For the first time all season, the Pistons’ three first-round draft picks started the game together. And it was sure fun to watch.
We’ve seen them all impress at times individually, but seeing it all happen at the same time felt different.
Isaiah Stewart was a man among boys even at only 19 years old. He was unstoppable on the boards, grabbing 22 rebounds, the most by a Pistons rookie since at least 1977. He added 15 points, many due to his work on the offensive boards. But at least two of those points came via a smooth mid-range jumper that is becoming commonplace from the rookie big.
Saddiq Bey scored 18 points despite a very poor 2-for-12 shooting night from three. With the deep ball not falling, the Villanova product worked surgically inside the arc to get to his spots and finished extremely well at the rim.
Killian Hayes continued to look more comfortable on the offensive end of the floor while maintaining his strong defense. His anticipation and quick hands led to five steals and he was again strong off the ball from a positional standpoint.
Offensively, Killian looked as under control as we’ve seen him all year long. He scored at all three levels, including this great-looking drive where he showed a little extra juice in the third quarter:
He did miss a few at the rim, but Killian’s pressure on the rim drew defenders and led to a couple easy Stewart putbacks and a few lob opportunities.
The rookie point guard’s decision-making and passing were predictably strong, but this ridiculous assist to Saddiq Bey in transition was just on a whole different level:
The rookies got help from their teammates – Josh Jackson recovered after a rough start to create offense and score 29 points while Frank Jackson added 18 off the bench.
And it was just enough.
Detroit struggled to make shots for much of the fourth quarter and Lugentz Dort and Darius Bazley led a comeback that ran out of gas after Josh Jackson’s sixth foul was overturned just outside the three minute mark.
From there, the Pistons took control of the game and were able to overcome the 45 combined points from Dort and Bazley for a six-point win.
It wasn’t great for the tank, but if Detroit is going to win games, you certainly want them to come in the form they did tonight.
- Saben Lee had a LOUD block at the rim. It wasn’t the poster dunk we’ve been waiting for, but it was nice to see him finish an athletic leap at the rim after all the close calls.
- Dwane Casey closed with Frank Jackson over Sekou Doumbouya. Killian Hayes really excels with an extra shooter on the floor, which was probably the biggest motivation for that move.
- We got nine pretty uninspiring minutes from Deividas Sirvydis. You have to think they need to get more real minutes for him down the stretch to both aid the tank and help evaluate him given they’re going to need to move some guys to make room for offseason acquisitions.