Detroit Pistons: Dwane Casey says it’s time to evaluate this rookie

Detroit Pistons draft picks Isaiah Livers, left, and Cade Cunningham (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons draft picks Isaiah Livers, left, and Cade Cunningham (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons selected Kalamazoo native Isaiah Livers with the 42nd pick in last year’s draft. The senior was a standout at the University of Michigan where he averaged 41 percent from three during his tenure. In his final year under head coach Juwan Howard he started all 23 games averaging 13.1 points and six rebounds along with two assists per game.

He showed the ability to do a little bit of everything with the Wolverines. Once the Pistons selected Cade Cunningham number one overall, grabbing Livers seemed like a no-brainer because of his complementary skills as a 3-and-D wing. His ability to space the floor was on full display as a senior, where he shot a career-best 43 percent on five attempts per game.

When you have a player like Cade, surrounding him with high IQ players who can contribute in a multitude of ways is essential. Livers is that prototypical player at 23 years old. His experience in college playing in big games will only help him adapt to life in the association. He had first-round talent coming out of a solid conference in college, but he was drafted late because he was rehabilitating an injured foot that has kept him out of action this season.

He been on assignment with the Detroit Pistons G League affiliate Motor City Cruise this season. In his stint with the Cruise, he has been a role player in his four games played. His shooting hasn’t been impressive, which is  something that will have to change if he wants to make an impact on the Detroit Pistons.

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He’ll need to show he can be a more efficient player than the 23 percent he shown in the G-league. Those shooting woes can more than likely be contributed to missing extended time and not being in game shape. It was close to a whole calendar year he missed before being able to participate in any real basketball related activities.

Now that Livers seems healthy, Dwane Casey wants to see what he can do with the Pistons. His recent comments have fans excited to see the home state talent in action. Casey mentioned he wants to evaluate Livers during the final stretch of games this season.

This was music to fans’ ears, as they’ve been awaiting his debut since he was drafted by the organization. He did play five minutes in a game when assistant coach Rex Kalamian was replacing Casey during a personal matter earlier in the year. That’s all we’ve seen of him, now it seems that he could be in the rotation moving forward. After a long season this gives the Pistons another young player to acclimate.

Seeing how he meshes with the the current roster will also give fans something to look forward to next season. If he finishes the year on a strong note then the Pistons rookie class will look that much better. Troy Weaver will be credited for another draft night steal in his second year as GM

What Isaiah Livers can provide the Detroit Pistons

Livers should hit the ground running whenever he’s inserted into the rotation. He’s a solid player that could benefit from having the opportunity to learn the system before playing. He has a well-rounded game and can play both forward positions. He can score from different areas on the floor with efficiency.

He’ll more than likely be used most as a floor spacer offensively. Bringing value on the other side of the basketball will add to his worth. He’s got the mobility and body to defend multiple positions. Whether switching onto smaller guards, or using his frame to seal bigs off, he should contribute on both ends. I could easily see him in a traditional “3-and-D” role off the bench.

His versatility and shooting touch should help open things up for the rest of the roster.  Anything more will be considered an added bonus for most. He’s a no-nonsense player who plays within the offense.

He’ll likely take minutes from Rodney McGruder off the bench. This is a restoration and giving minutes to a young rookie over a veteran only makes sense. Having a solid look at Livers gives the team a better understanding of what they have in him before they go into the offseason when they’ll look to bolster the roster and come out swinging next season.

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