Detroit Pistons: Is James Wiseman The Best Big On The Roster?


Did you have James Wiseman as the only viable candidate to finish the season averaging a double-double for the Detroit Pistons? The caution fans felt initially, is a faint echo in the distance of Wiseman averaging 13.8 points, 9,3 rebounds and one block over 14 games since the acquisition.

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And this should get you more excited, since settling into Detroit Wiseman has averaged 16.4 PPG, 10 RPG to go with 1.4 BPG over the last 8 games. Was anyone expecting this type of production so quickly?

Despite the small sample size, Wiseman’s production places him firmly in the conversation of best front court player on the roster. Isaiah Stewart proved to be the “heart and soul” of the team, but Troy Weaver recognized the benefit in adding more size citing the Bucks, Celtics and Cavaliers. Despite Jalen Duren’s breakout rookie campaign, and Marvin Bagley returning to form, Wiseman has added a lot.

This provides max flexibility heading into a pivotal draft and free agency that could see players like Marvin Bagley more expendable. And Wiseman would deserve to start if current production continues, along with Weaver’s desire to play bigger lineups.

But what exactly makes Wiseman arguably the best big on the roster? I’ve identified a few traits and skills that may tip the skills in his favor.

Back to the Basics

Detroit’ers and even Michiganders ask for a few thing from their sports teams: PLAY HARD AND PLAY DEFENSE! Playing for the city on the jersey has always been the language Detroit fans understand most. Not the flash and sizzle, or the lights, and cameras. But all of the action.

Getting back to the basics has been one source of Wiseman’s success, and anxiety since becoming a Pistons. “I was worried about getting rebounds,” Wiseman said. “Passing to the guards, running the floor, and playing with energy.” He admitted his teammates have been a big source of support encouraging him to “play hard” and “play defense”.

Wiseman has simplified things on the offensive side too, despite being versatile enough to score at all three levels. He’s better established position in the post, and has been a big open target for teammates.

Basketball IQ

I’ve grown impressed with Wiseman’s perceived basketball IQ on offense. He just makes the right cut, the right dive, the right show and the right seal, which aides his versatile approach. He also appears very present and aware of how to improvise based on what defensive wrinkles have been deployed against.

A few plays Wiseman walked up to set a pick for the ball handler, but cut towards the open space in the paint instead. Killian Hayes found Wiseman easily for a dunk. It looked so easy, but so foreign in a Detroit jersey that it has me salivating to a degree at the potential.

His belief in the principles of former Pistons champions bleeds through his style of play, how he carries himself and respects the game. He also believes in what Troy Weaver is building, and are close to the finish line. “We got the talent,” Wiseman said. “It’s just about staying focused and putting it together in the end.”

Detroit Pistons Biggest Wiseman Concerns

Before James Wiseman became a Detroit Piston I had many concerns about his actual ability and skillset translating to the NBA. Durability seemed to be an after thought, despite it playing a role in diminishing opportunities to prove himself.

He’s missed a lot of games due to injury and roster construction in Golden State, but has appeared durable in the 14 game sample size as a Piston.

The biggest question left that must be answered as it relates to James Wiseman: Can you trust his injury past if you see him part of the future?

What’s Next for the Detroit Pistons

Jaden Ivey and the Detroit Pistons play the Atlanta Hawks on the road, Tuesday, March 21st at 7:30 PM.

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