The Detroit Pistons' bench has been in a freefall since early in the season and has only gotten worse.
Isaiah Livers is shooting just 24 percent from long range on the season and has been even worse over the last 10 games, when he has shot just 15 percent from long range.
Alec Burks has continued his inexplicable collapse in the 20 games since returning from injury. He's shooting just 32 percent from long range on the season, the lowest of his career, and just 26 percent since returning from his shoulder problems.
Joe Harris and James Wiseman are essentially unplayable, though that hasn't stopped coach Monty Williams from benching Marvin Bagley III for Wiseman for some reason no one can understand.
Kevin Knox and rookie Marcus Sasser have been up and down, and in Sasser's case, his minutes limited even though he's been shooting the ball decently.
Ausar Thompson has been an afterthought after an exciting start, which would be my biggest complaint about how Monty Williams has used his young players. Maybe with Isaiah Stewart out for a few weeks, we'll see more of Thompson, but I am not holding my breath.
Killian Hayes has been ok this season, but has struggled since returning from an illness, and even at his best he's a bad shooter.
In other words, the Detroit Pistons desperately need bench help and will have to find it wherever they can.
One of my biggest criticisms of the Pistons' player development during this rebuild is that they haven't managed to find a single undrafted or second-round gem, nor have they developed one in the G-League. There is a lot of talent in and around the NBA right now, and plenty of the good teams have found such players, so for the Pistons, who have had more minutes available to develop young guys than any team in the NBA, not to find someone is a huge failure.
They have a chance to finally use their G-League to their advantage this season and possibly breathe some life into this bench, but will they?
The Detroit Pistons and Motor City Cruise
The Pistons have gotten nothing from their G-League affiliate so far this year, but have some players who played well in the Showcase and so far in the G-League regular season.
Rhoden is averaging 23 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists on very good shooting splits of 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3-point range on over five attempts per game. He's got size at 6-foot-5 and could be mixed into different groups off the bench. He's hit a game-winner this season and plays with a little swagger. The Pistons could use it.
Umude has cooled off since the G-League season started and is only shooting 30 percent from long range, but he's taking over nine of them a game. I thought he played well in the limited run he's gotten this season, and at least can be an energy guy who runs the floor, makes a few plays on defense and hits a transition 3-pointer. He couldn't be worse than Livers right now, so I don't see what it would hurt to give him a chance.
Cazalon is another long wing player who could give the Pistons a boost. He hasn't been a prolific scorer, but he's hitting 43 percent of his 3-point shots on nearly six attempts per game.
Given the way Monty Williams has used (or not used more accurately) his young players, it's doubtful he'd give any of these three guys a chance, but why not? The Detroit Pistons need a boost, a spark, and it's possible that a G-League player could give it to them.
They are playing for future jobs, for future minutes with the big team and are going to give it everything they have. It's not like these three players are stars, but they are hitting shots and have actually won some games in the last two months, so maybe they could alter the vibe.
The bench couldn't be worse, so why not see if this is finally the season when the Pistons get something out of their two-way contracts?