Third-year Pistons guard R.J. Hampton is slowly finding his place within his new team, writes Mike Curtis of The Detroit News (subscription required).
Hampton has earned significant playing time since arriving in Detroit last month following injuries to guards Killian Hayes and Alec Burks. He got off to a slow start, but with a bump in minutes over the past four contests, he is averaging 10.0 PPG on 48% field goal shooting, 2.3 RPG, 1.5 APG, and 1.3 SPG.
“I always tell myself, ‘When you put a pizza in the oven, you don’t like what it looks like after 20 seconds,'” Hampton told Curtis. “You gotta let it cook for a minute. You take it out the oven once it cooks and then you eat your pizza… I’m finding my footing here and kind of understanding my role, what I want it to be.”
There’s more out of the Central Division:
- New Pistons addition James Wiseman is stringing together the best basketball in his NBA career thus far, Curtis writes in a subscriber-only mailbag for The Detroit News. Curtis also addresses questions on the free agency of Hamidou Diallo and the exact extent of Detroit’s player injuries.
- Bulls starting point guard Patrick Beverley, an unrestricted free agent this summer, would like to remain with his hometown team beyond the 2022/23 season, writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Thinking about staying in a place long term, stuff like that, that’s not really up to your control,” Beverley noted. “I’d like to think that I did all the right things when I was in Minnesota, and I was traded the next summer. So you can’t get caught up in what you can’t control.”
- Bucks team general manager Jon Horst recently reflected on how the team has made subtle roster enhancements since injuries and depth issues hampered their title defense in 2022, according to Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “As proud as I was, or we were, of our team last year – that’s sincere and genuine – it’s hard, it’s hard to defend a championship,” Horst told Owczarski. “We were right there. We had a chance. And that’s all you ask for every year… And we went into the summer, the offseason, like ‘we’ve got to get better… These teams are good, we’re like ‘we’ve got to get better, we’ve got to load up.’ So, really what we did is we loaded up.”