Dwane Casey: Rookie Killian Hayes is Pistons starter ‘right now’

Detroit News

Rod Beard
| The Detroit News

Following a few days of individual work, the Pistons kicked off training camp with their first full-team workouts Sunday.

Because of league and state regulations during the pandemic, the players have been limited to one-on-one workouts with a coach, but group sessions are the next phase of getting prepared for the preseason, with the first exhibition game coming Friday.

Coach Dwane Casey said all of the players were healthy and were able to participate in the first 5-on-5 workouts. With only four players returning from last season’s roster, it was the first time that they were able to play together and start to get accustomed to their new teammates.

One of the big takeaways was rookie Killian Hayes, the No. 7 pick in the draft, is penciled in as the starter at point guard, at least for the time being.

“We’re looking at it; we may start out with Killian there. There’s nothing set in concrete right now. We’ll start him there and see how it goes,” Casey said via teleconference. “He’s not a typical rookie; he knows how to play. Delon (Wright) is a veteran who knows how to play. We’ll see how it goes with Killian and Delon in that situation.

“We’ll start off with Killian there right now.”

If Hayes, who is 19 but has played professionally in Europe for three years, can step in and earn the starting role early, it would be a kick-start to the rebuild that new general manager Troy Weaver initiated with a slew of trades and signings in remaking the roster.

The Pistons didn’t draft Hayes to let him languish on the bench, and Casey last week indicated that they would give him an opportunity to play significant minutes this season, with some mentoring from veteran Derrick Rose. That plan seems to be in full swing.

More than that, though, it looks as if they want to see how Hayes handles things early on — and the way-too-premature indications from the first day were solid. At 6-foot-5, he brings some intrigue to the position. 

“Killian is a long, athletic point guard,” Casey said. “He’s seeing things defensively and offensively and he had three or four blocked shots today from the guard position, which is hard to do without fouling.”


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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