The Detroit Pistons had multiple players from the 2020 NBA Draft that were due for contract extensions this summer.
So far, the only one who has gotten one is Isaiah Stewart, who inked a four-year deal that could be worth as much as $64 million.
Some fans thought this was an overpay, as Stewart has not yet shown that he can be a consistent offensive threat and isn’t the type of elite rim protector teams want in a center/power forward.
My counter would be that Stewart is 22 years old and has already shown he can be a versatile defender who can guard either big spot, spread the floor a little and should improve as he ages, as almost all players do. Fans tend to forget that MOST players are not who they are going to be until age 25, so when you are giving a 22-year-old a four-year deal, part of that is for what you think he’ll be, not what he is right at this moment.
Another recent deal not only shows that the Stewart contract is in line with the market, but that it could represent a great value in a season or two.
Detroit Pistons: The PJ Washington contract makes Isaiah Stewart’s look better
PJ Washington reportedly signed a three-year deal to stay in Charlotte that will pay him $48 million. It’s close to Stewart’s deal, as the 4th year of Beef Stew’s contract is a team option, so essentially Washington and Stewart got the same amount of guaranteed money.
They are similar players as undersized centers who can also play power forward, but the big difference is that Washington is already 25 years old. He might still improve some, especially as a 3-point shooter, but Charlotte is paying for the guy Washington is now, not who he is going to be.
I would argue that Beef Stew is at least as good as Washington now, and will be even better by the time he hits the magical age of 25, which is when most NBA players start to take on what will eventually be their peak form.
The Hornets paid the same amount for a guy who is probably closer to his ceiling than Stewart is at this point, so if Beef Stew continues to improve, his contract could look like a bargain in a few seasons.