Loves and hates for each Detroit Pistons player
Love: His defense is a game-changer. He blocked three shots in the first couple minutes of the game, ending with five overall. He has a little Dennis Rodman vibe to him, as he is uber-athletic and uses that to block shots and disrupt offensive players without fouling. His defense against a multitude of Heat players, including Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo was something to watch and he got blocks against both of them.
Hate: His drives into traffic. Ausar got a little ahead of himself as a playmaker last night, driving wildly into traffic for his two turnovers. He also made some really smart and quick decisions with the ball, so it’s a learning process for the rookie. As for now, I’d like to see most of his playmaking come in transition and not off the bounce in the half court.
Love: That Killian was in the game in crunch time because of his defense. Yes, he was broke from long range, which his haters gleefully pointed out all night on social media *Quick tangent* I am all for criticizing players, but the joy some of these alleged “fans” take in watching one of their own guys fail makes no sense to me. I can’t believe you’d rather watch your team lose and be “right” about a draft that took place three years ago than just cheer for a guy who is on your team. *Rant concluded* Hayes played well defensively against Jimmy Butler in crunch time and showed how you’re going to get minutes from Monty Williams, which is by defending.
Hate: God, If Killian could have just made ONE of his six 3-point attempts, the Pistons win the game. His defense will play in this rotation, but he has to be able to at least hit some of those shots.
Love: To see some rim protection from Duren, who blocked four shots and disrupted plenty more.
Hate: He lost his defensive assignment a few times and let Kevin Love sneak around him all night. First off, I respect Love’s old man game and he’s a crafty ba*****, so I’m not going to worry too much about him outsmarting a teenager several times. Overall Duren was efficient, played within himself, dominated the boards and even added four assists to his 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks.
Love: Beef Stew was the elder statesman out there for much of the night and I loved how he was communicating on defense. He made good decisions with the ball, taking the 3-pointer when it was there and attacking when it wasn’t. Mostly he just battled, gave max effort on defense, got his hands dirty and was the second-best player the Pistons had. I think Stewart answered a lot of questions last night. It wasn’t a perfect game, but you can see why coach Williams and Troy Weaver think Stewart is a culture changer.
Hate: Isaiah Stewart post ups. I am just going to say it, there is no real reason to give him the ball with his back to the basket in the post. He had a couple of nice little jump hooks in there, but those came off movement and dribble penetration. In fact, outside of Marvin Bagley III, the Pistons probably shouldn’t be running post plays for any of their bigs.
Love: That we saw everything we wanted to see out of Cade Cunningham. It wasn’t just the points and clutch shots, it was the way he controlled the game like a 10-year vet. It’s clear he needs a secondary scoring option (they missed Bojan) as he had to do too much at times, but it was a massive performance from Cade, who was the best player on the floor for most of the night.
Hate: That Cade still has a couple of boneheaded turnovers every game. He did it twice in rapid succession in the first half when he threw a lazy, looping pass that was easily picked off and taken the other way for a bucket (five point swing) and again when he jumped before he knew what he wanted to do and tried to fire a cross court pass that had no chance of finding a Piston. Cade is too smart to keep making these types of turnovers, which are the only real flaw in his game. The good news is that he settled down in the second half and only finished the game with three turnovers overall. Just cut out the dumb ones, Cade!