The Detroit Pistons have lost five in a row even though they’ve gotten some good performances from individual players.
Ausar Thompson continues to cement himself firmly in the Rookie of the Year race, Cade Cunningham is racking up points and assists (to go with his turnovers) even though he’s been less efficient as his usage has risen.
There’s been a lot of adversity for a young roster trying to adjust to a new coach, so if you are one of les miserables who think everyone should be fired after a 2-6 start, perhaps trying looking at the season with a little context.
Even with all of the problems, there are several Pistons whose stock is on the rise, while a couple are starting to fade.
Stock soaring: Killian Hayes
I hesitate to write this, as every time I praise Hayes he seems to follow it up with a clunker. But if we are going to eviscerate Killian when he has bad games, then it is only fair to give him his flowers when he’s been good, which he has been of late, at least on the offensive end.
Hayes has averaged 10.8 points, 5.8 assists and 3.6 rebounds during the five-game skid while shooting 44 percent from the field and 43.8 percent from long range. In that span he’s racked up 29 assists to only two turnovers. In just the last three games, Hayes has averaged 14.7 points, 7.0 assists and 3.7 rebounds and shot well over 50 percent from the field and 3-point line, while dishing 21 assists with zero turnovers.
So Killian Hayes has been very good offensively of late, is taking care of the ball and knocking down shots. The only caveats are these: We’ve seen these kinds of stretches before, so he needs to prove he can sustain it, though I don’t think anyone expects Hayes to shoot over 50 percent from long range. The other caveat is that his defense has been up and down.
Hayes is very good at certain aspects of defense, but poor in others. He gambles for too many steals and often lets slower players blow by him because of it, as we saw the other night as Eric Gordon had his way with Hayes. Hayes needs to quit worrying so much about spectacular steals and just play sound, fundamental defense that keeps his guy in front of him, which he is perfectly capable of.
It’s way too early to say Hayes has turned things around, but can we at least cheer for a player on our favorite team when he’s playing well? No? Didn’t think so.