Detroit Pistons: Why fans need to pump the brakes on Jalen Duren

Jalen Duren poses for photos during the Detroit Pistons Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Jalen Duren poses for photos during the Detroit Pistons Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Fans of the Detroit Pistons were ecstatic when the team was able to walk away from the 2022 NBA Draft with both Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, two top-end talents who were reportedly atop their list of targets.

Both players are very athletic and hopefully fill the glaring needs the Pistons had for an explosive guard to pair with Cade Cunningham, and an athletic big who can block shots and run the floor.

We’ve already been making predictions about the Pistons’ future depth chart and some fans have pencilled Jalen Duren into a starting center role right away.

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While the excitement over Duren is warranted (just ask Larry Brown), fans probably need to temper their expectations a bit for his rookie season and pump the brakes on throwing him into the starting lineup from day one.

Detroit Pistons: Slow it down with Jalen Duren

When you look at Jalen Duren it’s hard to believe that this is a guy who should have been completing his senior year of high school last season.

He is just 18-years-old and will be the youngest player in the NBA next season, so even though he possesses the body of a full-grown man (and then some), he is far from ready to compete with NBA talent.

Consider that Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest players of all time, struggled mightily at age 18 and started just six games for the Lakers. He only started one game in his second season, and this is Kobe freaking Bryant we are talking about here. As much potential as Duren has, Kobe he aint.

Coach Dwayne Casey is not going to just throw a teenager into the starting five, and he’s going to make him earn his minutes, especially when the Pistons have much-more proven bigs in Isaiah Stewart, Nerlens Noel, Kelly Olynyk and Marvin Bagley III.

Do you really think Beef Stew is going to cede his starting spot to an 18-year-old without a fight? These guys are competitors who are going to push each other to be better by battling for every minute they get, which is a good thing.

Duren is also very raw offensively and the Detroit Pistons were a team who struggled mightily in this department last season, so it’s hard to believe they would start a kid who has limited offensive skill, even though the highlight reel dunks are going to be fun.

This isn’t to say that Duren isn’t going to play, but I’d say his chances of being in the G-League to start the season are higher than his chances of being in the starting lineup.

There is no rush here, as the Pistons have other options, so they can bring him along slowly and hopefully by the end of next season he will have had a meaningful role in the rotation.

I do think he’ll get minutes, but he’s going to have to earn them, and he’s not going to get thrust into the starting lineup until he does.

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