Detroit Pistons: Roster locks and bubble boys

Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 07: Saddiq Bey #41 of the Villanova Wildcats is now a lock to be part of the Detroit Pistons. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Those with the Golden Ticket: Locks

With the Detroit Pistons coming off a season where they went, 20-46, and the general manager had gotten rid of 13 of the 17 players who were on the roster last year, no one should be truly safe.

But, thanks to large guaranteed contracts, past individual performances and the way they have been used by coach Dwane Casey in the exhibition season, there is a section of the preseason roster who can be safely called locks to make the team.

In order, starting from ‘cold stone lock’ on down, here is the list of players you should count on being in Minnesota on December 23 for the NBA season opener:

Blake Griffin

There are 36,595,996 reasons that Griffin will make the team. That is how many dollars the 6-foot-9 forward is owed for the this season.  After missing most of last year with a knee injury, Griffin has looked spry so far and should be the Pistons best player.

Derrick Rose

If Griffin is Detroit’s top player, Rose is top player A-2. The 6-2 guard is a former league MVP, and showed a lot of his old form from last season. So far, he looks just as good. Rose will also serve an important role as a mentor to rookie point guard Killian Hayes.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose looks to lead young team in year 13. light

Jerami Grant

The former Nugget has not looked great since signing a three-year, $60 million deal to go to Detroit. But there is no way Detroit is letting a guy go who, besides giving a lot of money, management has made a major investment in the 6-9 forward being a success. There will be egg on faces at the Performance Center if Grant does not live up to his contract.

Killian Hayes

The only rookie who will most likely be in the starting lineup, the 19-year-old Frenchman will be the point guard for what the Pistons hope for many years to come. The No. 7 overall pick in the NBA Draft has taken his lumps in the preseason, but he is looked upon as a cornerstone player for the franchise.

Sekou Doumbouya

If you had been away on a desert island and Sunday was the first Pistons game you had seen in a year, you would probably think ‘Wow, I didn’t know this Doumbouya guy was the star of the team’.  He was very impressive in the second Knicks game. It will be interesting to see how he does against the Wizards, where he will face Rui Hachimura. But he is definitely on the team.

Saddiq Bey

The Pistons gave up a lot, to get the No. 19 pick in the draft, and select the 6-8 swingman from Villanova. In the first game against the Knicks, it looked well worth it, as he scored 14 points. In the rematch, he did not stand out as much. But Bey is a solid player and he will never kill you when he is on the floor. If his shot is not falling, he can help in other ways, like defense and rebounding. He is not going anywhere.

Isaiah Stewart

The 6-foot-10 center is perfect for the Motor City, as he has a motor that never stops. In action against the Knicks, Stewart seemed to be constantly running or jumping. The phrase ‘pace yourself’ is something he has not heard. He still needs some work, particularly on offense. But, as the No. 16 pick in the draft, the Pistons will give him time to develop. It is not like Detroit is short on centers and have to rush him into action.

Svi Mykhailiuk

Last year, the Pistons did not have a lot of anything, except shooters. They had a lot of guys who could knock down the ‘3’ – but most of them are now gone. Mykhailiuk is one of the few on the roster, who is enough of a threat from the outside , that opponents will respect his shot. He will open things up for a frontline that likes to post up. The only question with the 6-foot-7 guard is, will he start or be off the bench.

Mason Plumlee

He was a backup center with the West finalist Denver Nuggets but started the two games against the Knicks. How did he look? Like a backup center on a good team. His stats are not eye-popping (7.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists) but the 6-11 veteran does a lot of the little things, like setting picks and passing the ball. With a three-year, $25 million contract, no one is taking that off the Pistons hands , if, they really wanted to deal him.

These guys are all in. But there are other guys who could be cut, traded or buried, so deep on the bench that you forget they are on the team if they do not show soon they belong on the court.