Detroit Pistons: Optimistic player predictions revisited

Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2).. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2).. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons, Rising Stars
Detroit Pistons guard Cade Cunningham (2) hoists the MVP trophy during the 2022 NBA Rising Stars Challenge Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Pistons: Optimistic predictions for the young core revisited

Killian Hayes

The prediction: Hayes will play at least 75 games and lead the team in assists. If either of these things happen, I’ll be pretty happy.

The reality: The sad part about these “optimistic” predictions is that they weren’t even that optimistic and Hayes still didn’t reach them. He will play a maximum 70 games this season if he plays in all of the final games, which I think is satisfactory given his injury history. He is not going to lead the team in assists, though he will likely finish second behind Cade Cunningham and has been pretty good in that area. Notice I didn’t make any optimistic predictions about his scoring, and for good reason, as Hayes hasn’t progressed much in that area and is actually averaging fewer points this season than he did as a rookie. His shooting numbers are still awful and he still doesn’t have much of a role in the offense. He’s been demoted to the bench and has played better, but if there is one thing I would change about this, it would be listing him as part of the young core, as he hasn’t played well enough yet to be considered a guaranteed long-term piece.

Related Story. Cade earned block of the week with this clutch defensive play. light

Saddiq Bey

The prediction:  Saddiq Bey will set the all-time record for 3-pointers made by a player in his first two seasons in the league. Probably not, but he’ll be in the top-5 with some all-time great shooters.

The reality: This one is interesting, as Bey has increased his scoring and added some nuance to his offensive bag, but he hasn’t done nearly as much damage from behind the 3-point line. Bey has evolved into a poor man’s Jimmy Butler, a guy who can score all over, though he is not nearly the defender or finisher that Butler has been over the last eight seasons. Even though Bey is not going to break any 3-point records this season, he’s been solid and is definitely part fo the core moving forward.

Isaiah Stewart

The prediction:  Isaiah Stewart will average a double-double and lead the team in blocked shots.

The reality: Stewart is just below a double double, averaging 8.3 points and 8.4 rebounds and he does lead the team in blocked shots. His offensive game has taken a step back as his defensive responsibilities have increased and Beef Stew needs to get better in the pick-and-roll, but he’s been solid lately and is having a pretty good second season even though he hasn’t evolved as a scoring threat.

Cade Cunningham

The prediction: Cade Cunningham will win Rookie-of-the-Year and be top-5 in every significant statistical category for 2021-22 rookies.

The reality: Cade is in the top-5 of pretty much every category and is still alive for Rookie of the Year, though a recent injury definitely hurt his chances. I still think he has a good shot at it, so this prediction could be spot on, though my optimism at the time was tempered by a preseason injury.

dark. Next. 1 question for each player over the last 24 games