Detroit Pistons: Which bad team has the best young core?

Saddiq Bey #41 and Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Saddiq Bey #41 and Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Saddiq Bey, Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Saddiq Bey #41 and Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons: Ranking the young cores of the bad teams

#2: Detroit Pistons

Young core

  • Cade Cunningham
  • Jaden Ivey
  • Saddiq Bey
  • Isaiah Stewart
  • Jalen Duren
  • Marvin Bagley III
  • Isaiah Livers

Like the Rockets, the Pistons have two guys at the top who could end up being multiple All-Stars in the NBA. I do think that Cade Cunningham has the most individual potential of any player in these rankings and that Ivey could end up being the best player from his draft class when it is all said and done.

Just like Houston, there is a drop-off after the top two, but I do think the Pistons’ role players are better and that Saddiq Bey has a chance to be an All-Star at some point. Jalen Duren is just 18-years-old but already looks ahead of schedule and Marvin Bagley III is the wild card with a ton of talent to harness.

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Livers may be a stretch here, and we’ll see about adding Killian Hayes to this list at some point this season if he emerges as a quality bench player and the Detroit Pistons pick up his option for 2023-24.

National media agrees, as the Pistons are finally getting some attention as a team that could be one of the best in the Eastern Conference soon.

But they still lack that third potential star (depending on what you think of Bey and Duren) and would need one more high-end guy to take the top spot.

#1: Oklahoma City Thunder

Young core

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • Chet Holmgren
  • Josh Giddey
  • Aleksej Pokusevski
  • Lu Dort
  • Ousmane Dieng
  • Tre Mann
  • Jalen Williams

The Thunder take the top spot based on the fact that they not only have a large collection of talented young players, but have potentially the best “Big 3” of any of these teams.

SGA is already a proven star in the NBA, even though he has yet to make his first All-Star team, something that will probably be remedied next season if he puts up 24+ points per game again and the Thunder sniff the play-in or better.

Holmgren looked like the second coming of Kevin Durant in Summer League, a guy who can be a force on both ends.

Giddey is a very good point guard already, the perfect unselfish facilitator, rebounder and defender to go along with the two stars at the top. They have a really good role player in Lu Dort, and Tre Mann looks like a solid backup in the league.

Dieng and Williams are still unproven but were both lottery picks with a ton of potential.

The Thunder may finally be done tanking, as they have a young core they can build around for years to come. Let’s hope Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey both make the All-Star team next season and take the crown as best young core for the Detroit Pistons, but for now it’s hard to go against what the Thunder are building.

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