Basketball

Detroit Pistons Season Preview

Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons’ NBA basketball draft selections Cade Cunningham, from left, Isaiah Livers, Luka Garza and Balsa Koprivica are introduced in Detroit, Friday, July 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Detroit Pistons are coming off a year of change. Troy Weaver took over as the GM last offseason and brought immediate change to the roster. He was aggressive in his first offseason and draft and all the change left fans hopeful for the future of the Detroit Pistons. Then, the Pistons won the lottery and Cade Cunningham sweepstakes, leaving this team with a ton of potential, and a visible timeline for the future. The 2021 season may not lead to a lot of wins, but will be crucial for the development of the young talent in Detroit.

2021 Draft

Starting with the 2021 Draft, the Pistons were able to grab a lot of talent with their four picks. The draft class consists of the consensus #1 overall player in Cade Cunningham, 2 time National Player of the Year Luka Garza, longtime Michigan standout Isaiah Livers, and 7 footer Balša Koprivica. Garza and Cunningham both were named All-Summer League Second Team and will have huge roles on the Pistons for years to come. Cunningham showed off his leadership and talent throughout the summer league. Garza slimmed down about 30 pounds and played quicker because of that. These two will be huge immediate contributors, with Livers and Koprivica fighting for roles this upcoming season.

Free Agency

The Pistons were pretty quiet in free agency, which should be expected fro a rebuilding team. The moves Weaver did make were puzzling, though. Four of the eight signings were players over 30, with Kelly Olynyk being the headliner in this free agent class. Investing $37 million over the next three years for a 30 year old backup just didn’t make sense to me. The re-signing of Hamidou Diallo, Frank Jackson, and Saben Lee were plus signings, as they’re all young and played well last season. Overall, no one should’ve been expecting any splash signings from Weaver this offseason. In a few years when the young talent develops, some stars could come to Motor City, though.

Existing Talent

The roster going into the offseason is headlined by Jerami Grant. The Most Improved Player candidate had a breakout year as the main guy last season. He showed what he could do with a prominent role on a team, and should be the leader this season. The 2020 Draft Class featured some studs, too. Saddiq Bey was named to All-Rookie First Team and carved out a starting role early last year. Isaiah Stewart was an All-Rookie Second Teamer and is basically Ben Wallace with a 3, in my opinion. He will be a tough assignment in the league for years to come. Killian Hayes was supposed to headline this class but couldn’t play most of last season due to injury. He’s back this year and had an encouraging Summer League.

Prediciton

So what does this all mean? When watching the 2021 Pistons, score is not what’s gonna be important, development is. The most important thing for this year is getting the young guys playing well together and setting up success for the next few years. Expect another lottery pick season for the Pistons, but a lot of fun games. This year may be the start of an NBA powerhouse, so stay optimistic Pistons fans. Believe in Troy Weaver!

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