The Detroit Pistons have had some great guard combos come through the Motor City. Who can forget the Isiah “Zeke” Thomas and “Gentleman” Joe Dumars duo that led the franchise to back-to-back NBA championships in 1989 and 1990.
The famed Chauncey “Mr. Big Shot” Billups and Richard “Rip” Hamilton backcourt led the team to six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, one NBA championship over the Kobe-Shaq Lakers dynasty, and two NBA Finals appearances. Lord knows the Pistons need some talent in the D to go along with Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey. The once-proud franchise has fallen on hard times, missing the postseason in 11 of the past 13 seasons.
GM Troy Weaver Changing The Culture
Pistons general manager and DMV native Troy Weaver has visions of making the Pistons a relevant franchise again. That starts by drafting and adding quality free agents. If the last three drafts are any indication, Weaver might be onto something.
In 2020, while the team didn’t draft Bey, they traded for him the next day. In 2021, Weaver made what will always be the defining pick of his tenure when he bet the future of the franchise on No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham. In 2022, he added to his young core by drafting the dynamic Jaden Ivey and trading for the brute physical specimen Jalen Duren.
That’s the nucleus that will hopefully bring life back to “DEEEE-TROIT BASKETBALL.”
The Pistons did so well that “First Take” host Stephen A. Smith even agreed that the team won the draft.
“Some special things developing in Detroit, think Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars,” Smith said.
Pistons Have Pieces In Place To Rise Again
In Ivey and Duren, the Pistons get two players who are ready to contribute right away. With Ivey, you get an explosive two-way guard with supreme athleticism who’s also capable of manning either guard position.
He’ll be great alongside Cunningham. Ivey brings the splash and explosiveness, while Cade will supply the entire floor game and cerebral play. Ivey averaged 17.3 points per game to go along with nearly five rebounds and four assists per game in the ultra-tough Big Ten. His skills conjure comparisons to Ja Morant, Russell Westbrook, and even three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade.
With Duren, you’re getting a brute physical specimen who won’t turn 19 until November. Standing 6 feet 11 and 250 pounds, Duren has the body of a chiseled 25-year-old NBA veteran.
His skill set is likened to that of future Hall of Famer and NBA 75 snub Dwight Howard. Blessed with that quick-twitch athleticism that made “D12” a household name, JD is the piece that could put the Pistons on the fast track to relevancy again. His ability to protect the paint, rebound and score around it will fit perfectly with their starting and closing lineups.
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 22, 2022
Because he’s shown he can guard away from the rim, Duren won’t be a weak link if Dwane Casey chooses to play four guards/forwards and just him to finish games. In his one year under Penny Hardaway, Duren averaged 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks per game. He also shot 62 percent from the floor, including 78 percent from inside of five feet. He’s also a great lob threat like Howard was early in his career.
These two pieces, along with the aforementioned Cunningham and Bey, are the cornerstone pieces for the Pistons going forward. Bey, a two-way knockdown shooter, should benefit greatly from having two guards like CC and JD who can get anywhere on the floor and create open looks at will for him.
Things are looking up in the D.