The Detroit Pistons will start their preseason schedule in just over two weeks, so we are inching closer to getting to see some hoops.
Nothing is ever decided for certain in the preseason, especially for a team as young as the Pistons, so a couple of bad games that don’t even count aren’t going to make or break a career. But it is the time when perceptions start to be formed, so there is something at stake.
There will be training camp battles (especially at guard) and preseason will set the tone and possibly the rotations for the start of the season.
So who has the most to gain or lose before the games even matter?
Detroit Pistons preseason: Who has the most to gain?
If I had to guess, I’d say Livers will start the season in the rotation and carve out a role for himself off the bench. But he’s a guy who turned some heads late last season and then in Summer League.
Livers is a natural leader on defense, a guy who hustles and usually makes the right play. He can also shoot, so will his combination of versatile defense and 3-point accuracy earn him more than just a bench role?
Livers is likely to be part of the rotation either way, but a strong training camp and preseason could cement him as the first guy off the bench, and a player who gets starter’s minutes or even a spot in the starting five.
Detroit Pistons preseason: Who has the most to lose?
Killian Hayes is another guy who is nearly a lock for the rotation, but he is going to be under the microscope from the start of training camp.
The Pistons have a team option on Hayes that they will have to decide on in October and will be eager to see what type of progress he has made as a player. He doesn’t have to suddenly be an offensive juggernaut, but that option isn’t a given, so the team would love to see some amount of development on the offensive end.
He’s also got two players in Cory Joseph and Saben Lee who will be coming after his minutes, not to mention the additions of Jaden Ivey and Alec Burks, which could also cut into his time. A strong training camp and preseason from Hayes could mean big minutes off the bench and a turnaround in his young career, but a weak one could mean his time is drastically cut and the team decides not to exercise his option.
Those are the two extremes and Hayes will likely find himself in the meaty gray area between them, but he clearly has a lot at stake at the beginning of this season, which could end up being a crossroads in his career.