Detroit Pistons have their health for stretch run

Frank Jackson #5 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Frank Jackson #5 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

They say if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Well, the Detroit Pistons have everything then, because they are about as healthy as they have been all season.

That the Pistons are not very good is not a shock to anyone who has observed their games. They are young and have suffered a ton of injuries. However, coming off the All-Star break, they are now just young, as it looks like all  its players are available to play for the first time all season.

Two significant news items show that Detroit will actually have all 17 of its players, beginning with its contest with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • On the official NBA injury report, guard Frank Jackson is the only one listed as having any kind of injury, and it was just a back spasm, he is not expected to miss any time.
  • Coach Dwane Casey announced that he expects to play both of the Pistons’ previously injured rookies: Isaiah Livers and Chris Smith, during the remainder of the season. Both players had missed most of the season coming off injuries they suffered in college. Casey’s statement means they are both ready for NBA action.

th hs played in some G-League games and Livers played in one NBA game, so both are basically seeing their first major playing time in the NBA.

Both Smith and Livers were signed by the Pistons with the knowledge they would not be ready for the start of the season. One of the the advantages of being a team not looking to contend this season is, you can show patience with your players who are injured. Not like they needed to rush Livers or Smith for a late playoff push.

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Detroit, at the height of the COVID-19 problem caused by the Omnicrom variant, had to ship half  the Motor City Cruise G-League team, and sign some outside players to 10-day contracts, just to have enough players to field a team.

Even though some of those emergency players did well, Casey will now get to use the 17 players who are suppose to be on his team (Note: Due to the pandemic, the NBA relaxed the rules on how many games two-way players can play, so they are basically part of the regular team).

This presents a marvelous opportunity for Casey and general manager Troy Weaver to mix and match lineups, and see who works best with each other, and, for players like Smith and Livers, seeing what kind of players they are, since they have not been able to play until recently.

Ex-Piston Langston Galloway ready to play for Team USA. dark. Next

That Detroit can not use injuries as an excuse anymore might mean more victories, or at least accountability, as being short-handed will no longer be a reason for a loss. Cross your fingers and hope that the Pistons can maintain this level of health.