The Detroit Pistons have a lot of point guards, and all of them are pretty good. So what are they going to do with all of them?
Remember when the Detroit Pistons were being made fun of because they had too many centers? Well, that has certainly changed.
Due to circumstances (roster changes, buyouts, injuries), the Pistons had only Mason Plumlee and Isaiah Stewart available as true center’s in the games before the All-Star break.
Things have swung in the opposite direction. Detroit now has a ton at the position where players are usually the smallest: Point guard.
The Detroit Pistons have a bunch of good point guards. What will they do with them?
When the Pistons traded Derrick Rose, the basic assumption was that Detroit would take a hit at the point guard position. With the former MVP gone, this is what the Pistons had at point guard:
- Delon Wright: a career backup who had played most of the season at shooting guard.
- Saben Lee: A rookie second-round pick who had received very little playing time.
- Dennis Smith Jr.: A former top 10 draft pick. When he was traded as part of the Rose deal, he was in quarantine getting ready to play for the Knicks G-League team.
- Killian Hayes: Heralded as the point guard of the future, Hayes hurt his hip seven games into the season. It is hoped he might be able to return by late March. In those seven games, he had not shown much.
- Rodney McGruder: An NBA veteran but never really seen as a point guard. But a desperate Casey has played him at point simply because, due to his experience, he figured he knew how to run a play.
On the surface it appeared the Pistons were in big trouble. No, Detroit was not seeing an NBA title run get derailed, this is a development year. But, it is hard to develop players if no one can bring up the basketball and run a play.
However, when Rose left and his minutes got distributed, something did develop – a bunch of really good point guards for the Pistons.
Smith Jr. is averaging 8.3 points, 3.8 assists (to only 1.3 turnovers) and 1.3 steals a game. He has also been a solid defensive player. This is following eight days of quarantine (i.e. sitting in a hotel room doing nothing) and rotting on the Knicks bench beforehand.
Smith Jr. had a triple-double against Toronto in Detroit’s next-to-last game before the All-Star break. Pistons coach Dwane Casey says they are looking at him as a possible piece for the future.
Before Wright was sidelined by an injury (he should be back shortly after the All-Star break), Wright was playing spectacularly. The 6-5 guard had moved into the starting point guard spot after Hayes’ injury, but he really blossomed when Rose left, taking a leadership position on the court.
Wright was playing the best ball of his career. In the seven games before he got hurt, Wright was averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals.
The team was responding to Wright. He had helped lead them to victories over the elite of the NBA: the Lakers, 76ers, Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics all lost to the Pistons with Wright running the show.
Wright was doing so well, all of a sudden NBA news sites were firing up proposed trades for top teams to get their hands on Wright.