The Detroit Pistons preseason has come to an end. They ended up going 2-2, splitting both of their two games with the Knicks, and the Wizards. Going 2-2 isn’t terrible, and in just those four games there was plenty to learn about this team. Although, in this article, I will be going over the five main takeaways.
Killian Hayes Looked Exactly as Expected in Detroit Pistons Preseason Debut
First of all, I want to start by saying, if you’re already out on Killian Hayes after just four preseason games, you’re making a mistake. I’ll admit, he didn’t look great in most of the preseason, but that’s exactly what I expected. In my article I previously wrote on Hayes, I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he looked a little rough to start the season.
He’s a young prospect that doesn’t have elite athleticism to lean on. Generally, those types of players take some time adjusting to the NBA’s speed. Hayes looked like he was being rushed, and it led to him looking sloppy at times and shooting an abysmal 28.6 FG%.
Despite the poor play, I’m still as in on Hayes as I was before the preseason. And to say he showed no good flashes would just be unfair. His defense was a lot better than I thought it would be, and you could tell his confidence was growing through each game. Hayes absolutely still has the chance to be a really good NBA player and the steal of the draft.
Confidence in Dwane Casey is falling
The main thing I didn’t like about Dwane Casey this preseason was his offense. It was a lot of isolations and bad shots. There were very few plays called and not much ball movement. I understand that’s not all on Casey, but as the head coach, he’s the main guy to blame.
Another thing I didn’t like about Casey was his rotations. Besides Killian Hayes, none of the rookies were getting real minutes. In four games, Saddiq Bey averaged 11.7 MPG, Isaiah Stewart averaged 6.3 MPG, and Saben Lee averaged 6.6 MPG. Why did they play so little?! It’s the preseason! Bey especially should be getting legitimate minutes. I also don’t like his tendency of leaving the same five guys on the floor for long stretches of time, even if they aren’t playing well. He did the same thing last season. It bothered me then, and it bothers me now.
Despite all this, I still don’t think the Pistons should fire Dwane Casey, not yet at least. There’s no dispute that Casey is a very accomplished coach. Although, I have my questions about him being able to develop and lead a rebuilding team in the modern NBA. Let’s just say I’ll be watching him very closely this season.
The defense was really good
Throughout the entire preseason, the Pistons’ defense was really good. In fact, they had the league’s best defensive rating, at 89.1. Although, two of the four games were against the Knicks so you have to take that with a grain of salt. Despite that, the defense was still impressive.
The main guy who stood out to me defensively was Delon Wright. The Pistons acquired him this offseason, and as of right now it’s looking like a smart acquisition. It seemed like every other possession he was making a play. Whether it was getting in the passing lanes, diving on the floor for a loose ball, or playing really good on-ball defense. Wright looked great, and I hope he and this defense can continue to play well throughout the season.
The big free-agent signings were underwhelming offensively
Jerami Grant, and Mason Plumlee both got paid in a big way by the Pistons this offseason. So, as a Pistons fan, you would like to see them both perform well. Neither were bad defensively, but they were both disappointing on the offensive end.
Grant, in four games, averaged 10.8 PPG, 0.5 APG, and shot 29.3% from the field, 35% from deep on 5 attempts a game, and 70.6% from the free-throw line. The 3-point percentage isn’t terrible, but the FG% and lack of assists are. I don’t expect Grant to be that bad this season, but he could definitely struggle in his new role, especially early. Grant is a player that the Pistons are going to need to lean on this season, and if he plays as poorly as he did in the preseason, things could get bad really fast.
Plumlee, who has quickly adopted the nickname “Bumlee” by Pistons fans, didn’t look too good offensively either. In the four games, he averaged 5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, and shot 60% from the field, and 40% from the free-throw line. Now, Plumlee has never been a big scorer, but you would like a little more from him. Although, I didn’t think his passing ability was used enough. I would like to see Casey implement that more in the offense.
I believe both Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee would benefit a lot with more ball movement in the offense. I wouldn’t describe either of them as good isolation players, and isolations seemed to be a big part of the offensive system. We can’t put all of the blame on them for their poor play.
Another thing to remember is, this was just four games, and both of these guys are on a new team. We have to give them some more time before we start calling them bad offensive players.
This team is going to be bad this season
I hate to say it, but this is a bad team. Yes, the defense was promising, but as I said previously, you have to take it with a grain of salt. I still believe they’ll be a solid defensive team. Just nowhere near number one, and probably not even top ten.
Offensively, they were just bad. I’ve already gone over most of my concerns with the offense, but what I haven’t talked about yet is Blake Griffin. He didn’t look good at all. He was really inefficient, and you could just tell he’s lost a step. If their star player is going to struggle offensively along with all the other stuff, you could be looking at one of the league’s worst offenses.
I’m not trying to be a downer or a hater, I’m just trying to be real. If you’re looking forward to a winning Pistons team this season, you should stop. Instead, you should look for what I’m looking for. Good seasons from the young guys and no more bad trades from the front office. If that can happen, it would be a step in the right direction for this franchise.
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