The Detroit Pistons’ biggest offseason move was the most predictable. They drafted Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State first overall. The Pistons have a collection of young, promising talent. Also, they parted ways with Blake Griffin via buyout. Veterans Derrick Rose and Mason Plumlee were traded away.
Detroit Pistons 2021-22 NBA Season Preview
The 2020-21 Season
To no one’s surprise, the previous season was terrible for the Pistons. Career role player Jerami Grant was the primary option for the team. He had a hot start to the season. There were times that he looked like All-Star Pascal Siakam with fewer spin moves. Grant slowed down and became more inefficient after the All-Star break though.
Rookie Killian Hayes had an injury-riddled season and only played in 26 games. There is much room for improvement, but his playmaking and perimeter defense stood out. Saddiq Bey proved to be a competent shooter while taking a significant number of shots. If he could round out his game more, he would be a valuable asset to the team. Big man Isaiah Stewart made the most of his limited minutes. Stewart projects to be a consistent, double-double machine, who can protect the paint. He has a clear path to starter minutes.
Detroit finished with the league’s second-worst record at 20-52. They were only outdone by the 17-55 post-James Harden Houston Rockets.
Detroit Pistons Offseason
The front office did not make any big splashes. After all, the team is in rebuild more and leaning toward the youth movement.
Kelly Olynyk was signed in free agency to a three-year contract. He brings outside shooting, size and experience. When given the opportunity, he can stuff the stat sheet as he did in Houston. His usage should be more limited to though to allow the younger players to develop.
Trey Lyles was added for frontcourt depth.
Hamidou Diallo returned to the team. The 23-year old has been in the NBA for three seasons. Similar to teammate Josh Jackson, he has the physical tools to succeed. It is just a matter of stringing together consistent performances.
Cunningham was the consensus top prospect in this year’s draft. He is a point guard in a forward’s body. A pick-and-roll of him and Stewart is going to be fun to watch. Cunningham can comfortably score anywhere, even the post. While he will most likely have the keys to the offense, he is still a threat off-ball. He can be a disruptive defender with his size and high basketball IQ. Cunningham is a natural leader and has the ability to turn the franchise around.
Next Season’s Expectations
Next season will still be a rough season for the Pistons. There is a chance they finish with a better record, but even a play-in spot is not realistic. The East is more competitive than before.
Cunningham has a big chance of winning the Rookie of the Year award. His presence should open up the floor for Grant. Hopefully, Hayes stays healthy and continues to develop.
Next season will be more rebuilding and figuring out, who are the building blocks of the future.
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