Detroit Pistons: All Eyes on Jalen Duren


Are you in favor of more playing time for Jalen Duren? That should become a reality because of a string of unfortunate injuries depleting the Pistons front court. He also showed he deserves more minutes during the Pistons 150-130 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Monday night.

We don’t know when big men Marvin Bagley and Isaiah Stewart will return. Stewart (shoulder) missed the Bucks game and is listed as day-to-day. Bagley underwent successful hand surgery a few weeks ago. Six weeks are needed before doctors get a better idea of when he might return.

The front court was viewed as a strength coming into the season. General Manager Troy Weaver greeted Bagley with a three-year, $37 million contract extension. He fortified the front court by bringing in Nerlens Noel and Duren with draft pick acquired from the Jerami Grant trade with Portland.

This added more beef to a front court that included Stewart, aka Beef Stew.

Duren (23 points, 15 rebounds) played well during the loss to Milwaukee, but was overwhelmed by big men Giannis Antetokounmpo (29 points, 12 rebounds), Brook Lopez (21 points) and Bobby Portis (18 points, 10 rebounds off the bench).

Coach Dwane Casey thought his team could’ve given better defensive effort despite the injures. “Well, it’s about pride at that time. Our defensive pride, somewhere, somehow, we’ve got to commit to the defensive end. Casey continued “We’re there, but we’re not there.”

The starters played well. However, injuries crippled the bench. Bojan Bogdanovic poured in 33 points on 6 of 7 shooting from behind the arc.

Rookie Jaden Ivey wishes he could’ve made a few more baskets during his 4-12 shooting night. But he did finish with a double-double scoring 12 points and dishing out 11 assists. He started in place of the injured Killian Hayes.

The Big Fella’

Duren should be applauded for his heroic performance against the Bucks’ mighty front court. But he got little help from teammates.  The six minutes from Noel wasn’t enough.

Duren did a little bit of everything as he filled the stat sheet. He even had four stocks. Yes, stocks, one of my favorite basketball stats when analyzing front court basketball players… not a financial market.

STOCKS = Blocks + Steals. Duren had two each.

It was a pretty good night for the rookie who found himself in the top five of Sports Illustrated’s rookie rankings. But his coach wants more.

“He had a good night after being off for so long. Was really happy with his offensive production,” Dwane Casey said. “There’s things defensively we have to do better” But he’s a rookie, we give them grace. It’s ugly sometimes, but they have to go through this to get to where we want to go.”

Defensively he can and will improve, but he didn’t look lost taking on such a big challenge. The most impressive part of his night defensively was having only two fouls in 31 minutes of play.

What’s Next

The Detroit Pistons play the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday at 7 PM.

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Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports