Will the Detroit Pistons run out of patience with these 2 players?

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

As another disappointing season winds down for the Detroit Pistons, fans have pivoted to the offseason and are wondering what the team is going to do about it. 

If this were year one or two of the rebuild, certain weaknesses would be less concerning, but in year four heading into year five, the clock is ticking on this young group that is going to get more expensive starting this summer with the extension of Cade Cunningham. 

Given the question marks around the front office and coaching staff, the Pistons may be forced to be impatient this offseason, to finally choose a path, and it could start by shaking up their young core. 

The Detroit Pistons and Jalen Duren 

In most situations a team would be very happy with the progress of a 20-year-old center who is already an elite rebounder, a very good lob threat and a decent passer for a big man. But he’s not a good defender and that’s an issue for a team with the 26th-ranked defense that is allowing nearly 120 points per game.  

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The Pistons are 21st in blocked shots per game and the only reason they are that high is because of their guards and Ausar Thompson, who leads the team in blocks per game from the wing. Both Duren and James Wiseman are among the centers with the fewest blocks per game this season, and if you look at the list, most of the rest of the guys on it are not traditional centers. Guys like Kelly Olynyk and Karl-Anthony Towns are stretch fives who play away from the hoop and are not asked to be the defensive anchor of their teams. 

One way or another, the Pistons have to improve their defense at center, whether that means trading Duren for an upgrade or merely getting him some additional help with a backup who can protect the rim. 

The Pistons have to decide if Duren’s upside is worth waiting for and if they have the patience to stomach his growing pains on defense. 

The Detroit Pistons and Jaden Ivey 

It’s wild to talk about patience when speaking of second-year players who do deserve more time to develop, but again, the Pistons’ situation is not normal. Under normal circumstances you’d give Ivey and Duren time to figure it out, but when you are historically bad, the circumstances are far from normal. 

Ivey still isn’t a good fit with Cade Cunningham and that’s just a fact. He might be someday, but he’s not currently, so similar with Duren, the Pistons have to decide if his upside with Cunningham is worth waiting for. 

Will the Pistons have the patience to allow this development and chemistry to happen organically? Because if they think it’s not going to happen, or not going to happen anytime soon, then it’s Ivey who could be shipped out this summer. 

This losing can’t go on forever in the name of “player development,” especially if the development isn’t happening in the areas it needs to. It wouldn’t be easy to move on from either of these players, but how much patience can the team have when on the cusp of the worst season in franchise history? How much patience are fans supposed to have for a team that somehow just keeps getting worse?