The Pistons weren’t sharp in Friday’s preseason opener, but one encouraging sign was the play of rookie forward Saddiq Bey, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. The 19th pick in this year’s draft tied for the team lead with 14 points while recording a plus-12 in his taste of first NBA action. Bey shot just 4-of-12 from the floor, but coach Dwane Casey said the offense was crisper when he was on the court.
Bey, who hit 45.1% from beyond the arc last season at Villanova, is one of Detroit’s few dependable three-point shooters. Casey indicated that he could see regular playing time, especially when the team uses smaller lineups.
“The game wasn’t too big for him,” Casey said. “He came in and played. Really happy to see him, and there’s some minutes to be had at the three and four position when we do go small. That was a big-time bright spot for us was his play. And again, I’m not just looking at the points. Everybody said well, he scored 14 points. I’m looking at just his overall compete level, his positioning and his play on the defensive end was solid.”
There’s more from Detroit:
- Bey could take minutes away from second-year forward Sekou Doumbouya, suggests James L. Edwards of The Athletic. Doumbouya was the 15th overall pick last season, but Edwards sees Bey as already a more complete and reliable player. Doumbouya has only been playing basketball for seven years and wasn’t able to excel in any area as a rookie, according to Edwards.
- Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk made a strong case for a starting role with his performance Friday, Edwards adds in the same piece. He hit 4-of-8 shots from three-point range and gives the team a legitimate threat from the perimeter. Delon Wright, who got the start at shooting guard, is more of a natural point guard and didn’t attempt a single three-pointer in the game, Edwards observes.
- Rookie point guard Killian Hayes was thrown into the fire Friday night, getting a start in his first NBA game, notes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Although Hayes committed seven turnovers, Casey saw enough positives to be encouraged. “He did a lot of good things. The turnovers are glaring, and you see them, but they didn’t bother me. That’s part of the growing process for him,” Casey said. “I promise you he’ll learn from them and he’s a quick learner. I was showing him video this morning and he saw it and talked about what he did wrong before it was even shown on the video. Those things are going to happen and once he gets to the length and quickness and speed of the NBA, it won’t take him long (to improve).”