Detroit Pistons: Every player’s true New Year’s resolution

Dec 17, 2020; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) scuffles as Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23), top center, smiles at him during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Washington. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wass/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 17, 2020; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards center Thomas Bryant (13) scuffles as Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23), top center, smiles at him during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, in Washington. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wass/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey
Dec 28, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (41). Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports. /

New Year’s Resolutions for Detroit Pistons bench mob and part-time starters

Most of the Detroit Pistons promising young players are, at least at the start, coming off the bench. And Derrick Rose is as key as any player on the team.

Isaiah Stewart: Keep playing like the Energizer Bunny

Stewart is not the tallest (only 6-9) nor the widest (250 pounds) rookie in the NBA but has to be the most active. He is absolutely relentless on the boards, frequently getting rebounds on his second or even third attempt.

Detroit pulled off a trade for the No. 16 pick in the NBA Draft and took Stewart, although most mock drafts had him going in the mid-20s.

An injury to Jahlil Okafor opened up some playing time for Stewart, and he has taken advantage. He had six points, seven rebounds and was a +10 against Golden State.

With Okafor returning, we will see what happens to Stewart. If he keeps bouncing on the the court, he might bounce his way into a significant role by the end of the season.

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk: Find where my shooting touch went

On a team desperate for shooters, the Pistons really want the the 6-foot-7 Ukrainian to rediscover the shot making ability he showed last season.

After draining 40.4% of his three-point attempts in 2019-20, Mykhailiuk has started off this year stone cold.

Through four games, he has only made 18.2% of his three-point tries. Only Mason Plumlee (who rarely takes even two-pointers) has a worse three-point shooting percentage on the entire team. And Mykhailiuk was expected to be the best outside shooter on the squad.

He might have been the starting shooting guard for the Pistons, if he could just shoot. Mykhailiuk is only 23-years-old, so he has time to find his game. For an offense-starved Detroit team, they hope it is soon.

Saddiq Bey: Play every quarter like the first quarter

Due to some injuries and load management situations, Bey has gotten a chance to play a lot in a couple games. In both, he had a strange pattern.

The 6-foot-8 Villanova product would start like a house afire, not miss any shots, and then go quiet the rest of the game, and not be able to hit the side of a brick wall. Against Atlanta, he scored eight of his 10 points in the first period, and then, against Golden State, once again had nine quick points and only two more the rest of the way.

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Bey has sure been instant offense for the Pistons. However, considering their fourth quarter collapses, it would be nice if he kept a hot hand in the final period as well.

Why Bey has cooled off so quickly offensively in games, is something to keep an eye on during the season.

Jahlil Okafor: A sturdy ankle and no further injuries

Okafor is on a two-year, $4 million contract, so Detroit does not have that much invested in the 6-foot-11 center.

However, his hard work as a low-post scoring threat had allowed him to carve out a role as the backup center to Mason Plumlee. However, an ankle injury that made him miss a couple games, giving first-round pick Isaiah Stewart a chance to show his skills, might have endangered that.

We will see in the next few games how Okafor is used. Coach Dwane Casey has said it will take a couple of weeks before he has a set rotation. But the Pistons have a lot more invested in Stewart than Okafor. That might play a factor.

Since he was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers (taken right before the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis), Okafor has shown a talent for scoring inside. It has been his conditioning, defense and rebounding that have held him back.

Okafor is 25-years-old and Detroit is his fourth NBA team. So far, Okafor has been solid, 7.0 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17 minutes a game. On a points-starved team like the Pistons, his scoring around the basket should prove useful.

But, with a lot of hungry, young post players also on the team, he probably can not afford to miss too many more games.

Sekou Doumbouya: Turning potential into playing time

Detroit Pistons fans have heard by now all about the tremeondous potential that 6-foot-9 forward Sekou Doumbouya holds. They have also heard ad infinetim about how young he is (he just turned 20) and just wait until he gains some experience, watch out NBA.

Now in his second year in the league, the French native has seen Saddiq Bey move ahead of him in the rotation at small forward, while coach Casey chose to move Jerami Grant from small to power forward when Blake Griffin has missed games, instead of slotting Doumbouya into his position.

Doumbouya has been hampered by an ankle injury that he has played through, so give him points for toughness.

His on court performance, through four games, has not exactly been forcing Casey to give him more playing time. In 11 minutes a game, he is averaging 4.3 points and only making 30% of his shots. The Pistons have enough problems on offense without Doumbouya being out there in a shooting slump.

Hopefully, this is just a blip on the radar and 2021 sees Doumbouya reach the potential everyone has projected for him.

Derrick Rose: A trip Back to the Future

Derrick Rose was the linchpin to an injury-ravaged Pistons team last year. Whatever good (and it was not much) occurred for Detroit, was usually due to the fine play of the 6-foot-2 former league MVP.

Rose has had a slow start to the season. He has said he did not even play pick-up after the season was suspended on March 11.

Coach Dwane Casey has used Rose like it was 2019. His turnovers against Minnesota and missed shots down the stretch against Cleveland were hurtful. Lately, Rose has played better.

Detroit does not need Rose to play like in his Chicago Bulls’ MVP era, that was a lot of injuries ago. But if the 11-year veteran can play like he did last season, it will certainly give the Pistons a boost.