The Detroit Pistons’ 2020 rookie class was possibly the best in the NBA this season. While none of the Pistons’ picks had rookie-of-the-year caliber seasons, the collection of Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey, and Saben Lee showed immense potential as building blocks for the team’s future.
Out of all four of Detroit’s rookies, Stewart has shown to have possibly the highest ceiling. The 6-8 center affectionately called “Beef Stew” played much of the 2020-2021 season as the backup to Mason Plumlee.
In his backup role, Stewart scored 7.9 points and collected 6.7 rebounds while averaging 21.4 minutes per game. He shot an efficient 55.5 percent from the field, and he showed the makings of a decent three-point shot as well.
Detroit Pistons: Isaiah Stewart was the best rookie defender
Where Stewart really shined last season was on the defensive end of the court. The big man played a gritty style of defense that would remind any Pistons fan of the Going to Work era team of the mid-2000s. Stewart averaged 1.3 blocks per game while also being a nuisance to opposing players in the low post.
As Stewart’s game continues to improve from his rookie to his sophomore season, he will look to have a bigger role in Detroit’s rotation. The undersized big man will likely usurp the starting center spot from Plumlee and play an even bigger role on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor.
By using Stewart’s per 36 minutes, per 100 possessions, and advanced stats from last season, a glimpse of what Stewart having a larger role on the team would mean for the big man and the Pistons as a whole presents itself.