The Detroit Pistons have plenty of questions hanging over the team, and some of them have gotten more pressing amidst early injury concerns.
The Pistons entered training camp with big question marks around the backup guard and center positions and Monty Williams threw even more doubt and speculation into it by bringing Jaden Ivey off the bench, which no one saw coming.
But Williams recently gave some clarification by saying the Pistons would use a 10-player rotation when healthy. So we’ve at least got the number of players he plans to use, but still don’t know the names.
There are a few locks for the rotation, but the rest is up in the air.
Locks for the Pistons’ rotation so far
The key part of Williams’ statment was the “if healthy” part, as those may end up being the two most important words for the Detroit Pistons this season. But if healthy, they have eight locks for the rotation this season:
- Cade Cunningham
- Ausar Thompson
- Bojan Bogdanovic
- Isaiah Stewart
- Jalen Duren
- Jaden Ivey
- Monte Morris
- Alec Burks
If all of these players are healthy at the same time (big if), they will be a part of Monty Williams’ 10-player rotation, which doesn’t leave much space for the rest of the roster.
Probably in the Pistons’ rotation as of right now
The rest of the roster will be battling it out for the final two spots in the rotation and to be fill-in players when there are injuries.
If I had to guess right now, I’d say these final two spots will go to Killian Hayes and Marvin Bagley III, though that could certainly change from day to day.
Hayes has looked much more confident in the preseason, has shot the ball well and played good defense. MBIII has at least shown that he can work in the pick-and-roll and get buckets around the rim. More importantly, James Wiseman has still looked lost a lot of the time even though he did record a 20/10 in the last preseason game.
Players who are going to get a shot
Hayes and Bagley III haven’t locked up anything, and there are other players who will get a chance at some point in the season.
- Isaiah Livers
- Marcus Sasser
- Joe Harris
- James Wiseman
Wiseman will almost certainly get run this season. If MBIII is ineffective, injured or stops giving effort on defense, Wiseman will be right behind him. There is also a chance that MBIII gets traded this season, so the door is definitely not closed for Wiseman.
Same for Marcus Sasser, who should emerge later in the season if the Pistons end up trading one or more of their veterans.
Harris is there for insurance, as we know he can at least knock down 3’s at a high rate.
The big wildcard here is probably Livers, who might have had a spot locked up by now if he could just stay healthy. But he’s out for 4-6 more weeks at least.
The longshot for the Pistons’ rotation
Stanley Umude has played really well in preseason. He has shot the 3-pointer at a high rate, defended a few spots and brought energy off the bench. There’s a lot to like about his size on the wing, so if the Pistons have a few injuries or things go badly early on, don’t be shocked to see Umude get a call up at some point if he ends up on a two-way contract.