Even if the Detroit Pistons struggled to find a rhythm last season, they ended it on a respectable pace that they could bring over to this season. The organization has decided to build its current roster around prized sophomore Cade Cunningham by adding pieces that would fit perfectly with his play style. Bojan Bogdanovic was a steal from the Utah Jazz, who will an immense role with the Pistons this year.
Bogdanovic is on an expiring deal, which incentivizes him, even more, to play at a higher level to earn a new contract. Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are expected to take another leap this season, while the hope is also for a couple of their youngsters to exceed expectations. Reaching the play-in tournament will be a significant achievement for the franchise, so let’s see what other predictions the Detroit fans can expect.
Cade Cunningham wins MIP
Predicting the Most Improved Player of the year this year is very tough, especially with the numerous stars returning from major injuries. The trend of winning MIP over the past few seasons has been individuals who have taken an All-Star caliber jump, so Cade Cunningham could be that individual who takes it this season. A guaranteed first-time All-Star selection will be difficult for Cunningham but claiming his first major NBA award will be a bit more plausible.
Cunningham began the season on a tough note last year but still ended with fantastic numbers of 17 PPG, 5 RPG, and 5 APG. Increasing the rebounds and assists to 7 or 8 would be achievable for the 6’6″ point guard, along with raising the point total to over 20 per game on a Pistons offense centered around him. Cunningham’s efficiency will also be better as the 41.6% FG and 31.4% 3FG were more of him adjusting to the pace and style in the NBA.
Jalen Duren is one of the steals of the draft
After being drafted by the Charlotte Hornets in the lottery, it was shocking to see him ship a big man out of their squad without playing a single game. Jalen Duren will have a chip on his shoulder to prove that he deserves a rotational spot in an NBA roster. With a couple of skillful playmakers in Detroit, his interior presence and 59.7 FG% will be unlocked in Motor City.
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, and Killian Hayes will continuously feed Duren the ball, but he will need to finish at the rim more consistently. The pushing and shoving in the shaded lane are vastly different from college ball, so Duren must adjust more on both ends of the floor. His shot-blocking process will also be vital for the Pistons, so it would not be surprising for him to overtake Isaiah Stewart in the rotation at some point this year.
Finally a Pistons breakout for Killian Hayes
Entering the NBA Draft a couple of years ago, Killian Hayes was hyped to be one of the best guards of his class, especially because of his playing tenure in Europe. But the Pistons youngster has struggled with his shot, as Hayes has shot below 40% in his first two years in the association.
The key change would be playing with Cade Cunningham for the whole duration of the season, who will set him up for a plethora of opportunities. Furthermore, the outside shooting repertoire of Bojan Bogdanovic and Saddiq Bey will force defenses to close out on the corners, which gives Killian Hayes more space to operate. It’s not just in the court but another season of experience and maturity will integral for his development.