The Detroit Pistons have one of the youngest teams in the NBA, so could have several breakout seasons next year.
I don’t think it would be shocking to see Cade Cunningham’s stats jump up in year two, especially after the way he closed out last season.
Same with Saddiq Bey, who also struggled early on but finished strong, adding new wrinkles to his offensive game and looking like a guy who has another level.
Killian Hayes is another candidate, as he was inconsistent last season and hopes to put it all together in year three. He’ll likely be coming off the bench to start the season and will hopefully carve out a nice role for himself as the backup point guard.
But the guy I think is going to surprise a lot of people next season is center/forward Isaiah Stewart, who has largely been overlooked this offseason with the additions of Jalen Duren and Nerlens Noel to the big man ranks.
Beef Stew is one of the hardest workers on the team, so we know he is putting in the hours to improve this offseason, and there are signs that it is going to pay off with a big breakout season for the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit Pistons: Why Isaiah Stewart is about to bust out
Last season was mostly about development on the defensive end for Beef Stew. Early in the season we didn’t see much from him on the offensive end, and coach Casey later admitted that he had asked Stewart to focus more on becoming an elite defender.
He’s not there yet, but there are signs, as Stewart is already one of the better big men in the league when it comes to switching on the perimeter, and he was near the top of the list in many hustle stat categories, including shots defended.
Stewart is going to get the chance to show his defensive versatility next season, when he’ll be playing come at center and at power forward. He’s going to be the defensive anchor for the Pistons and should be mentally and physically ready for that role.
Fans should also be excited about what they saw from Stewart offensively late in the season. Over the last 13 games he averaged closer to 10 points per game and added 9.7 rebounds. Most importantly, he emerged as a shooting threat, knocking down 52 percent of his 3-point attempts in that span.
This increased confidence carried over to Summer League, where Stewart looked comfortable launching 3-point shots without hesitation. He should have an increased role in the offense as a guy who can pop out for 3-point shots, while continuing to improve his rebounding, shot blocking and defense, the areas where he excels the most.
I think Stewart will be closer to 15 points and 10-12 rebounds next season, and while I don’t see him becoming a volume 3-point shooter overnight, he will start to knock them down and transition to more of a hybrid power forward.
The signs are there for Isaiah Stewart, who is often the overlooked player in the Pistons’ young core but a guy who could break out big time for Detroit next season.