Surprise Seasons From Young Players
Last year, the Pistons benefitted from a breakout year from fringe roster player Christian Wood as he turned into an extremely productive starter. He was traded this offseason to the Houston Rockets, and the Pistons are in search of another breakout season. Luckily, there are plenty of candidates for the Detroit Pistons this year with the number of young players on the team. The three rookies, Killian Hayes, Isiah Stewart, and Sadiq Bey, are the first players to jump to mind.
Killian Hayes started the season as the starting point guard and should be a mainstay all season. The dream for Hayes will be that he can continue to grow, and by the end of the year, he plays like an above-average point guard.
For a rookie guard, that would be tremendous, especially with the shortened offseason. Stewart and Bey both did not play in the season opener. The goal for them will be to turn their limited minutes into a role in the second unit and be able to play solid minutes. Bey can do this by defending and shooting from the outside well. Stewart will need to rely on his hustle, rebounding, and energy off the bench.
Additionally, there are three older players who appear primed for a breakout in Josh Jackson, Svi Mykhailuk, and Sekou Doumbouya. Both players have flashed serious potential but have not put it together for a whole year. Jackson is off to a great start with a tremendous 19 point Piston debut. He has played aggressive defense in the preseason and season opener, hit threes, and got to the basket.
If he can keep this up the whole season, he will be a steal for the Detroit Pistons and a part of their young core. Svi started off the season on the other foot with a poor shooting performance; however, this should not be a common occurrence with his elite three-point shot. To grow, he will need to continue to be a solid team defender and grow as pick and roll scorer.
If his pick and roll game and scoring at the rim, he can become a solid all-around scorer. Both players will be battling with Delon Wright all season for a starting spot, and the Pistons should hope one of them can seize it as both are younger and could become excellent starters in the near future.
Sekou Doumbouya just turned 20 and already carved out a solid bench role for himself. He was able to do this by knowing what he does well, playing hard. So much of what he does is based on his effort. On offense, he is constantly cutting off the ball and is a tenacious offense rebounder. He often takes the most difficult wing scorer on defense and has all the tools to make their life difficult.
For him to grow, he will need to develop his ballhandling and become a more consistent shooter. If he does this, the sky is the limit for him. Griffin and Jerami Grant manning the forward spots, there is no clear path for him to start, but if Griffin is traded, he could easily end up as the starting power forward. Even if he doesn’t start, he is a great contender for a breakout player as he goes from G-league mainstay to potential solid bench player.