Stanley Johnson’s NBA career hasn’t panned out the way many Pistons fans envisioned when the franchise drafted him with the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Since he was traded away from Detroit in 2019, Johnson has been a member of five different teams, including the New Orleans Pelicans, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and most recently, the Utah Jazz.
Johnson, a 6-foot-6 forward, is searching for a new NBA home after being waived by the Jazz last month.
The former Pistons lottery pick held a Q&A session via Twitter on Sunday night and answered multiple questions from a few of his more than 58,000 followers.
When asked about his opinion on the Pistons’ current young core, along with the hypothetical situation of a better start to his career had he been drafted alongside Detroit’s current nucleus, Johnson applauded the franchise’s rebuild and appeared remorseful for how his time with the team ended.
“I think the group is amazing,” Johnson wrote. “(Dwane) Casey is amazing. Everything over there is great, we just didn’t figure it out. I’m 26. I’d love to right the wrong. Detroit loved on me crazy. The organization did too. I had a lot of growing up and trauma to deal with at 18/19 (years old).”
Johnson was a versatile defender in the peak of his career, capable of guarding multiple positions. He had a promising rookie season, but struggled to find his role under former Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. He was utilized as a shooter, when he was more naturally an athletic wing who could get to the rim. When Casey took over as coach, Johnson was tasked to use his skills as a lockdown defender and serve as a playmaker for his teammates.
Johnson averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds in four seasons with the Pistons. He was part of a three-team trade that brought Thon Maker from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Pistons. Johnson wound up with the Pelicans in that deal. He played in just 18 games with the Pelicans and signed with the Raptors during the next offseason. Last season, Johnson received 10-day contracts with the Bulls and Lakers before Los Angeles traded him to the Jazz.
The Pistons are currently dealing with the injury bug and three starters are out for the foreseeable future, but the roster is full at 17 (15 guaranteed contracts and two two-way contracts). There aren’t any available roster spots to take on any additional players.
Regardless, Johnson sounds like he would welcome an opportunity to return to the franchise that gave him his first opportunity to live out his dream in the NBA.
Bey’s streak ends
The best ability is availability.
It’s something Saddiq Bey has been known for through his first three seasons in Detroit. The third-year Pistons forward had played in 152 consecutive games — the second-longest active streak in the NBA behind Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges — until Monday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings.
Bey missed his first game since the 2020-21 season, due to a right ankle sprain suffered in Friday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. There was optimism that Bey could suit up on Monday, when he was upgraded to questionable on the injury report hours before tipoff. He tried to test the ankle during his pregame workout routine, but the Pistons didn’t want to take any chances of Bey re-aggravating the sprained ankle.
Bey will receive an undetermined amount of time off to get healthy, alongside Cade Cunningham (left shin) and Isaiah Stewart (right big toe), both of whom are nursing injuries.
Former Michigan forward Isaiah Livers started in Bey’s place on Sunday. The second-year forward will receive more opportunities alongside Kevin Knox as Bey recovers from his injury.
Pistons at Nuggets
Tipoff: 9 p.m. Tuesday, Ball Arena, Denver
Outlook: The Pistons are still searching for their first road win after nine consecutive losses in opposing arenas to start the season. Defending MVP Nikola Jokic is averaging 20.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.9 assists, which currently ranks third in the league. The Nuggets lead the league in 3-point percentage at 40.9.%. Former Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is third in the NBA in 3-point percentage (51.4%).
. The former Piston is knocking down his 3s at a 51.4% clip.