With Monte Morris out for the first preseason game, the Detroit Pistons turned to their young guards off the bench.
I never say “I told you so,” and I don’t like people who do.
So, I’ll say it again: Killian Hayes and Marcus Sasser complement one another well.
Marcus Sasser looked every bit the rookie that he is. Playing in his first game against NBA competition, he fouled out in thirteen minutes. A foul every two minutes must be a record somewhere.
There was plenty about this game that made me cringe, but there were a few things that gave me hope for the Detroit Pistons and their future.
Killian Hayes and Marcus Sasser see early action
Killian Hayes pushed the pace of the game, distributed the basketball well, and played well near the basket. He and Sasser played solid defense.
Sasser will need time to adjust to the pace and physicality of the NBA. He’s small as a shooting guard, and he’s playing against bigger defenders. His rotations were tight, and he looked locked-in on both sides of the court. With a few more reps, a better understanding of angles, preferences, and some of the tricks veterans use to draw fouls, Sasser might stay on the floor longer than one quarter.
When he’s out there, the defense should benefit. He’ll learn to find his place in the offense, and his teammates will learn his spots. He might need some time in the G-League to gain his footing, but his mistakes appeared to be from overplaying. He was focused and working hard, both good signs.
In the meantime, Monte Morris can play a similar role alongside Hayes, and he should make Hayes better. He’ll also be able to mentor both Hayes and Sasser. Morris’ veteran presence can’t be overrated, and Detroit’s young backcourt will benefit from his presence.
The first preseason game was tough to watch, but the bench backcourt gave me hope. The defense of Hayes and Sasser helped the Detroit Pistons claw back into the game, and their defense could give the team a calling card as the season progresses.