The Detroit Pistons will enter the 2022-23 season with four players who expect to get minutes at center, and there is a good chance that they all have a role.
After the trade for Bojan Bogdanovic, the logjam at center was cleared a little, as Detroit now has two bigs who can play either center or power forward and two rim protectors who will play exclusively at center.
This will give Dwane Casey plenty of options, which is going to make his job tough as he tries to figure out how all of these pieces fit best together on the court.
There is a very real scenario in which all four of them play significant minutes, as they all offer different skills the Pistons need.
From a team and development standpoint, it would be best if all four of these bigs played some kind of role next season, but there is also a best-case/worst-case scenario for each guy individually.
Detroit Pistons: Best-case/worst-case scenario for each center
At Pistons’ media day, Noel talked about how he wanted to be the defensive anchor for the Pistons, a guy who is in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year and who carries on the legacy of Ben Wallace in Detroit.
Any of those things happening would be the best-case scenario for Noel, who will be limited in camp but hopefully be 100 percent by the start of the regular season. He has shown that he can be an elite shot blocker and defender, but won’t likely get nearly enough minutes for serious consideration for DPOY. For me, the best case is that he plays 20-25 minutes per night and blocks over two shots per game and plays so well that Detroit doesn’t want to trade him at the deadline.
Detroit has a team option on Noel for the 2023-24 season and it would be great if he played well enough for them to want to pick it up because he was a key piece in a big defensive improvement.
Noel only played in 25 games last season, so the worst-case scenario is a repeat of that. Detroit would love Noel to be a mentor to their young bigs and to help improve their overall defense, but he can’t do that if he’s not on the floor. The fact that he is already limited isn’t great, so his injury status will be something to keep an eye on throughout the season.
He’s a guy who Detroit could flip for assets at the deadline if he is healthy and playing well, but if not, they could lose him for nothing or be compelled to pick up his option for the 2023-24 season to try and get some type of return.