Detroit Pistons’ training camp: Battle of the big men
Isaiah Stewart vs. Marvin Bagley III
I think there is a good chance that both of these players are in the starting lineup to start the season, but there are some questions about their long-term fit in the front court.
Neither of them has shown much ability to shoot or spread the floor so far in their careers, though Beef Stew has certainly been working on it and has shown promise at the end of last season and in Summer League.
Bagley III has shown that he can be a dominant post player, but not much of a defender, so it may be best to put him at starting center with Stewart at power forward so that Stew can take on the tougher defensive assignment.
But it seems there will often be mismatches at center defensively, as you’ll either be asking the undersized Stewart to take on a center, or Bagley, who has not yet shown that he can defend starting centers in the NBA.
It may also come down to which of them fits better with the rest of the starting five, and the answer to me is clearly Stewart at this point, as he is more versatile defensively and has the chance to be a better floor spreader.
MBIII may be a better fit with the bench anyway and would allow the Pistons to distribute their limited 3-point shooting more evenly.
In the end, they are both going to play big minutes, often at the same time, but Stewart will likely start more games at center.