The Detroit Pistons were very bad in the 2020-21 NBA Season. And this was probably by design. They traded the entire roster over the course of the past two seasons, as pretty much the full roster was brand new by season’s end. It is not the worst thing for them, but the best.
Sekou Doumbouya was their selection in the 2019 NBA Draft. He is the longest-tenured guy they have. All three of their first-round picks from a season ago showed out at times in their rookie year, setting the team up for good years. Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and Killian Hayes all have a lot of potentials.
But most importantly, Jerami Grant was sensational in his first year as a Piston. And now, they have the #1 pick. Cade Cunningham is the likely selection. This duo is going to be electric.
Taking the Next Step
The Pistons have not been good for a long time. They have not won a playoff game since they had their championship core of Billups-Hamilton-Prince-Wallace-Wallace. They have been swept out of the playoffs in each of their last three appearances. Two of those were by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the other one was by the Milwaukee Bucks.
There has been plenty of turmoil, coach firings, and bad draft picks. This is the chance to get it right. The East is pretty loaded, but they should be able to compete for a play-in spot. They will have as good of a young-core as anybody in the East within a few years, as the guys start to develop.
Grant, having now been here for a year, knows what Detroit’s like. And Mason Plumlee will be a tremendous mentor for Isaiah Stewart, as well as a trade chip come the deadline. Cade is ready to be a starter from day one, so the team will have a big lineup with Bey at the SG spot.
All of this being said, the key to the team having a good year will be continuity. Clearly, they believe in Dwane Casey as the coach. So, how will he prepare them? They need to play hard every night and stay in most games.
Projecting Cade and Grant’s Numbers
Realistically speaking, Cade is going to compete for the rookie of the year award. By his standards, he’ll have to win it in a landslide. It won’t be that simple, given all of the great players entering the league with him. But it is doable.
A possible statline of 13-4-8 could be in the cards for Cunningham. Even with Killian Hayes starting at PG, plenty of reps and ball-handling opportunities will exist. And with Cade’s ability to find the open man, that will be nothing. He will not always be a score-first guy, but 13 points is probably the worst he’ll put up.
Grant will probably see his numbers drop a bit, but a 20-7-3 line could be in play for him. He can get to his spots and make shots. He’s going to throw down a lot of hammers. And in transition, he’ll be tough to stop when he’s barreling down the lane.
Together, Grant and Cunningham will be electric. There will be highlights every night. And the league is going to be put on notice.