Detroit Pistons training camp preview: 1 question for each starter

Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons talks with his team (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Cade Cunningham #2 of the Detroit Pistons talks with his team (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Marvin Bagley III
Detroit Pistons forward Marvin Bagley III Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

We are now less than a week away from the start of Detroit Pistons’ training camp, so the wait for hoops is finally nearly over.

The Pistons have one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, so have plenty of questions heading into the preseason.

It’s unclear who will even be in the starting lineup, but best guess is that we’ll see this group of five when the season opens:

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

But that is hardly set in stone and we could see any number of combinations depending on how coach Dwane Casey wants to use his big men, and how he wants to deploy the few shooters the Pistons have.

Related Story. Training camp preview: 1 question for each bench player. light

This group will likely be fluid throughout the season and right now there are only two guaranteed locks for the starting five in Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey.

But assuming these are the five, here is one question for each of them heading into training camp.

Detroit Pistons training camp: 1 question for each starter

Marvin Bagley III

Can MBIII just be the center?

Marvin Bagley III played well for the Pistons in 18 games last season, especially offensively, where he shot 62 percent on 2-point shots, highest of his career.

MBIII can be a dominant post player at times, catch a lob and has the quickness and athleticism to grab offensive rebounds and draw fouls. Bagley III was great from nine feet in, but anything beyond that and the numbers start to plummet, bottoming out at the 3-point line, where he shot just 22 percent.

He wasn’t much better from 10-14 feet, where he shot just 30 percent. In other words, MBIII is not a stretch-four or five, he’s a center who is very efficient around the rim and very inefficient away from it.

So the question is if Bagley III and the Pistons will just embrace this role or will he still be launching a few threes and mid-range jumpers per game.

Isaiah Stewart

Can Stewart play as a power forward on offense?

The fit between Stewart and Bagley III will depend on Stewart being able to play the power forward position on offense and then guard the best big on defense.

I don’t doubt Stewart can handle defending power forwards, centers or even stepping out on the perimeter, as he is a versatile defender, but what about on offense?

If Bagley III is going to be the primary pick-and-roll guy and play in the paint, where does that leave Stewart? Can he hit enough mid-range and 3-point shots to hurt teams for sagging off him on the perimeter or using his man to double team?

If not, one of these two bigs will likely have to move to the bench, so their fit will be under a microscope starting in training camp and the preseason.