The Detroit Pistons have reached the halfway point of their 2022-23 season. Well, roughly halfway. Through 40 games, the Pistons sit with a 10-30 record, the worst in the NBA. The team is about on par with where it sat at this point last season. In 2021-22, Detroit held a 9-31 record through its first 40 games.
A one-game improvement from last season is nothing to write home about. The Pistons have shown signs of development over the course of this season, but their record does not reflect that.
A season-ending injury to star point guard Cade Cunningham only worsened Detroit’s on-court production. It is not unexpected for a team built around Cunningham to not succeed in his absence. However, the team was not winning much with Cunningham in the lineup either.
At the 20-game mark of the season, I released my last Detroit Pistons stock watch. For the most part, the stocks of those players have gone unchanged. Killian Hayes continues to play well in Cunningham’s absence. Saddiq Bey has improved his performances over the past 20 games but continues to struggle with consistency. Kevin Knox has been a serviceable bench piece.
With another 20 games under the team’s belt, it is time to take another look at the stocks of some of the team’s players. Here are the Detroit Pistons whose stocks are on the rise and whose stocks are falling at the halfway point of the 2022-23 season.
Stock Down: Jaden Ivey
Jaden Ivey jumped out to a hot start to his rookie season. Through his first 12 games, the 20-year-old averaged 15.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 32 percent from beyond the arc. Since Cunningham fell out of the lineup, Ivey’s play began to regress.
Without Cunningham in the lineup, Ivey’s points per game has not dipped to much, falling to 14.9. However, with more attention from opposing defenses, Ivey has struggled with scoring efficiency. Without Cunningham, Ivey is shooting 39.4 percent from the floor and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc. His turnovers per game have jumped from 2.2 with Cunningham to 3.1 without him.
After Hayes was suspended due to an on-court altercation with Mo Wagner during Detroit’s Dec. 28 matchup with the Orlando Magic, Ivey was tasked to start at point guard for the next three games. The rookie struggled. Ivey averaged 12 points and four assists, including a strong 22 points outing against the Chicago Bulls. However, Ivey also averaged 4.7 turnovers per game and turned in a one-point performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ivey shot 36 percent from the floor during that three-game stretch.
Ivey is going through the growing pains expected of a rookie. His performance has not been as strong as it was early in the season, but he has continued to flash the immense potential he holds. While the rookie’s stock is trending down right now, he has shown more than enough to prove he will continue developing with more experience.
Stock Up: Jalen Duren
Since the previous Detroit Pistons stock watch, Jalen Duren established himself in the team’s starting lineup. In 13 games as a starter, Duren is averages 8.6 points and 11.4 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game.
Duren pairs well with Isaiah Stewart who transitioned to the power forward position earlier this season. The pair have shown potential as a high-end defensive frontcourt. While both are still adjusting to their new roles, it is clear they have the ability and talent to be the long-term big-man duo for Detroit.
Like Ivey, Duren will go through his fair share of growing pains as he adjusts to the league. However, it is impressive for a 19-year-old to play at the level Duren has reached and play himself into the starting lineup. He was not even expected to play a significant role in the team’s rotation when he was initially drafted, not by those outside the organization at least.
Stock Up: Hamidou Diallo
Hamidou Diallo did not start off the season on a good note. He struggled with scoring around the basket, and he was pulled from the lineup on multiple occasions. Over the past few games, Diallo has shown significant improvement from his early season woes.
Over his past 10 games, Diallo averages 8.5 points while shooting 62.5 percent from the floor. In his past five games, he averages 11.4 points on 63.9 percent shooting. He has been a key contributor to the success of Detroit’s bench unit. Diallo was one of the three bench players who featured in Detroit’s closing lineup against the Timberwolves in the team’s 116-104 victory.
Diallo is in the final year of his contract. If he is able to continue playing at the level he is currently at over the course of the rest of the season, he will likely find himself with a decent role-player-sized long-term contract this offseason. Whether that is with the Detroit Pistons or elsewhere is yet to be seen.
Stock Up: Alec Burks
Alec Burks has been everything the Pistons could want from a veteran bench player. He can play as a primary ball-handler, he can create his own shot and he defends well. Since hitting his stride after coming back from injury, Burks has elevated the play of the Pistons’ bench unit.
He averages 14.2 points per game off 46.4 percent shooting from the floor and 44.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Pistons have not shied away from allowing Burks to take over the game plan. His 32 points in Detroit’s victory over the Magic were a season-high for Burks.
By all accounts, Burks is a player the Pistons want to retain through next season. He has a team option on his contract, so there is little difficulty in that. However, with how well Burks has played for Detroit, there is a good chance teams come calling about his availability. For the right price, it would not be shocking to see Burks dealt at the trade deadline. If he continues to play at this level, his asking price will only go up.
(Featured Image Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports)