The Detroit Pistons were up and down in the preseason, which you would expect from a young roster still trying to build chemistry and cohesion.
There were some disturbing trends dating back to last season, with early injuries, defensive lapses and silly turnovers, but there were plenty of positives the Pistons can build on.
With Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris and Isaiah Livers out to start the season, the Pistons lineups and depth chart aren’t set in stone and we could see a lot of shuffling early on.
To overcome these early challenges, the Pistons are going to have to continue the things they did well in the preseason.
Killian Hayes making an impact for the Pistons
Killian Hayes led the team in scoring, was second in assists and first in steals in the preseason, and while I don’t expect that to continue (maybe the assists and steals), getting something from Hayes will help the Pistons overcome early injuries to Bogdanovic and Morris. Killian’s ability to defend up could allow Detroit to go small and put their best defenders on the court at the same time. If he can continue to be aggressive and make shots, Killian can patch some of the holes left by injuries.
Ausar Thompson’s rebounding
There was a lot to like about Ausar Thompson in the preseason, but what really stood out was how aggressive and effective he was on the boards. He grabbed 9.3 per game in the preseason to lead the team. This is something Detroit needs, as his defensive rebounds can lead to fast breaks and offensive rebounds can lead to extra chances, which is a big deal for a team that will likely struggle offensively in the half-court early on. The Pistons are going to miss a lot of shots, but have guys who can get after it on the boards, including Thompson.
The Cade Cunningham/Jalen Duren pick-and-roll could be the Pistons go-to play
We didn’t get to see enough of this to call it a trend, but Cade and Duren look to have something going in the pick-and-roll. Duren rolls with intent and if you leave him, he’ll dunk on you. If you don’t, Cade can make you pay in the pick-and-roll and has the patience to let the play develop:
Detroit is going to have spacing issues with Bojan and Morris out and this is one way to overcome them.
Joe Harris looking healthy
I didn’t expect much from Harris this season, but he did look more like his old self in the preseason, knocking down 66 percent of his 3-point shots. His contributions will be important early on, as Detroit will need someone to spread the floor. With just Burks and Harris left as veteran shooters, their role has become even more important. Let’s hope Harris has some miles left in his legs and can provide that long-range shooting.
Marcus Sasser hitting 3-pointers
Sasser may get some early run with Morris out and he looks ready to step into that role. He has a lot of poise for a rookie and showed he can come off the bench and get buckets while being a pest on defense. Sasser has to work on his shot selection overall, but he shot 40 percent from long range in the preseason on nearly four attempts per game. If he can do that in the regular season, he’ll get minutes and can help make up for the absence of their other shooters.