The Detroit Pistons finished last season with one of the worst records in the league. They finished last season with a record of 23-59. This team has been doing its best at rebuilding. Now with some players to build around and better role players, will this team continue the rebuild or start to compete?
Detroit Pistons 2022-23 Season Preview
The Pistons’ rebuild started as early as the 2019-20 season when they finished 20-46. With the seventh overall pick in the 2020 NBA draft, the Pistons took Killian Hayes. So far in his young NBA career, Hayes has yet to truly stand out as a quality rotational guard. Luckily for the Pistons, they were bad the next year and truly got their guy for the future.
That guy is Cade Cunningham. Cunningham is a 6’6″ guard who can play make, score, and rebound at an exceptional level. In Cunningham’s rookie year, he averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.6 assists. He was taken first overall and still shows so much room to grow.
Quality Role Players
The Pistons have been great at drafting later in the draft to bring in quality role players. One of these players is Saddiq Bey. Bey has been a quality 3-and-D player in which he averaged 34.6% from three on 7.4 attempts. He has also shown the ability to rebound the ball at the small forward position, averaging 5.4.
On top of Bey, the Pistons also drafted Isaiah Stewart in the same draft. Stewart last year averaged 8.3 points and 8.7 rebounds. He’s shown he can provide decent defensive protection down low. He also has a giant frame to finish lobs and play as a quality pick-and-role man.
The Pistons have also made trades to bring in more role players. They brought in two young players, Marvin Bagley III and Hamidou Diallo, who can develop with the team. Bagley III is a former second overall pick who didn’t do much with Sacramento but could be decent for Detroit. Last year in 18 games with Detroit, he put up 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Detroit also looked to bring in quality veterans in order to help develop this youth. The Pistons were able to acquire Cory Joseph to play as a backup guard off the bench. He can shoot decently, as he shot 41.4% from three while also providing defense. On top of that, the Pistons brought in Kemba Walker, Nerlens Noel, and Alec Burks from the Knicks. All of these players could fight for minutes on this deep Pistons roster.
The Pistons brought in multiple new rookies to continue their rebuild. The two that should make the most impact are Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey. Duren is a center out of Memphis who should be able to back up Stewart. Duren is a defensive monster, as in college, he averaged 2.1 blocks per game. He had an outstanding block percentage of 9.9% which led the AAC. He also is a quality rebounder averaging 8.1 total rebounds.
Ivey is seen as the future star alongside Cunningham for this team. Ivey was a scoring star for Purdue averaging 17.3 points on solid efficiency. He has a clear gift at being able to isolation score as well as drive to the basket. These skills he portrayed warranted him being drafted at the fifth pick in 2022.
Projections for This Season
This team has a lot of young talent and will hope to continue its rebuild. They also have quality veterans that can help them compete if they hope to do that. The Pistons should no longer look to be a bottom feeder in the league with improvements from Cunningham, yet are too young and inexperienced to compete.
The Pistons can look to jump some of these rebuilding teams in the league and could try and contend for a play-in spot. Realistically, the Pistons won’t make the playoffs but will show improvements from last year. Their biggest goal should be to get a quality draft pick for next year as well as develop young talent. Even if the Pistons aren’t good this year, there’s no doubt they will be exciting.