Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin will miss tonight’s game against the Boston Celtics and rookie point guard Killian Hayes is a game-time decision after both sustained injuries in Detroit’s loss to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Griffin took a forearm to the head courtesy of James Wiseman and remains in the league’s concussion protocol. Hayes, meanwhile, tweaked his ankle while running in transition against the Warriors. The injury didn’t sem significant so there is likely a decent chance he will play, but considering how important Hayes’ development is to the franchise, they might play it cautious and sit him tonight.
With Griffin out, Jerami Grant is against expected to shift to power forward with Josh Jackson taking Grant’s spot as the starting small forward. Saddiq Bey started against the Warriors at shooting guard and could do so again unless the team wanted to put Svi Mykhailiuk into the starting lineup.
Mykhailiuk has been struggling to begin the year but did knock down his two 3-point attempts against the Warriors. Delon Wright is expected to start at point guard if Hayes sits tonight.
The good news, allegedly, for the Pistons tonight is that Jahlil Okafor has been upgraded to probable after missing a week to a foot injury. It’ll be interesting to see if Okafor inherits the backup center minutes or if Isaiah Stewart, who has performed well in Okafor’s place, continues spelling Mason Plumlee.
It’s no surprise, but consider me team Stewart. Okafor has done very little with his minutes, especially on the defensive end, to warrant continued consistent playing time. Stewart hasn’t been stellar but his rebounding has given the bench a big boost, and he seems to have been at least as good as Okafor on the defensive end with the opportunity to learn that side of the floor more quickly with continued playing time.
As far as Hayes, I’d rather the Pistons be cautious with his ankle. Hayes could use the time to get healthy and also clear his head as he continues drinking from the firehose of learning how to lead an NBA offense.
It’s no secret he has struggled, especially on the offensive side of the ball, so there is little downside in sitting him for a game or two and letting him avoid the damnation of facing off against Marcus Smart the next two games.
That being said, if Hayes is essentially 100% there is no reason not to throw him out there. He’s gotta learn even if it’s a bit ugly along the way.
There is no indication at this time if Griffin will miss Sunday’s game against the Celtics.