Detroit Pistons: Predicting roles for the entire Pistons’ roster

(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons, Josh Jackson
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Detroit Pistons backup Small Forward Josh Jackson.

Expected Role: Backup Small Forward, Energy Guy

In the preseason, Josh Jackson looked like the best version of himself. He shot it well from deep, got to the rim, and made the right pass. If he can play at close to this level for the entire season, the Pistons would be ecstatic, and he could legitimately be a long-term piece as a 6th or 7th man.

Josh Jackson is great off the bench, where his high energy can turn games around. He can get his own shot at the rim or from deep, is a capable passer, and flies around on defense. The issue with Jackson has always been decision-mak, and he can be too regressive at times and force shots or turn the ball over.

Jackson didn’t show any of that recklessness in the preseason as he was constantly making the right pass when his shot wasn’t available. Jackson needs to continue to do that and shoot the ball consistently, and if he does, he could be a great bench player when the Pistons are ready to contend or potentially for another contender this year.

Detroit Pistons back up Power Forward Trey Lyles.

Expected Role: Backup Power Forward, Steady Veteran

Trey Lyles signed with the Pistons this year for a great opportunity to get steady minutes for the first time in his career. Lyles has been a reliable three-point shooter and steady in other aspects of his game whenever he has gotten extended minutes. With the number of young players on the team, Lyles consistency has value in itself.

Lyles won’t try to create his shot or do too much; he will likely just take catch and shoot threes and move the ball if it’s not open. Lyles won’t be a needle mover by any means, but his steady play should help weather the up and downs of the younger players.

Detroit Pistons Backup Center, Kelly Olynyk.

Expected Role: Backup Center, Stretch Big

Kelly Olynyk was the big free-agent acquisition signing a three-year $37-million contract. In Houston, he was the offense’s focal point and excelled, scoring 19 points a game on good efficiency. In Detroit, he will likely be the focal point of the bench unit, running pick and rolls and pops with Hayes, Cunningham, and Joseph.

His ability to stretch the floor will be tremendous for the young guards giving them plenty of space to operate and get to the hoop.

Olynyk is more than just a shooter, however. Once the ball is in his hands, he is a good passer and can create a shot if the defense closes out too hard. Olynyk is another good veteran who should form a lethal pick-and-roll partnership with the Pistons guards, especially Cade Cunningham.