A post-draft, pre-free agency look at the Pistons rotation (with minutes)

Detroit Bad Boys

Now that the 2021 NBA Draft has passed, and we’re about to learn whatever free agency has to offer, we have “officially” added Cade Cunningham to the roster and moved on from Mason Plumlee (admittedly, in a fashion most of us did not see coming), I thought it would be fun to look at possible rotations and minutes.

Whether free agency has a huge impact on this depends completely on how aggressively Troy Weaver is with his potential targets. He was extremely aggressive last year, but he might opt for a more considered approach and use next season to make a huge splash.

Going through the minute allocations and the lineup/matchup juggling with current players, might also show was what is still missing and offered a peak into what Weaver will look to solve via free agency.

Before dropping what I think the rotation will look like and the minutes that will be allocated to each player, I do want to outline a few nuances of substitutions and rotations that can not be overlooked.

1. MATCHUPS

While I do believe that somewhere in Dwane Casey’s office, on a whiteboard, there is something similar to what I have typed up … there would also be 15 other variations of it depending on the upcoming matchups. While matchups are not quite the same storyline of the regular season as the playoffs, they will play into the minutes allocated to certain players in a given game. With that said, one thing I absolutely LOVE about the current roster construction is multiple players can play multiple positions and are “switchable” on defense so it does not cause quite the same issues.

2. FOUL TROUBLE

This one is pretty self explanatory so I will not go in depth but we know that foul trouble on a given night will also really decide how many minutes a player gets and in turn, how many minutes their backup gets. I love the idea of Isaiah Stewart playing 32 minutes a night BUT I think we all know there will be nights that simply does not happen based on foul trouble.

3. PRODUCTION/GAME SITUATIONS

I think this one provides the biggest nuance because it will change within a game. While I have Jerami Grant subbing out with 2 minutes to go in the 1st quarter…..if he is on a tear of shooting and is “in the zone” then my guess would be that Casey let him ride it out until the end of the 1st. If we are up 2 to start the 4th vs the Nets…..my guess is we see Cade Cunningham enter the game earlier than the 6 minute mark. In turn, if Josh Jackson has 3 TOs in his two-minute stretch at the end the 1st quarter, we may see Saddiq Bey re-enter the game a little earlier (sorry Josh but I had to use someone for the negative example).

With all of that said, here is best post-draft/pre-FA guess at what the rotation, substitutions and minutes breakdown would look like for the current roster:

START OF GAME/3rd QUARTER

Hayes, Cade, Bey, Grant, Stewart – 6 Minutes

  • OUT = Hayes, Stewart, Bey
  • IN = F. Jackson, Hami, Okafor/Cook(FA or draft big)

Cade, F. Jackson, Hami, Grant, Okafor/(FA or draft big) – 4 Minutes

  • OUT = Cade, Grant
  • IN = JJ, Sekou

F. Jackson, JJ, Hami, Sekou, Okafor/(FA or draft big) – 2 Minutes

END OF 1st QUARTER/3rd QUARTER

START OF 2nd QUARTER/4th QUARTER

F. Jackson, JJ, Hami, Sekou, Okafor/(FA or draft big) – 2 Minutes

  • OUT = F. Jackson, JJ, Okafor/(FA or draft big)
  • IN = Hayes, Beys, Stewart

Hayes, Bey, Hami, Sekou, Stewart – 4 Minutes

  • OUT = Hami, Sekou
  • IN = Cade, Grant

Hayes, Cade, Bey, Grant, Stewart – 6 Minutes

HALFTIME/End of Game

Hayes – 16 Minutes (32)

Cade – 16 Minutes (32)

Bey – 16 Minutes (32)

Grant – 16 Minutes (32)

Stewart – 16 Minutes (32)

F. Jackson – 8 Minutes (16)

JJ – 4 Minutes (8)

Hami – 12 Minutes (24)

Sekou – 8 Minutes (16)

(FA or draft big) – 8 Minutes (16)

() = Total MPG

A Few Quick Points

  • Staggering of minutes gets Cade and Killian each 8 minutes on the floor w/o the other
  • I have NO IDEA what is going on at the 5. Assuming another addition there that could definitely change this up a little.
  • You might say it’s a cop out to just put 32 minutes on each starter but again, I did this without figuring in those “nuances” I talked about. Factoring those in….
  • Grant/Cade play closer to 35/36 minutes most nights
  • Bey/Hayes play closer to 30 minutes most nights
  • Stewart…..I am just not sure with how hard he plays and possible foul trouble
  • My guess is the 4 minutes to end the 1st quarter and start the 2nd quarter will worry fans the most…..
  • I think Hami Diallo does A LOT of offensive initiating in that lineup
  • I will admit that floor spacing is an issue (hate to say it, but a 3 and D player probably fits much better than JJ in that rotation)

I am interested to see if we have a major (or even a couple minor) additions/subtractions as we are on the cusp of Free Agency but for now, this would be my best guess. Drop a comment, tweet or DM me (@MotorCityHoops) and let me know what you think OR what yours looks like!

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