Detroit Pistons training camp preview: Battle of the forwards

Isaiah Livers #12 and Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Isaiah Livers #12 and Saddiq Bey #41 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Isaiah Livers, Hamidou Diallo
Rodney McGruder #17, Hamidou Diallo #6 and Isaiah Livers #12 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons will kick off training camp in just a few weeks with plenty of things to sort out.

There are really only two locks for the starting lineup, so everyone else will be battling it out for spots in the rotation, roles and minutes.

Here is our training camp preview so far if you’d like to go back:

Today, we’ll take a look at the forwards, which in my opinion is the thinnest positional group for the Pistons and one they will need to upgrade before they are truly competitive.

Saddiq Bey is really the only certainty here, as the third-year forward will be in the starting five and likely be one of Detroit’s leaders in minutes as he has been in his first two seasons.

Everything else is up for grabs, as Isaiah Livers, Hamidou Diallo, Kevin Knox and Braxton Key will be fighting for roles and minutes, most likely off the bench.

Detroit Pistons training camp: First forward off the bench

Isaiah Livers vs. Hamidou Diallo

Livers can play both forward positions while Diallo is more of a two-guard and wing, so there are times when these two will play together, but others where they will be battling for who is the first forward off the bench.

Livers’ versatility and shooting clearly give him an edge here, but Diallo is in the final year of his deal and won’t go down without a fight.

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They are very different players, as Livers mostly plays below the rim, is a high IQ player who is a good team defender, connector on offense and can shoot the 3-ball, a skill the Detroit Pistons desperately need.

Diallo is one of the Pistons’ best athletes, a high flyer who can get steals and finish on the other end, but has a raw offensive game in the half court and isn’t the best team defender.

Because of the way the guard rotation could shake out with Killian Hayes and Alec Burks possibly coming off the bench, Diallo could slide into the small forward spot and Livers into power forward, so they will likely play some minutes together.

But with Bey playing big minutes and the Dwane Casey using some of his bigs as power forwards, it’s more likely that one of these guys plays 20+ minutes per game and one plays closer to 10 minutes per game.

At this point, Livers has the advantage, as the Pistons need his shooting and he can play both spots, so Diallo may find himself out of the rotation entirely or playing sparingly unless he shows he can shoot.

If I had to guess, I’d say Diallo will be traded before the deadline.