With their second pick in the first round of the NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons selected big man Isaiah Stewart to complement the earlier selection of point guard Killian Hayes.
At first blush, I don’t like it and I don’t really understand it.
Stewart lacks explosion and has limited range but only stands at 6-foot-9. The reason he likely appeals to Troy Weaver and the Detroit Pistons? He is known for playing his ass off and working in constant motion up and down the floor, and while he lacks height, he has an impressive 7-foot-4 wingspan.
He averaged 17 points and 8.8 rebounds as a freshman at the University of Washington. He is a beast in the paint and constantly gets to the line, which is a skill the Pistons often lack. He uses his power game and light touch to score in heaps, and had a 62.9 true shooting percentage in his lone year in college. He’s also just 19 and a half years old, so he’s another young building block Weaver is adding to the Pistons.
Last year’s first-round pick, Sekou Doumbouya was the youngest prospect in his draft, and this year’s first-round picks Hayes and Stewart are also on the younger end of the spectrum. He also traded for 21-year-old Dzanan Musa for 24-year-old Bruce Brown.
Still, I’m not sure what his long-term position is in the NBA, and he doesn’t seem to have the kind of athleticism he would need to overcome his size limitations and be anything more than a productive player off the bench.
Productive bench players are valuable, but there were chances for bigger swings with RJ Hampton, who the Pistons were known to be interested in, and Aleksej Pokusevski on the board as well as more dynamic wings like Tyrese Maxey, Saddiq Bey and Josh Green.