto with a right big toe sprain, just before the start of a road trip, and will be sidelined for a minimum of two weeks.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Casey wanted to go with a two-big lineup because the team has struggled to rebound and defend due to a lack of size around Stewart, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. Bagley gives the first unit a true vertical threat for the backcourt of Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham, though Cunningham is currently nursing a shin injury.
  • With Stewart out, Edwards anticipates that Bey will return to the starting five.
  • Bojan Bogdanovic has boosted the offense with his perimeter shooting but may need to pick his spots more judiciously as a creator, Edwards notes in the same piece. He had five turnovers in Monday’s loss, four the previous game and seven in a game against the Bucks last week. Yet he’s averaging just 1.9 assists per night.
  • Bagley was re-signed to a three-year contract this summer and tried to use his time wisely after suffering the knee sprain during the preseason, Langlois writes in a separate story. “I was really focused and locked in,” he said. “My main goal was to stay locked in throughout the whole time – practices, on the bench during games, just being ready. The day (his injury) happened, I didn’t know how long I was going to be out but once I got the timeline I was going to be out, I just mentally prepared for it and now I’m back, ready to play.”

Central Notes: Beauchamp, Nwora, Dosunmu, Mitchell, Bagley

Rookie MarJon Beauchamp has looked ready for his opportunity as he moved into the Bucks‘ starting lineup this week, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Beauchamp played just 12 total minutes in his first six games, but injuries to other players have expanded his role. In Wednesday’s double overtime win at Oklahoma City, he was on the court for nearly 30 minutes, scoring 19 points, and he followed that up with 34 minutes Friday night.

“It’s not a perfect process,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “It’s hard. He’s probably confused at times and hears probably multiple (things) – hopefully not from me. I would say right now we’re more in the mindset of encouraging him to be aggressive and find ways to impact the game and not just be in the corners (offensively). Because it is going to naturally happen. You’ll get to that and it’s important that you’re good and your footwork in the corners is good and your ability to read closeouts in the corners is good, but he’s also, we feel like can help us and give us more.”

The absence of Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton has also opened up more minutes for Jordan Nwora, who re-signed with the Bucks shortly before training camp began in September.

“Honestly it’s more just the hustle and effort all around, just playing a lot harder than I have in the years past,” Nwora said. “Not just on the offensive end but on the other side of the ball, running in transition. Not just chucking up shots, trying to find people on offense when I’m playing with those guys (the starters).”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Last season’s frustrating playoff performance inspired Bulls guard Ayo Dosunmu to improve his game during the offseason, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The Bucks swarmed DeMar DeRozan during their first-round series and dared Chicago’s other players to beat them from the outside. No one could deliver, as the Bulls shot just 28.3% from three-point range for the series and Dosunmu was 3-of-13. “I always want to get better,” said Dosunmu, who’s connecting at 38.3% on three-pointers this season. “So far I’ve prepared myself being shot-ready at all times. I try to take all the open shots. I try to get downhill, play to my strengths, playmake. But when the three is open, I’ve really been focusing on that.
  • Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Timberwolves due to a right ankle strain, tweets Chris Fedor of Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade are also questionable, and there are concerns that Wade might have bursitis in his right knee (Twitter link).
  • Marvin Bagley III, who suffered a sprained MCL and bone bruise in his right knee during the preseason, could return for the Pistons tonight, according to Keith Langlois of (Twitter link). After playing Friday night for the first time this season, Alec Burks is listed as questionable.

And-Ones: Breakout Candidates, Wembanyama, Thornwell

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype polled 20 NBA executives on their top three breakout candidates for the 2022/23 season and found that Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey was the most popular pick. While I’d argue that last season represented a breakout year for Maxey, some executives have far higher expectations for him going forward.

“Maxey’s going to be better than James Harden,” one general manager said to Scotto. “He just keeps getting better and better and will be a huge reason why they have success this season.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Magic forward Franz Wagner, and Rockets guard Jalen Green were among the other popular breakout picks, based on the responses Scotto got from executives. Interestingly, Warriors big man James Wiseman and Pistons forward/center Marvin Bagley III were each picked as this year’s top breakout candidate by one GM.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In his latest look at the top prospects in the 2023 NBA draft class, David Aldridge of The Athletic passes along several entertaining quotes from NBA executives, including one Eastern Conference exec’s response to whether Scoot Henderson could surpass Victor Wembanyama as next year’s No. 1 pick: “Scoot’s good, but, no. Short of Wembanyama having murdered somebody, there’s just no way.”
  • Veteran guard Sindarius Thornwell has signed with Frutti Extra Bursasport, the Turkish team announced this week (via Twitter). Thornwell has appeared in 160 total NBA games and played for New Orleans and Atlanta in 2020/21, but wasn’t in the league last season.
  • Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown, who officiated over 1,100 games, including one in the 2020 NBA Finals, passed away on Thursday after a fight with pancreatic cancer, according to his family (story via