It didn’t take long for the Detroit Pistons to show how this season could finally be different.
Yes, they lost the opener against Miami, but they did it behind an active defense that was flying around and played with much more discipline on that end. They ended the game with 13 blocks, nine combined from Ausar Thompson and Jalen Duren, and held the Heat in check late in the game as the Pistons made their comeback. They made some stupid turnovers early but didn’t let it affect them on defense, which is big.
I walked away from the game with an optimistic feeling, as Detroit was doing this shorthanded with a young team that had barely played together.
There was a lot to like and I feel bad for the fans in my mentions who can’t find anything positive to talk about in a game where Cade Cunningham looked like a superstar and the Pistons lost by one point on the road with a shot to win the game against a good Miami team.
That said, their biggest flaw (for now) was on full display as Cade Cunningham filled it up while everyone else watched.
The Pistons need a secondary scorer
The Pistons definitely missed Bojan Bogdanovic last night and needed someone to step up as the secondary scorer behind Cade Cunningham.
Jaden Ivey and Killian Hayes were a combined 5-of-19 and Killian missed all of his 3-point attempts. Ivey looked like a rookie in his first game as he tried to adjust to a new role which he doesn’t look entirely happy with.
Marvin Bagley III got the Pistons some much-needed buckets and both Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart picked up some of the slack, but got most of their points off effort and second chances, though Beef Stew did knock down a couple of threes.
But these aren’t players you necessarily have to guard, which left Miami free to double and triple team Cade Cunningham for most of the second half. The Heat weren’t afraid of anyone else, a glaring problem left by Bojan Bogdanovic’s absence.
That left Cade taking 27 shots and forced all of the offensive pressure onto his shoulders.
The good news is that they were close anyway, and Killian and Ivey aren’t going to shoot that poorly every night, but you do wonder where the Pistons are going to get offense outside of Cade Cunningham while they wait for Bojan to return.
Teams are going to swarm Cade every time he touches the ball, and he’s going to have to work hard for shots. Bogdanovic will hopefully be back in a month, but in the meantime, Detroit is going to need someone else to step up on the offensive end.