Central Notes: Hayes, Stewart, Sirvydis, Gottlieb, Varejao

Hoops Rumors

The Pistons’ four rookie draft picks continue to receive extensive playing time and coach Dwane Casey is encouraged by the progress of the team’s so-called “Core Four,” Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes. That quartet of Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee combined for 73 points, 22 rebounds and 19 assists against the Bulls on Sunday.

“It’s another area of growth, of toughness,” Casey said. “If you win with toughness in this league, we’d have won quite a few games. Those guys toughed it out – mentally, physically – and it says a lot about their character, who they are as people.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Another Pistons rookie, Euro import Deividas Sirvydis, had an eight-point, six-rebound outing against Philadelphia on Saturday and he’s also trying to make an impression in the late going, Langlois writes in a separate story. Sirvydis joined Detroit during the offseason after being selected in the second round in 2019 as a draft-and-stash prospect. “The main thing with him is getting stronger, which he’s done,” Casey said. “I’ve told our guys, he’s going to be a player one day. He’s going to be one of those big two/threes who can stretch the floor.”
  • Cavaliers assistant Lindsay Gottlieb is leaving the franchise when the regular season is completed. She has been named USC’s head women’s coach, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Gottlieb, who had been on Cleveland’s staff since 2019, was the first female head coach from a Power 5 conference to become an NBA assistant coach. She previously coached Cal for eight seasons.
  • While it may have been heartwarming to see 38-year-old Anderson Varejao make a brief comeback in the NBA, the Cavaliers should have evaluated a younger player looking for a chance, Joe Vardon of The Athletic argues. The team could have signed someone who played in the G League or overseas and potentially found a diamond in the rough, Vardon writes, noting that some other teams have gotten productive minutes from players on 10-day contracts or rest-of-season deals.

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