The Detroit Pistons 2020-2021 season so far has been exciting and fresh for the fans. The Pistons currently are in the last place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9-25, but does not show the toughest and fight this team has every night on the court. The young core that is assembled this season has gotten fans excited for the future. In particular, the young guys such as Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart have made this season fun to watch. Here are some highlights and developments that fans should know about through the first half of the season.
Rookies Shine and Development
The young rookies have made a center stage for Pistons fans this season. The Derrick Rose and possibly soon Blake Griffin trade have opened the doors for the rookies to have more experience and development on the floor. Pistons fans have been most invested in rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart. Blake not participating in games anymore has opened the door for Bey to grow each game. Bey’s 3 point shooting keeps improving night in and night out. Bey’s monster performance against Boston Celtics on February 12, when he shot seven threes in a row, earned him a starting spot the next game against the Pelicans. Bey earned Eastern Conference Player of the Week for week 8 of the season.
Isaiah Stewart has been a beast at the center spot for the team. Stewart’s present on the defensive end is compared to former Pistons Champion Ben Wallace. Stewart recorded his third career double-double against the Pelicans on February 24, but that does not stop Stewart from growing and developing. Teammate Saddiq Bey stated about Stewart, “He’s our leader back in the paint,” Bey said of Stewart, the 16th pick in November’s draft. “He plays hard on both ends, runs the floor hard, and does a lot for us. He’s done that throughout the season,” according to the Detroit Pistons.
Jerami Grant is a Bucket
The Detroit Pistons made big pushes during free agency bringing in a variety of talent to the roster. The most standout free agent pick-up was Jerami Grant. Grant is averaging a career-high 23 points per game and is ranked 21st in the NBA and ranked first on the Pistons. Also, Grant is the 18th in the NBA for total points scored with 773 points per the Land of Basketball.com. Grant leads the Pistons in blocks per game as well. According to Vegas Insider, Grant is the top pick for the NBA’s Most Improved Award, with his odds at the highest at -230.
Pistons Guards Stepping Up
The Detroit Pistons have seen a jump in their guards these past couple of weeks. Pistons guards Delon Wright, Dennis Smith, and Saben Lee keep improving each game. Delon Wright has made a significant impact by replacing Killian Haynes as the starter due to Hayne’s injury. Wright’s leadership on the offensive ends is shown by leading the team in assist. Saben Lee and Dennis Smith Jr have been a dynamic duo for the past few games. The two have been set up to replace Wright and Haynes, both out with injuries. Lee has been a bucket for the Pistons and came off a career-high 21 points on February 23 against the Magic. Also, Lee is Detroit’s leader in 3-point percentage, and he is shooting 66.7% from downtown.
On the other side, Smith Jr has made a massive impact on the ball’s defensive side. Smith Jr has averaged 2 steals and 1.67 blocks per game the past six games. Smith Jr. has proved to Coach Casey to be a pass first point guard by averaging 4.17 assets per game the past six games. It will be interesting how Coach Casey rotates the guards once Wright and Haynes return later this season.
Pistons Never Back Down
Detroit Pistons record has not shown the whole story for the team this season. The Pistons had big wins this season against some top teams such as the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, and Brooklyn Nets. Out of the 17 out of the 23 losses have been games with a 10 point margin or lower, according to Mlive. The team night in and night out keeps on fighting until the last minute all season long. It reminds many fans back when Bad Boys, and the Going to Work Pistons were playing back in the day. Coach Dwane Casey stated the team’s improvement, commenting, “That’s why it’s exciting to think about the future,” Casey said. “Add some pieces, make some moves, whatever it is. But the foundation is being built in front of us – right now.” per the Detroit Pistons.
Pistons fans should be excited for what is to come from this team during the second half, and behind. Detroit Pistons end the first half of the season against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and New York Knicks on Thursday.