What Jalen Duren must do to keep his job as a starter

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards / Jess Rapfogel/GettyImages
1 of 3

It's easy to understand fans' frustrations with the Detroit Pistons after the worst season in franchise history, but saying that certain players aren't good or should be traded may be an overreaction.

No one player or coach could have made this team work last season, which is why we are seeing blame spread across the front office and coaching staff, most of which have been relieved of their duties.

It's hard to win when there is no shooting or defense and every one of your core players is young. Which brings up Jalen Duren.

The second year center was among the team's best players and showed flashes of his potential. in 29 minutes per game, he averaged a double-double, showed signs of being a great passer, and posted three 20-point 20-rebound games. Unfortunately, as great as he was this season in some areas, he significantly regressed on the defensive end, and this, along with a limited offensive game, has fans wondering if he is the center for the future. Keep in mind he's only 20, but there are concerns about this entering free agency and the draft.

New entries to the Pistons all-time draft bust starting lineup. dark. Related Story. New entries to the Pistons all-time draft bust starting lineup

As reported by The Athletic (subscription), the Pistons are expected to target Nic Claxton in free agency, who is considered one of the top defensive centers in the NBA.

There are also questions as to whether the Pistons want to draft UConn Center Donovan Clingan, a two-time national champion known for his rim-protecting prowess. It should be noted that neither move guarantees Duren is traded, but it would put his starting position in jeopardy. If Jalen Duren wants to stay in the starting center, here's what he must do.

1. Work. On. Defense.

This one is obvious, but also not on him entirely. The Pistons had no perimeter defense to slow the opposing team down so he can be a proper shot blocker, but at the same time, he wasn't a good enough shot blocker. Whether it was bad position or bad instincts, Duren was not a good defender or rim protector. For a player with the physical gifts he has (6'10", built like a truck, 42" vertical) he should not be a liability on defense.

To be fair, he's 20. These are things that need to be learned, but for now, what he can do is study film and learn positioning. It's going to take time, but even marginal steps to become a better rim protector will help. Using positions to force opponents to their weakside and his strength as a deterrent will help. If Claxton or Clingan come to Detroit, Duren will be forced to become a better defender or see a reduced role. He doesn't need to become Ben Wallace or Dwight Howard, but if he can use his presence to become at least above average, he can stay a starter on the Detroit Pistons.

But he has other areas in which he needs to improve.