Detroit Pistons’ training camp preview: Questions for the bench
When will Noel be traded?
The Pistons have five centers and it’s possible that one or more of them will be traded sometime before the trade deadline. Of them, Noel seems to be the most likely candidate, as he is on an expiring deal, though Detroit could definitely use his rim protection and toughness. I’m sure Detroit would like to keep him around as a mentor to young Jalen Duren, but eventually they’ll want to see their 18-year-old rookie play.
But if some other team suffers an injury and needs a center, I could see Noel shipped out soon, but it’s more likely Detroit will wait until closer to the deadline.
Can Olynyk bounce back?
Last season was one of the worst of Olynyk’s career. He only played in 40 games after getting hurt early, then almost immediately got COVID and had to miss more time. He never really got going, and only shot 33 percent from behind the arc. The Pistons desperately need his shooting and if he can get back to shooting closer to 40 percent from long range, he could really be a help to Killian Hayes in the second unit.
There is also a chance Olynyk will be moved, as the final year of his deal is not guaranteed, but he first has to show that last year was just bad luck and he can still make an impact off the bench.
Will Burks be a better fit with Cade Cunningham than Jaden Ivey is?
I think the fit between Jaden Ivey and Cade Cunningham makes sense and will eventually lead to an All-Star backcourt. But for now, Burks is a veteran who can knock down 3-point shots and might be a better initial fit.
I am sure all three will play some time together next season, but can Burks do enough in the preseason to push for a starting role? If so, would it be at the expense of Jaden Ivey or someone else? If Detroit wanted more shooting around Cade, they could start both Ivey and Burks, pushing Bey to power forward. This is Ivey’s spot to lose, as he is clearly a big part of the future, but Dwane Casey may make him earn that starting role, especially if Burks gets out to a hot start in preseason and gives Cade Cunningham more space.
Does CoJo have a role?
With two more guards on the roster, one of last year’s guys is likely to be pushed out, but will it be Cory Joseph? CoJo is entering the final year of his deal, but let’s face it, he mostly outplayed Killian Hayes last season, so if coach Casey wants to go with the guy who gives Detroit the best chance to win, it might be Joseph. He shot over 41 percent from long range last season and will be out to prove that he can make an impact for someone, even if it’s not the Pistons.
Hayes will get every opportunity, as Detroit only has until the end of October to decide on his option, but we know Casey likes Joseph, so will we see him and Killian splitting those backup minutes? This will be an interesting battle to watch, as you have a veteran playing for his next deal vs. a young guy playing for his possible future in the league.