Not much going on in Pistons land as we decompress a bit with All-Star weekend. Derrick Rose is out of the skills competition as he nurses a nagging groin issue, but we will have Svi Mykhailiuk playing in tonight’s Rising Stars Challenge as a member of the World team.
But a traditional representative in the actual All-Star game? Detroit has nobody and its two most recent representatives in the game are either injured (Blake Griffin) or playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
That got me thinking — who will be Detroit’s next All-Star representative? Is it even someone who is currently on the team?
There are a couple of contenders, even for a sad sack franchise like Detroit. Rose got some All-Star buzz as he’s had an amazing year off the bench. The thinking went that if Rose had started and played a larger minutes load he’d be a definite contender. Really, though, the buzz around Rose had more to do with the chance he could suit up in the game in his hometown of Chicago than anything to do with her actual play.
Then there is Blake Griffin who represented the team in 2019. Griffin had a legitimately amazing year in 2019, but he’s injured, again, and it’s easier to imagine his All-Star days are behind him and not in front of him.
So who else is there?
Does Luke Kennard have a snowball’s chance in hell? If not Kennard then there aren’t any other young-ish candidates in Detroit — not Bruce Brown or Mykhailiuk.
Then there is Detroit’s youngest, most promising prospect — Sekou Doumbouya. He’s 19 years old. He has a long way to go. But he’s a promising player and nobody would look at you funny if you said that he was going to be an All-Star ... in three or four years.
The sad fact of the matter is, though, that it might be more likely that Detroit’s next All-Star isn’t even on the roster yet. He either plays for some other franchise or, more likely, is playing high school or college ball somewhere.
Heck, it’s possible that Detroit’s next All-Star is in middle school right now. After all, prior to Drummond making the team in 2015-16, Detroit went seven years between All-Star representatives. That player was Allen Iverson, which is fitting, because trading for AI really did kick off the past decade of rank incompetence in the Pistons’s franchise.
That seven-year gap was the longest the Pistons franchise had ever gone without seeing a player named to the All-Star team. The next-longest gap was a mere three seasons bridging the Bob Lanier era, whose final selection was 1978-79, and the Isiah Thomas era, who made it each of his first 12 seasons from the 1981-82 year to 1992-93. Then it was the Dumars and Grant Hill era leading directly into the Going to Work era.
Will this be a relatively brief blip for Detroit or another extended absence?
Save us, Sekou. You’re our only hope.