Should fans be worried about the Pistons’ Summer League lineups?

James Wiseman #13 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
James Wiseman #13 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons finished the Summer League with a 4-1 record and fans left excited about the potential of Ausar Thompson and Marcus Sasser.

The former put on a defensive clinic and added some highlight-reel dunks, while the latter dropped 40 points in the final game, showing that he could potentially be an offensive weapon off the bench.

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But there were also some minor concerns. Jaden Ivey didn’t play particularly well, turned the ball over a lot and was largely inefficient on offense.

And the Pistons also ran the dreaded two-big starting lineup with Jalen Duren and James Wiseman, with Wiseman getting more of the touches at center.

I’m certain Ivey will be fine, but should fans be concerned about this Wiseman situation? One analyst thinks so.

Should fans be worried about the Pistons’ Summer League?

In a recent article in The Athletic (SUBSCRIPTION), John Hollinger talked about the Pistons and some of the concerns he has about how Detroit deployed James Wiseman in the Summer League:

"“Detroit tried to shoehorn Duren into the power forward spot to accommodate playing Wiseman at center, with predictable results for their spacing.Duren, mind you, is still a teenager, comes off a very productive rookie season and is the guy Detroit actually drafted, but the Pistons seem to be doing everything in their power to ignore this. He took two corner 3s in Vegas, matching his season total, while he often stood and watched Wiseman do whatever it is he does in the center of pick-and-rolls. I remain very high on Duren and hope he gets every opportunity to start at center this year, but seeing this Wiseman-centric summer lineup worries me.”"

He then went on to say that he was concerned Detroit would extend Wiseman due to the “sunk cost” of trading Saddiq Bey, essentially throwing good money after bad and doubling down on something that was an abject failure last season.

I have to admit that I share Hollinger’s concerns here, as I do think Troy Weaver has some very misguided notions about 2-big lineups being necessary to win in the NBA, especially after what we saw in this year’s playoffs.

I am also concerned that the Pistons will extend Wiseman before he has shown he can actually play in the ways they would need him to to be effective. Troy Weaver has shown stubbornness about certain players, especially ones that he identified early on, so I’d by lying if I said there wasn’t some amount of consternation.


It also makes a ton of sense to try these things out in Summer League and to get Wiseman, who has a lot more to prove than Duren, as many reps as possible at center, as he will likely be their backup this season.

New head coach Monty Williams is not going to be beholden to using any of these players, as he is tasked with winning, not just player development as his predecessor Dwane Casey was.

If these lineups don’t work, they won’t be used, so while I do have some general concerns about Wiseman, how he will be used, and what his future might be with the team, I am not so worried about seeing it in Summer League, which is a time to experiment and get maximum reps for young players like Wiseman who are trying to earn spots in the rotation.

We’ll have to wait and see if Hollinger’s concerns turn into reality or whether the Wiseman-centric lineups (as he called them, not sure I agree with that assessment) were just a Summer fling.

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