Detroit Pistons: Injuries strike another blow to player development

This was supposed to be a year of development and improvement for the Detroit Pistons, but that was quickly derailed after Cade Cunningham went out for the season after only 12 games.

The Pistons have gotten nice seasons out of their two rookies, as Jalen Duren, the league’s youngest player, is already a very good rebounder and is ahead of schedule in other areas, and Jaden Ivey has steadily improved all season, hitting a higher percentage of his shots.

But we’ve not gotten to see much of the young core together, as injuries have plagued the Pistons of late and just keep piling up. Jalen Duren only recently returned from six games out, Killian Hayes has had a hand injury and Hamidou Diallo was recently ruled out for the season, possibly ending his time in Detroit.

Then yesterday, the Pistons announced that Isaiah Stewart is dealing with a shoulder injury that will keep him sidelined for at least 3-4 weeks, effectively ending his season as well.

Detroit got Duren and Hayes back last night, which is a good development, but losing Beef Stew is a big blow to the rest of the season.

Detroit Pistons: Isaiah Stewart’s injury

The Detroit Pistons now have four centers under contract for next season depending on how you view Isaiah Stewart, who has played more at the four this season. Both Stewart and James Wiseman are eligible for extensions and the Pistons still have Duren and Marvin Bagley III in the mix.

Losing Stewart for the season means we are not going to get to see how four bigs are going to fit into the rotation, nor which center pairs best with Stewart. The two-big experiment has not been a roaring success so far, but it is still early days and the Pistons haven’t had their full complement of players.

Beef Stew also needs the reps at the four position, as his shooting had fallen off after a nice start and he still needs to prove that he can hit 3-point shots consistently.

With little to play for other than lottery position, it would have been nice to at least salvage something from this season in the form of 20 games or so worth of data about their young players and how they best fit moving forward.

The Detroit Pistons already had a lot of questions hanging over them heading into the offseason and all of the injuries have made things even murkier.