The Detroit Pistons recently announced their roster for the 2022 Summer League in Las Vegas sponsored by 2k23. This reveal has turned heads as they have placed essentially their entire roster in this year’s summer tournament, including rising stars Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey.
Another strange name included on the roster is Isaiah Stewart, a player expected to start at either center or power forward next season as a defensive specialist.
This is a puzzling move as players of their caliber typically do not play many minutes in the preseason, not to mention the Summer League where the games do not matter at all. These games also rarely reach the NBA audience as they are not advertised as heavily as normal games.
Many young players even below Cunningham or Bey that have not established themselves in the NBA still choose to opt out of the Summer League unless they are using it as a step during their rehab following a major injury. James Wiseman is a great example of a player following this formula.
At first glance, there is nothing to be gained for any of those players to be playing in these games, not even to advertise themselves as elite athletes.
Which begs the question, why are the Detroit Pistons sending nearly their entire roster to play in the Summer League?
Detroit Pistons: Why is Cade Cunningham playing in Summer League?
The question can be answered really easily actually. It all comes down to one word, one idea really: chemistry. This is a team looking to start winning, gaining playoff experience as a group so they can win championships someday sooner rather than later. Learning from experience is one of the best ways to get better in this league.
Further, this is a young team, the two best players on the team, Cunningham and Bey, have barely played together due to a combination of injuries and this past season being Cunningham’s debut run in the NBA.
Learning to play together is an important aspect of winning basketball games, it doesn’t matter if a team has all the talent in the world if they have no idea how to play together as a team. See the current Lakers or last year’s Nets for great examples of talented teams that just did not have any chemistry.
The Pistons are looking to avoid the fate of these teams and to speed up the process of their restoration by using the Summer League to get their young players acquainted.
This is an underrated and great move by GM Troy Weaver and head coach Dwayne Casey.
It’s unlikely that guys from last season’s starting lineup are going to play heavy minutes in the Summer League, but it will give them a chance to build some chemistry on and off the court, which will hopefully speed up the process of the Detroit Pistons being good again.