5 questions for the remainder of the Detroit Pistons season

Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) celebrates with center Isaiah Stewart (28) during the third quarter. Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7) celebrates with center Isaiah Stewart (28) during the third quarter. Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Pistons, Isaiah Stewart
Cory Joseph #18 of the Detroit Pistons reacts to a call alongside Isaiah Stewart (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons head into the final 24 games of the 2021-22 season with the second-worst record in the NBA.

Their strength of schedule vs. the other tankers is pretty favorable for their draft position, so the odds are high that Detroit will end up in the bottom three and maximize their chances for a number one pick.

The Pistons had a ton of question marks coming into this season as a young rebuilding team, and while some of them have been answered, new ones have surfaced in their place.

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I think the biggest question “Can Detroit build around Cade Cunningham?” has been answered, as he has shown himself to be a guy who can thrive on both ends and elevate his teammates.

While his rookie season has been bumpy at times, it appears the Pistons got their guy, though I would love to see him finish the season healthy and consistent.

Still, many questions remain, and the Pistons don’t have long to answer them before the offseason and presumably some big roster changes.

Questions for the remainder of the Detroit Pistons’ season

#1: Is Isaiah Stewart an NBA starting center?

Coming into this season, fans were excited about Beef Stew, who was coming off a solid rookie campaign that landed him a spot on the second-team All Rookie squad.

While he has played well lately, Stewart has shown big weaknesses all season that have some wondering if he would be better served as a backup big and not the primary guy.

His offense has taken a step back, as he has not developed a jumper or added range to his shot. In fact, his shooting percentages have gotten worse across the board. Remember when we were all calling for Stewart to shoot more 3-point shots?

No one is asking for that now, as he has shot just 12.5 percent on limited attempts. He hasn’t gotten better in the pick-and-roll, and is practically useless in the short roll, as he doesn’t go hard to the rim or have the passing skills to make plays out of it. This has been a big detriment to Cunningham and Killian Hayes, who have worked most of the season without a reliable big man in the PnR.

Stewart has been piling up double-doubles over the last few weeks and has shown some life, but he will need big improvements if he is going to be the Pistons’ starting center moving forward.

I think all options are on the table when it comes to bigs this offseason and that Detroit clearly needs an upgrade. I’m not saying Beef Stew can’t get there, but right now, he is not an NBA starting center.