The Detroit Pistons have had several injuries and a tough early schedule that has forced Monty Williams to adjust on the fly.
Regardless of the health of Detroit’s other guards, Marcus Sasser has proven he deserves real minutes this season.
When the Detroit Pistons moved up to the 25th overall pick to grab Marcus Sasser, I loved the pick. I even predicted that the Pistons would do exactly that before the draft had happened. But still, I struggled to see the fit. Detroit had just traded for Flint-native, Monte Morris, to act as backup point guard to Cade Cunningham, and they still had to decide what to do with Killian Hayes. That’s a lot of 1/2 guards and not a lot of minutes to go around. Since the season has started, however, Marcus Sasser has done nothing but prove he deserves to get real minutes in Detroit’s rotation.
Marcus Sasser’s rookie numbers continue to impress
Through six games, Marcus Sasser is averaging 7.2 points, 1 steal and, most importantly, his shooting is off the charts. To start his NBA career, Sasser is shooting 100 percent from the free throw line, 59 percent from the field and 56 percent from deep. His three-point shooting and free throw percentages both rank as the best on the roster, and his field goal percentage is second only to Jalen Duren, who mostly dunks. The rookie from Houston is hitting on an absurd 54.5 percent on catch-and-shoot three-pointers and 45 percent on dribble threes.
Marcus is doing all of this while only averaging 14.2 minutes per game. 14.2 minutes per night is good for the fewest minutes per game outside of Stanley Umude, Jared Rhoden and James Wiseman, who has been limited to just one game due to injury and the play of Marvin Bagley III.
The Detroit Pistons almost mounted an impressive, 25-point comeback against the Pelicans, but would end up falling just short. That comeback was almost entirely fueled by Sasser. Marcus would hit five three-pointers, one to bring it within single digits with just four minutes remaining. While Detroit would end up falling to New Orleans, Sasser was not afraid to let it fly in the middle of a big comeback. He wanted the ball, looked comfortable, and repeatedly did a great job creating for himself if need be.
The Detroit Pistons have to improve their backcourt shooting
As good as Ausar Thompson has been this season, he is still struggling to shoot the ball from three, as was expected when Detroit drafted him. Thompson is now 1-for-16 on the year. Killian Hayes has also struggled mightily from deep, among other things. The two of them are just 7-for-37 from three-point range, which is abysmal. Having a backcourt that cannot space the floor properly is detrimental to the other Detroit players. Cementing Sasser in the rotation, as opposed to Hayes for instance, would do wonders for this roster.
There are a ton of questions to still be answered once Monte Morris and Bojan Bogdanović return from injury. Detroit did not trade for Morris to sit on the bench and they didn’t hold on to Bojan to strictly play a reserve 3/4 role. But with that being said, Monty Williams seems to be seeing the value Sasser brings.
"“He spaces the right way when he’s off the ball. He’s not afraid to take big shots. Defensively, he just battles.” – Monty Williams on Marcus Sasser’s play thus far."
We’ve seen enough in Detroit’s first six games to believe Marcus Sasser has to get real minutes, even when this team is healthy.