The Detroit Pistons had a difficult season in 2021-22, coming second bottom of the Eastern Conference. The last few seasons have tested even the most diehard Pistons fans, with multiple bottom-half finishes. Detroit hasn’t seen the NBA Championship since all the way back in 2004, although it’s been three years since they last made the playoffs.
After last season, many Pistons fans won’t be hopeful, but there are some things to be optimistic about at least. The best thing about this team is that they have a strong core of young talent with Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart, and Jalen Duren. That shows that the Pistons have at least something to look forward to and that they can potentially turn things around next season.
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Unlocking the Potential of Cunningham and Ivey
The key for the Pistons is getting the most out of their exciting young players. Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey are two of the biggest and most promising talents on the team but they need the right players around them to work effectively. One way to help them out would be to bring in a player who can shoot three-point shots with a high volume.
One of the key areas that the Pistons need to improve on is the power forward position. After the draft, this remains a major weakness for the team, and since Jerami Grant left, the Pistons have failed to replace him. This is something that needs to be addressed if the team is to have a chance of finding form next season.
Finding a Power Forward
Despite not having a power forward on their current roster, the Pistons do have a few potential internal possibilities. Currently, the squad is missing a smart, veteran player who can help the offense function with efficiency. Kelly Olynyk is a possibility, despite the fact that most Pistons fans consider him surplus to requirements. As a 35.6% shooter with 200 three-point shot attempts in five of the previous six seasons, he could certainly fulfill the role.
In addition to Isaiah Stewart or Jalen Duren at center, Marvin Bagley III may start if the Pistons re-sign him. Bagley III was a standout performer for the Pistons and possesses skills that the other forwards lack. However, some would argue that he’s more of a center, as his shooting from distance is weak, as is his defense of the perimeter.
An alternative to Bagley III would be to move Isiah Stewart to the power forward position. The real concern is whether Stewart has the offense to be successful there. He has proven he can guard the perimeter and was one of the greatest young players in the NBA at it last season, though. One positive sign is the fact that he has apparently worked on improving his 3-point shooting this offseason and put up some encouraging numbers at the end of 2021-22.
The most likely option for the Pistons is that they look to secure a power forward as a free agent before the start of the season. This is even if they resign Bagley III, and there are plenty of decent free agent options available. Miles Bridges, Taurean Prince, TJ Warren, and Otto Porter Jr. would provide some much-needed physicality and offense to the Pistons and are all available to sign.