Pistons injury update: Detroit has a center problem

Dec 6, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) shoots in the first
Dec 6, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) shoots in the first / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When the Detroit Pistons traded Saddiq Bey for James Wiseman, fans scratched their heads in confusion.

With Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren and Marvin Bagley III already on the roster, it seemed illogical to trade for another center, especially one as unskilled as Wiseman. None of the Pistons' bigs are very skilled on the offensive end, none are great shooters or guys who are going to spread the floor.

Those who defended the move noted that the Pistons had problems keeping centers healthy, so the depth would come in handy at some point, and that point is now.

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With Jalen Duren already sidelined with a sprained ankle, Marvin Bagley III is now listed as doubtful for tonight's game with the Pacers because of back spasms.

Pistons injuries: Who will play center for Detroit?

The obvious and depressing answer to this question is just to start Isaiah Stewart at center and bring James Wiseman off the bench as little as possible as his backup.

But Monty Williams has rarely done the obvious thing this season.

He's been reluctant to use Stewart at center, instead continuing to put him at the four, even with Duren out. In the most recent humiliation against Orlando, Williams started Stewart alongside Marvin Bagley III with predictable results for the offense, as there was no spacing and the two bigs turned it over a combined five times.

So don't be shocked if Williams rolls out Isaiah Stewart with James Wiseman in the starting five and sends Pistons Twitter into hysterics.

The Pistons have lost 19 straight, so it's not like it matters, but this would be the perfect time for Williams to experiment with some small-ball lineups in an effort to get more shooting on the floor at the same time.

It would be nice to see a starting five of Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes (or Ausar Thompson), Bojan Bogdanovic and Stewart but I won't hold my breath. The Pistons seem willing to ride this two-big thing to the very end whether they win another game or not.

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