Pistons coach Dwane Casey is thrilled with the trade that brought Hamidou Diallo from the Thunder, writes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Even though Detroit gave up a shooter by parting with Svi Mykhailiuk, the team believes the move will pay off with an upgrade on defense.
“He’s a wing defender – can guard one through three, the smaller fours,” Casey said of Diallo. “Excellent wing runner. He’s quick, athletic – probably one of the most athletic wings in the league. Needs to continue to work on his 3-point shooting, which is what our league is about. But he’ll definitely step right in as one of our top defenders. He has a wingspan that’s out of this world, anticipates well and competes.”
The Pistons aren’t sure when Diallo will be cleared to play, Langlois adds. He missed the last four games with OKC because of groin soreness and may require a quarantine period before being permitted to join his new teammates.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Although they’ve lost two straight games since the All-Star break, the Bulls have to be encouraged by the strong return of Lauri Markkanen, writes Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago. After missing 13 games with a strained right shoulder, Markkanen scored a team-high 23 points Thursday against the Sixers and followed that with 20 points Friday against the Heat. “I felt all right,” Markkanen said after his first game back. “Physically, obviously there’s still just getting my wind back and my legs back into game shape. I had a couple practices, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I felt all right. Still got a ways to go, but not too bad.”
- Bulls center Wendell Carter admitted Friday that he needs to play better, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Carter is averaging just 5.8 PPG in that span and shooting 32.3% from the floor. “I feel like I’ve regressed in that area of being more aggressive on the offensive end,” he said. “Just trying to play the right way, do everything that everybody is telling me to do. But at the same time, I understand that me being aggressive will be better for my team. So I just got to play a lot better on the offensive end.”
- Pacers guard Caris LeVert isn’t on a minutes restriction tonight in his first game since having surgery for renal cell carcinoma in January, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files.