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 /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 3
Next
Detroit Pistons
Dec 11, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23)Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Starting (Six) and what they need to do

With the fine play of Josh Jackson, it looks like he might find a spot in the Detroit Pistons starting lineup. For this story’s purposes, we will go with the starting five coach Dwane Casey rolled out for the first couple of games, plus Jackson.

Delon Wright: Keep surprising fans in 2021

Wright came to Detroit this year via a trade with the Dallas Mavericks as a 6-foot-5 point guard who only averaged seven points in his career.

To help rookie point guard Killian Hayes with the ballhandling, coach Dwane Casey made Wright the starting shooting guard. Turns out, Wright can shoot pretty, pretty well.

In four games, Wright is averaging 11.9 points and shooting 50% from floor and an amazing 50% on three-pointers (he is a career 34.3% shooter from 3).

He is also still the fine ballhandler. So good, that when Rose missed a game, Casey took Wright out of the starting lineup so he could play point guard when Hayes got a rest.

Related Story. Detroit Pistons: Delon Wright unknown but important. light

Wright has another year on his contract after this season, and there appears to be no reason the Pistons will not keep him. He is a great security blanket in the backcourt for Detroit.

Josh Jackson: Keep on busting the ‘bust’ label

At this time last year, Jackson was playing for the Memphis Hustle of the G-League. Four years ago, Jackson was the No. 4 overall pick in the NBA Draft. He was selected by Phoenix right after Jayson Tatum and just ahead of D’Aaron Fox.

It has been a long road, but Jackson appears to finally be living up to his draft position.

In four games, the 6-foot-8 wing, has averaged 17.0 points a game, six rebounds and two assists. And Jackson was brought in to be a defensive stopper.

Jackson has done so well, he has forced coach Casey to find a spot for him in the starting lineup.

Obviously, four games is a small sample size, but it appears Jackson finally might have started to reach the heights people though he would achieve, when he left Kansas.

Mason Plumlee: Make a complete picture

Plumlee signed a three-year, $25 million dollar contract to be Detroit’s starting center. He was to provide leadership, good screens and passing on offense and solid play on defense.

The 6-foot-11 center is 30 years old and in his eighth season, so Plumlee basically is what he is. He had not been a starter since he was in Portland in 2017.

He is not a big scorer, and is only averaging 7.8 points so far, a slight bump from the 7.2 he averaged as the backup to Nikola Jokic in Denver last season. He is only making 60% of his foul shots (an improvement on his 56% career mark) and has yet to make a three-pointer.

Against Golden State, he missed all five of his shots and did not score a point. Starting center’s can not go scoreless.

Plumlee has provided the good, locker room presence and his passing and screening have been stellar. However, defensively he has had his up and downs. Karl-Anthony Towns ate him up at the of the Minnesota loss and he did little to stop Andre Drummond when they faced Cleveland.

Plumlee needs to have a more complete game to keep his starting spot.

Jerami Grant: Keep on, keeping on

Jerami Grant was a nice role player for the Denver Nuggets as it made its way to the Western Conference finals. He wanted more, so he signed a three-year, $60 million deal with the Pistons. Denver was willing to match the offer, but Grant wanted a bigger role on an NBA team.

It turns out that Grant was correct. To the surprise of many people, Grant has lived up to every expectation he and the Pistons could have hoped for.

Through four games, Grant is averaging 22.8 points and six rebounds. He is only hitting 34.8% of his three-point attempts. He usually sinks about 40% from three, so he still has room for improvement.

If the 6-foot-9 forward can continue this remarkable offensive display, he will be one of the biggest 2021 story lines for Detroit.

Blake Griffin: Don’t get hurt!

Griffin has morphed from the dominant scorer of two years ago into a multi-faceted facilitator who can do a little bit of everything for the Pistons.

The 6-foot-9 forward can score, rebound, pass and play decent defense. Whatever the Pistons need, Griffin fills in with it.

After missing 11 months with a knee injury, what Griffin needs more than anything is good health. If he is going to be dealt to a contender before the March 25 trading deadline, he has to show he is not damaged goods.

If Griffin is staying in Detroit, they count on him too heavily for him to miss long stretches of time.

He currently is out as part of the NBA concussion protocol. No injury, he just took a shot to the jaw from Warriors center James Wiseman.

Good health will  be essential to Griffin in 2021.

Killian Hayes: Stay in school, learn your lessons

The 6-foot-5 Frenchman out of Lakeland, Florida is not Detroit’s starting point guard because he won some training camp battle. Coach Dwane Casey admits, they are throwing him into the deep end of the pool, and hoping he learns to swim.

So far, not surprisingly, the 19-year-old has had his up and downs. A sprained ankle has limited him the past couple of games. Before that, he played some nice defense on Steph Curry but had problems with D’Angelo Russell and Ricky Rubio.

His turnovers have been cut way down since the opener in Minnesota, when his weak passes helped turn the momentum in the T-Wolves favor.

Hayes offense has not been a factor as of yet. He is only shooting 27.6% from the field. But, there is a long way to go in the season. Hayes is improving with every experience it seems. As long as he keeps learning, the year will be a success for him.

Detroit Pistons: Cade Cunningham will be drafted first and that’s a problem. dark. Next

Most people do not keep their New Year’s Resolutions. But, it would be in the Detroit Pistons best interest, if all the resolutions made by the players in this actually did come to be true.