Three reasons to be excited from a suffering Pistons fan
John Kalemkerian | Thursday, October 7, 2021
You may be wondering who in their right mind would choose the Pistons, of all teams, to highlight with the NBA season just two weeks away. Yes, we have been one of the most dysfunctional and boring teams in the league since, well, probably 2008. And no, on paper we don’t exactly look like we’ll be contending for anything except another first overall pick this season, but we’ll take what we can get in the world of Detroit sports. If nothing else, the return of Pistons basketball means a distraction from the miserable weekly performance at Ford Field. Despite myself, I’ll try my hardest to keep any expectations I propose here realistic, although for entertainment’s sake, and for my own amusement, I may come off as slightly overconfident. So let’s hop into three things to be excited about this season’s edition of Deeetroit Basketball!
You knew it was coming so I may as well start off here. Cade. The savior. The light at the end of the tunnel. The reward for suffering through a dismal, and at times unwatchable, 20-52 season. From the moment he donned Buffs on draft night, Cade has been embraced by the entire fanbase and has taken it upon himself to in turn embrace the Detroit basketball culture. Cade has repeated in interview after interview that he loves Detroit and has mentioned beefing with second overall pick Jalen Green during Summer League after Green made it known Detroit wasn’t his preferred destination. On the floor, the 6’8’’ Oklahoma State product projects as an all-around star; a creator, shot-maker and lockdown defender. His build and play style have drawn comparisons to young superstar Luka Doncic. If Cade shows even flashes of Doncic’s ability this season, I’ll be ecstatic.
Dwane Casey and Troy Weaver
It’s no secret around the league that Casey is a top coaching talent; his 2018 Coach of the Year Award with Toronto should be enough to prove this. Beginning his fourth campaign with Detroit, Casey’s doesn’t seem to be on any sort of a hot seat despite failing to post a winning record in each of his first three seasons. One of the main reasons for this is general manager Troy Weaver. “Troy Reaper” as he is known among Pistons fans on Twitter, has effectively and efficiently overhauled the entire roster since taking over in June 2020. Yes, the entire roster; not a single player remains from the pre-Weaver days, making 20 year-old Killian Hayes the longest tenured Piston. Even if the on-court product is lacking this season, at least we Pistons fans can sleep comfortably knowing that we have a GM doing everything he can to turn the franchise around.
Last year’s draft class was the most exciting in recent memory. Killian Hayes, injured much of last year and written off by many as a bust, will have a chance to prove himself a worthy backcourt mate for Cade. Isaiah Stewart, affectionately known as “Beef Stew” by Pistons’ Twitter, provided the best defensive energy we’ve seen in Detroit since Ben Wallace (yes, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace). Saddiq Bey knocked down around 40 percent of his three-pointers, and is also a very good defender in his own right. Last but not least, the undersized second-rounder Saben Lee showed Westbrookian athleticism and can turn into a legit sixth-man this year. “Young Core” may be the most overused phrase in the world of NBA analysis, but the Pistons legitimately have some of the most exciting young players in the league.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.