Even though they have several injuries, the Detroit Pistons got off to a nice start in the first calendar month of the 2023-24 season.
Giving out grades for the first month of Detroit basketball is difficult, being that only four games were played in October. Given such a small sample size, it’s easy to overreact. With that being said, we were able to get a glimpse of how this season might go, and who will lead this Detroit squad.
Detroit opened against the Heat, Hornets, Bulls and Thunder, going 2-2 over that stretch. There are definitely things the Detroit Pistons did well over the first four games, while also needing to improve in a few areas. Each month, we will reflect back and see how each position group performed, and whether or not our monthly predictions are coming to fruition (so far so good with 100% accuracy).
Let’s go through each position group and give grades on their October performances.
Detroit Pistons report card: Position grades for October
Cade Cunningham: 4 GS, 21 PTS, 2.8 REB, 7.5 AST, .5 STL, .3 BLK, 5.3 TO
Killian Hayes: 4 GS, 8 PTS, 2.3 REB, 4.3 AST, 1.5 STL, .8 BLK, 1.5 TO
Jaden Ivey: 0 GS, 12.3 PTS, 1.5 REB, 3.3 AST, .8 STL, .3 BLK, .2 TO
Alec Burks: 0 GS, 15 PTS, 3.3 REB, 2.3 AST, .3 STL, .8 BLK, 0 TO
Marcus Sasser: 0 GS, 4 PTS, 2 REB, 1.3 AST, .3 STL, 0 BLK, .5 TO
Monte Morris: N/A
Detroit’s point guards easily garnered the most questions coming into the season. We still needed to see what we have in Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, and if Killian Hayes is a part of Detroit’s future. Cade, thus far, has looked the part scoring and usage-wise but has also raised some concerns. We wrote about his unsettling lack of free throws and foul issues last week and Cunningham is also leading the NBA in turnovers. Cade is going to have to clean up the unnecessary fouls and sloppy gameplay before we will be able to consider him as a potential all-star.
Monty Williams threw most fans for a loop when he decided to have Killian Hayes starting at the two-spot over Jaden Ivey. Statistically speaking, Killian is having the worst year of his young career. With that being said, his defense and reading of the offense is something to note, in a positive way. The curious case of Jaden Ivey is also something to watch. As mentioned, Ivey was relegated to coming off the bench, despite having improved shooting numbers this season (something Detroit desperately needs). If Ivey can pair his improved shooting with assist and rebounding numbers from last season, he should absolutely push Hayes for the starting two position.
Alec Burks and Marcus Sasser both have provided great shooting, Burks obviously on a larger scale. Both are shooting the three ball extremely well, Sasser connecting on 57 percent of his attempts, and Burks at 53.8 percent. While Sasser is still learning and growing, Alec is truly a perfect spark off the bench. His 15 points per game mark the second-highest of his career, only second to his 2019-2020 season with Golden State when he averaged 16.1. Depending on where this team is when the deadline approaches, Burks may be shipped out, but I, for one, will be extremely sad to see him go.