Detroit Pistons: Grades for first 30 percent of the 2022-23 season

Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons reacts with teammate Jaden Ivey (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Killian Hayes #7 of the Detroit Pistons reacts with teammate Jaden Ivey (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Jalen Duren
Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren Credit: Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports /

The centers

The center group has missed a lot of games collectively, but have still provided some solid play. The real question moving forward is how this group fits together, as there are problems with almost any pairing.

Isaiah Stewart: B+

Stewart has shown us pretty much everything we wanted to see at this point in the season, as he has improved everywhere, emerged as the Pistons best defensive player and extended his game to beyond the 3-point line.

He’s shooting 36 percent on four attempts per game from long range, which is where we hoped he would be after it was revealed that the Pistons were going to use him more as a stretch four offensively.

He still needs to work on taking it to the rim on close outs, but he is improving in that area as well, so it’s mostly been positive for Beef Stew this season. Considering he is just 21-years-old and is clearly improving, I think there is good reason to be excited about Stewart’s future.

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Marvin Bagley III: C+

Bagley III has only played in 12 games this season, but is shooting the highest effective field goal percentage of his career. He can be a force at the rim offensively, and is currently shooting nearly 37 percent from long range, though I usually scream “NOOOOOO” every time he launches one.

His defense and rebounding have picked up of late, though he still needs big improvement in those categories. The real problem is fit and consistency, as MBIII isn’t a power forward and can’t really defend either position. He also has a tendency to disappear when he doesn’t get the ball right away or gets into early foul trouble.

The grade would be higher but MBIII has to continue to improve defensively and crash the boards on both ends.

Jalen Duren: A-

I didn’t know if Duren would even make the rotation this early in the season as the NBA’s youngest player, but he has arguably been the Pistons’ best big and their only true center. Duren has the kinds of problems you’d expect a young big to have, as he makes silly fouls and misses rotations at times.

But he’s way ahead of the curve in just about everything else, as he is already a very good rebounder on both ends, can be a disruptive rim protector and lob threat, and is a much-better passer out of the short roll than you would expect from an 18-year-old. He looks like one of the steals of the draft and a guy who has future star potential.

Nerlens Noel: F

Nerlens Noel has played in six games and done practically nothing. He’s a guy who I thought could be a veteran presence off the bench that anchored the defense in stretches, but he can’t crack the rotation on a team that has won six games. It’s possible the Pistons are just holding him out to trade him later in the season, but right now, he’s not going to have much value, as he hasn’t played much nor looked very good when he has.