As evidenced by their 20-52 regular season, the Detroit Pistons have a need at just about every spot on the floor. Arguably, the most dire need is the off-ball guard position.
Josh Jackson spent most of his time at the two guard, and he had a decent year–possibly a career best. He is not the guard of the future, though, as his contract only lasts through the end of next year. Wayne Ellington played a lot of minutes at SG as well, but at 33 years old, he was the oldest player to put on a Piston jersey last year. He still had a fine season, but he will soon start trending as a bench option.
Enter Jalen Green. The 19-year-old shooting guard elected to join the G League Ignite team in favor of playing in college. Unlike other G League teams, the Ignite team is unaffiliated with any professional team.
It was designed to provide a different option to develop players, and Green was the first ever signee. At the time, ESPN ranked the five-star recruit as the No. 1 prospect. Now, Green will likely be drafted somewhere in the top four picks of the draft; if he is still on the board for the Pistons, it seems like he could slot into the lineup immediately.
If Jalen Green is still on the board, the Detroit Pistons should take him.
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In sixteen games for the Ignite, Green averaged 18.7 points, shooting 46.9% from the field. He can shoot from three also (36.5%), although it is not his primary method of scoring. Instead, he is more often driving the lane, which he does well.
He does need to improve, however, on the defensive end. His defensive rating–an imperfect statistic, to be fair–was a steep 109.5.
His defensive rebounds are low, even compared among other guards, and he allows quite a few points off turnovers.
Because he eschewed the college route, fans were denied the opportunity to watch Green play in the Tournament.
While his highlight reels are by no means undiscoverable, they are not as front and center as a college player in March.
Conversely, Green has spent the last year playing with and against more experienced players, such as former Pistons draft pick and role player, Amir Johnson. It was not all older players, though: he also played alongside projected lottery pick, Jonathan Kuminga. All this to say, the G League experience provides a varied level of play.
The fact is, Green is a solid shooting guard and would make a nice complement to Killian Hayes. He does not need the ball in his hands; in fact, more than half of his baskets come off assists. He has no fear driving to the basket, which is really where he shines. Nearly a third of his points (6.8 per game) come in the paint. Despite technically being a guard, he will have plenty of dunks on the nightly highlight reels.
Jalen Green fills a crucial need for the Detroit Pistons. He is also NBA-ready, playing sixteen games among current and future NBA players. He can play off the ball and still be an impactful piece. If the Pistons have a shot at him in the top four, he would be a no-brainer.