Could any of the Detroit Pistons play in the NFL? One former player thinks so

Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks
Detroit Pistons v Atlanta Hawks / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Could the Detroit Pistons play in the NFL? One former player thinks so.

Austin Rivers did this week what all TV sports analysts do so well. He split the internet, and pinned NBA fans against NFL fans. He said, hypothetically, you could "take 30 players right now in the NBA and throw them in the NFL," whereas "You cannot take 30 NFL players and put them in the NBA." Regardless how you feel about the statement itself, the question has to be asked. Which Detroit Pistons players could lineup for the Lions and contribute? To break up the constant stream of mock drafts and trade ideas, let’s dive into this for some fun.

How would the Detroit Pistons lineup for the Lions? 

Let’s start with Detroit’s starting lineup. To me, Detroit’s lineup and their subsequent position on the gridiron are fairly obvious. Cade Cunningham is an easy quarterback. In today’s NFL, QBs are hopefully in the 6-foot-4 range, meaning Cade has the size and then some. His clear IQ and understanding of reading defenses and running offenses make him the easy choice to lead a team. The face of the franchise for the Pistons would act in the same role for the Lions.

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Behind him, lined up at running back, is Marcus Sasser. During his rookie season, Sasser has shown elite quickness and immense confidence when in isolation. Both of these traits would serve Marcus well coming out of the backfield. Additionally, in the NBA, Sasser is slightly undersized as a guard. In the NFL, Marcus would be a perfect sized back. 

On the outside, both Ausar Thompson and Jaden Ivey would be split out. Ausar has great size and his athletic ability to jump out of the gym would give him a truly massive catch radius. Ivey, on the other side, is one of the best in the NBA at getting downhill and drawing contact. Streaking down a sideline, the 6-foot-4 Ivey would be great in close coverage and with contested 50/50 balls. You could also line Ivey up in the backfield alongside Sasser and have him act as a check down option for Cade.

Almost as obvious as Cade being quarterback, the obvious position for Isaiah Stewart to play is tight end. Stew absolutely loves contact, and has shown that he isn’t afraid of anyone. It’s been a common answer for a few years now that Isaiah Stewart isn’t one you want to fight in the NBA. His size, 6-foot-8 250 lbs, added to his increased athletic ability would make him a weapon in both blocking and receiving.

Less obvious is Jalen Duren. Unfortunately for Duren, 6-foot-11 doesn't quite play well on the football field. But, based on his rebounding and above average lob threat abilities, I would likely place him opposite Isaiah at tight end. Duren would mostly be used essentially as a lob threat, but in the corner of the endzone.

The final two guys are harder to place on the gridiron. Simone Fontecchio and Quentin Grimes are somewhat inbetweeners. Both, in my opinion, would be on the defensive side, likely at cornerback and/or safety thanks to their lockdown defense and size. We might want to keep them at LCA and out of Ford Field, however.

So, thank you to Austin Rivers for posing a ridiculous question, giving us a break from mock drafts and trade scenarios, and letting us have some fun. Now back to your regularly scheduled program. The NBA Lottery is on the clock.