Detroit Pistons: Who in the world is Braxton Key?

Braxton Key #8 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Braxton Key #8 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

If you have been watching the Detroit Pistons over the last three games you may have found yourself asking, “who is the world is #8? I thought we traded Trey Lyles!”

You weren’t alone, as Braxton Key joined the Detroit Pistons without much fanfare, and most people have no clue who he is.

Key signed a 10-day contract with the Detroit Pistons on March 24th, and has played well enough to get a longer look, as he has given Detroit some nice minutes off the bench.

With Jerami Grant sidelined, the Pistons are thin on forwards, which has allowed Key to get some run and show what he can do.

It is possible he’ll get another 10-day contract with Detroit, but does he have any long-term potential with the team?

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Who is this guy anyway?

Detroit Pistons: Braxton Key is a combo forward who fits the Troy Weaver mold

Braxton Key spent all four years in college, so he was not a big time name coming into the NBA. He did his first two years at Alabama, where he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

After his sophomore season he transferred to Virginia, where his team promptly won the NCAA championship with Key giving impact contributions off the bench.

Key went undrafted in 2020 and has since bounced around the G-League ( where he averaged 19.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.6 blocks per game this season) before getting a 10-day with Philly and now one with Detroit.

Key has good size for the position at 6-foot-8 and is a hustle/energy guy who is a good rebounder and defender who can get out and run in transition.

He’s not much of a scorer or shooter, but he is a tough player who digs in on defense, can block shots and will do all of the little things that contribute to winning but may not show up in the stat sheets.

His first points with the Pistons were indicative of how he gets things done, as he was running the floor, lost the ball, hustled and got it back and scored. Ugly but effective.

You can see him with a nice pump fake and take for the dunk here. Key is athletic, hustles and can defend, so it will be interesting to see if the 25-year-old can work himself into the Pistons’ future bench plans.

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