The Detroit Pistons are not a good basketball team this year. The team is sitting at 7-22, currently on a three-game losing streak. Their best player, Cade Cunningham, is out for the season after deciding to undergo leg surgery. The team boasts one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, and the Pistons are playing like it.
The signs of promise are there for Detroit. The team has not suffered nearly as many blowout losses as it did at the beginning of the season. The Pistons have only lost two games by more than 10 points since Nov. 11.
The team continues to lose, but Detroit is steadily showing signs of improvement. The team has more wins this season than it did at this time in the 2021-22 season. Players are finding their roles within the team. The Pistons’ 2022 rookie class has gone through growing pains, but overall the rookies look good.
The Pistons are bad. The team’s hopes for making a run to the play-in tournament no longer exist. This season is completely about developing young talent and finding out which players are a part of the long-term plans for this team.
The Pistons’ players have shown promise in some areas of their game this season. A few days ago, the starting lineup received an article detailing a promising stat for each starter. Now it is the bench unit’s turn. Here is one promising stat for each Detroit Pistons bench rotation player.
(Note: Players need to have played in at least half of Detroit’s games to qualify as part of the bench unit.)
Jalen Duren played his way into the Detroit Pistons’ starting lineup
Jalen Duren: 7.3 rebounds per game (12.5 as a starter)
At the time of writing the promising starters’ stats article, Pistons rookie Jalen Duren was not a member of the team’s starting five. Things have changed. Duren, 19, has played his way into the starting lineup for Detroit. He has been an aggressive shot blocker and finisher around the rim. However, Duren’s rebounding numbers are just as impressive.
Duren averages 7.3 rebounds per game on the season, including 2.9 offensive rebounds. He ranks second, behind Isaiah Stewart, for team rebounding leaders. However, when adjusting for minutes played, Duren has the edge over Stewart. Per 36 minutes and Per 100 possessions, Duren ranks first on the team in rebounding. Since entering the starting lineup, Duren’s rebounding numbers have gone up even further. The rookie big man averages 12.5 rebounds in two starts, including three offensive rebounds.
Two games is a small sample size, but Duren is showing he can dominate the boards when given the chance. Having that success against the likes of Joel Embiid and the rest of the NBA’s top centers is still yet to be seen.
Shooting woes moved Saddiq Bey to a bench role
Saddiq Bey: Shooting 42.5 percent on corner threes
Saddiq Bey has not enjoyed a particularly good season so far. The third-year wing has struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 29.9 percent on the season. He remains a poor defender. Bey has continued to develop putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim. He has seen his free throw numbers increase as a result. While Bey has improved in these areas, his struggles with shooting efficiency made him the odd man out of Detroit’s starting five when the coaching staff moved to a two-big lineup.
Bey’s shooting woes have improved a bit since coming off the bench. He shoots 33.3 percent from beyond the arc when he comes off the bench. However, throughout the season, Bey has shot well from the corner. He is shooting 42.5 percent on corner threes, including 46.2 percent from the right corner. It is above the break where Bey truly struggles as he is shooting 25.3 percent on above-the-break threes. Bey could benefit from more corner three looks moving forward.
The Detroit Pistons bench unit has had to step up during an injury-plagued season
Alec Burks: 13.5 bench points per game
Since joining the Pistons’ rotation this season, Alec Burks has been a reliable scorer. The veteran guard has scored 13.5 points per game coming off the bench. He scores efficiently. Burks is shooting 43.2 percent from the floor and 38.2 percent from three-point range. He is scoring as an off-ball shooter and as a self-creator. If the Pistons need a bucket, Burks can find his spot, create space and consistently sink a shot.
Hamidou Diallo: Shooting 62.7 percent shooting in the restricted area
The Pistons do not ask Hamidou Diallo to do much more than play to his strengths on offense. The 24-year-old wing cannot shoot. He is a cutter. This season, cutting and driving to the basket is exactly what Diallo has done for the Pistons. This season, Diallo is shooting 67.2 percent off 2.6 attempts per game in the restricted area. Diallo has seen his minutes dip and has fallen out of the rotation in some recent games. However, when he receives his opportunities to play, he is a reliable finisher around the rim.
Cory Joseph: Shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc
At this point in his career, Cory Joseph is not the guy a team wants as its backup point guard. With Cunningham out long-term due to injury, the Pistons had to turn to Joseph yet again to play backup minutes. While the veteran is not shooting the ball as well as he did last season, Joseph’s 37.2 percent from three-point range is enough to keep defenses honest. Joseph’s play is not winning the Pistons any games, but his reliability is not costing them any either.
Kevin Knox: 36.1 percent shooting from three-point range
Kevin Knox has struggled with shooting efficiency throughout his entire career. This season with the Detroit Pistons, Knox has finally started knocking down his shots. The fifth-year wing is shooting 36.1 percent from beyond the arc, including 39.2 percent off catch-and-shoot attempts. Stardom is no longer in Knox’s NBA future, but if he continues to shoot at this level, he will enjoy a long career as a three-point specialist.
Isaiah Livers: 4.5 contested shots per game
Isaiah Livers is not having a repeat shooting season in 2022-23. The second-year forwards shooting numbers are down from last season when he shot above 40 percent from beyond the arc. However, Livers’ defense continues to be where he hangs his hat. Livers brings high energy on the defensive end. This season, Livers averages 4.5 contested shots per game, the third most of any Piston not playing center. The Pistons miss the defensive impact Livers brings. He has missed the last five games with a shoulder injury.
(Featured Image Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports