The Detroit Pistons didn’t win their first preseason game but there were some positives to build on.
The bench played well against the Phoenix bench, though we have to take that with a grain of salt, as the Suns emptied theirs early and had guys out there who will spend most of their season in the G-League.
But there was one number that really stood out when you look at the box score and that was the assist column. The Detroit Pistons had a whopping 33 assists in the loss to the Suns, which is a good sign for a young team trying to learn a new offensive scheme.
It’s something they can build on as the season progresses.
The Detroit Pistons have playmakers
The Pistons were 27th in the NBA in assists per game last season, which is what happens when you are the worst shooting team in the league. They only averaged 23 assists per game, nearly seven fewer than Golden State, who led the league.
So the Pistons aren’t going to get 33 assists every game, but it’s a good sign, even in the preseason. Ausar Thompson, Cade Cunningham and Killian Hayes all had at least six dimes and Jaden Ivey added four of his own.
With the additions of Thompson and Monte Morris, the Pistons can have at least two playmakers on the floor at all times and maybe more depending on how they use Killian Hayes off the bench.
We saw cutters getting rewarded, lobs for easy dunks and fastbreak outlets against Phoenix that were promising.
Monty Williams stresses ball movement in his .5 offense that asks players to read, react, shoot, pass or cut quickly, which they did at times against Phoenix.
With shooters like Bojan Bogdanovic, Alec Burks, Monte Morris and Joe Harris on the perimeter to go along with cutters like Ausar Thompson, the Detroit Pistons should have plenty of opportunities for assists as long as they stick to coach Williams’ principles, play unselfishly and make quick decisions with the ball.
It’s a work in progress, but that first preseason game gives them something to build on.