Detroit Pistons: Who will be the most improved Piston this season?

Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Pistons are set to open the NBA preseason Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs.

As fans gear up for the start of another Pistons season – one with more optimism than the last – I wanted to share my thoughts on who will be the most improved player on the roster.

For one, I didn’t say the best player on the team so let’s get that straight. Two, no newcomers (rookie or free agent signing) are available to be selected. That eliminates Kelly Olynyk, Trey Lyles, Cade Cunningham, Isaiah Livers and Luka Garza.

I was extremely tempted to take guard/forward Saddiq Bey here. The ceiling is high for Bey and he could be poised for a breakout season. After playing with the United States Olympic Select team over the summer, being able to have a full offseason and having the addition of a playmaking star in point guard Cade Cunningham, the stage is set for Bey to take his game to the next level.

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However, I’m going to go with another second-year player.

Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes is ready to break out

He’s a forgotten man to many because of the success of last year’s rookie class, but I’m going to say the 2021-22 Pistons Most Improved Player will be point guard Killian Hayes.

The second-year player had a shortened rookie season only playing in 26 games. To me, it seemed like he fell off the map with the casual fan, and it didn’t help that he had a slow start – looking raw prior to the hip injury that sidelined him most of the year.

It did however give him an opportunity to view the game from a different lens, and when he returned in April, he looked much more like a NBA Lottery selection than a bust.

With his first true training camp under his belt, head coach Dwane Casey praised Hayes.

“Killian has done a heck of a job. I think he’s leading the team in assists,” Casey said per “Today he was pushing the ball, making the right basketball plays. I love the way he’s pushing the pace.”

One quote might not make you change your mind but throw in the improvements from the second half of the season with a full offseason and a potentially light-bulb switching trip back to France and you will see an improved Hayes this season for the Detroit Pistons.

And if that doesn’t make you believe in Hayes, just remember that general manager Troy Weaver selected the guard with his first-ever Pistons draft pick, and so far, he’s been right more than not.

I think he’ll be right again with Hayes.

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