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DBB on 3: Detroit Pistons rookies edition

The staff breaks down their thoughts of Hayes, Bey and Stewart

NBA: Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Well... this has been an interesting start to the season to say the least. During the draft, Detroit Pistons’ General Manager Troy Weaver selected three players in the first round, all of whom have been able to see meaningful time on the floor in the season’s early goings.

Of course, the most important rookie-related news is that Killian Hayes, who was selected 7th overall, will be sidelined for at least the next several weeks and possibly the rest of the season, as the team decides how to address the hip injury he sustained Monday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Detroit Bad Boys convened a quorum and assessed the play of the rookies so far in the latest DBB on 3.

1.) On a scale from 1-10 (1 = not concerned and 10 = absolutely panicked), how concerned are you about Killian Hayes’ start to the season? Why? Why not?

Brady Fredericksen: After learning of Hayes’ injury, I’m probably at a 7. First, the injury sucks, absolutely freakin’ sucks. Hayes looked like he wasn’t ready for prime time before it, and I fear he’s going to be off to a slow start again next season. He needs to get reps against starting-caliber opponents, and he got a lot early this season. Hopefully, this injury doesn’t derail his offseason and allows him to play some Summer League. The game just moves way too fast for him. Hopefully, he’s able to get back on the court sooner than later this summer.

Laz Jackson: Pre-injury, I was at a 3. Killian hadn’t been shooting the ball well, and he looked less pro-ready than I hoped, but his passing ability still shone through and he was better defensively than I expected. Now, after the injury news, we are holding at an 8.75. From the quick research I’ve been able to do, he should absolutely get surgery - it appears that rehabbing it without surgery only delays the inevitable - and “20-year-old point guard with hip issues” is not where you want to be. You all know I am very high on Killian’s potential; this is an extremely frustrating setback for his career.

David Fernandez: Following the injury, I’m at a 6. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but he showed enough flashes of SOLID point guard skills - passing, defense, and pick and roll abilities - that made me think he’ll be just fine (albeit not the savior) moving forward.

With the injury news, I’m just hoping that it’s not severe enough to require surgery, but that the Pistons will be extremely cautious and patient before deciding to put him back into action.

Scott Wickett: Ten, but only because of the very recent clarifying reports regarding his injury. Fortunately for him he is almost a foot taller than IT2, but, yeah. I am wishing him a full recovery, while also contemplating his fate in the context of a player “phylum” that sorta can’t afford to get slower.

Prior to the injury, I was not worried at all, because rookie teenagers are almost always horrible, and a significant acclimation process was completely expected.

Ben Gulker: 4. His handle and passing are at NBA level, his defense is better than most rookies, but his shooting and finishing are not. Could he be a bust, a good rotation player, or a star? Yes, but none of us knows which yet.

*Answers submitted before yesterday’s hip injury update

Justin Lambregtse: I would say like a 3 or 4. I’m not that concerned about the shooting, as I think that will improve, but so far it doesn’t look like Killian Hayes is quick enough to beat guys off the dribble. I’m sure he will learn ways to create shots in spite of that, but it lowers his ceiling a bit in my eyes.

Ryan Pravato: A “2” right now. Just not concerned. Like many others have posited, Hayes seems to have a very good feel for the game (and obviously has talent to boot). Whereas some players have great athleticism and make eye-popping shots and put up big numbers early on and have most salivating, they really don’t know how to play the game. Little to no feel. No nuance, no progression. Random name..... but Tony Wroten. He could have mammoth games here and there, but didn’t really have even close to the whole package. He didn’t stick around too long in the league, did he?

I’ll start to worry about Killian if by early next season he is still not looking promising. Even then... he is so so so young!

enbiejowiec: It’s 1 for me. Both Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya look tired. So I think the regiment of the extraordinary off-season took its toll on them. Killian’s shots barely reach the front iron and his injury (sprained ankle) point to the same direction. Due to lack of normal off-season he’s also behind in understanding some schemes.

But this is what you expect in this extraordinary conditions. What concerns me a little more is him relying to heavily on his left hand. He showed nice dribbling skills and showed that he’ll can use them to his advantage also in the NBA, but this habit blurs the positive impression stemming from it to some point. I’m just waiting when it all will pan out for him… or just to see him play since the (ankle) injury occurred.

2.) Saddiq Bey is currently living up to his 3-and-D billing, now what aspects of his game would you like to see him improve on moving forward? Or should he just stick to what’s made him successful so far?

Brady Fredericksen: It’s funny. Bey actually has a pretty good first step, and he is a good enough shooter that guys will overplay him and allow for that chance to get into the paint. It’s just... he doesn’t have a move once he gets in the lane. It’s a lot of funky post-ups and fall away jumpers. You can teach ball handling, and once he gets a better handle, he’ll have a move when a straight to the rim drive isn’t there.

Laz Jackson: I think Saddiq should make more layups. That would be the only advice I would offer him. That, and “don’t get discouraged, everyone gets destroyed by Giannis.”

David Fernandez: Originally, that’s all I wanted him to work on was relocating from beyond the the arc to open up better shot opportunities, but he’s already shown an ability to do that effectively. Now if he could work on converting more efficiently when he finds himself deep in the paint, or in a favorable post-up situation - he’s gotten some pretty good looks, just needs to learn how to calm down and convert.

Scott Wickett: I hope that within the next couple of years he can simultaneously get quicker and stronger via the P3-type physio stuff; this is what NBA strength-and-conditioning programs are good at, right?

As was the case pre-draft, when Laz described him as “the guyest guy who ever guyed”, him being more than a role player on offense probably relies on better lateral quickness, better vertical explosion, and Kawhi-style knock-dudes-out-the-way core strength.

Ben Gulker: The worst thing he could do right now is rush parts of his game that aren’t fully developed yet. In games, keep doing what you’re doing. In practice, work on the first step explosiveness and getting all the way to the rim.

enbiejowiec: Definitely not stick to what’s made him successful so far, because potentially there is so much more to his game. I mean there must be something to this intriguing footwork of his. However, I’ll understand if it’ll have to wait. So for now, I say he should work on his finishes around the rim. If he could work on his shooting mechanics, I’d be cool with that too. Every time he takes a jumper I’m scared that even Muggsy Bogues could block that awkward release.

Justin Lambregtse: I’d like to see him improve as a passer. I don’t need him being somebody you can run your offense through or anything like that, but he seems to have a bit of tunnel vision when he gets the ball. He is aggressive and always looking to score, which is a good trait to have, but he has to also move the ball when there aren’t opportunities to score.

Ryan Pravato: For this season, Bey should worry about two main things:

1) Perimeter defense — not only the schemes Detroit uses, but just overall positioning and lateral movement and continuing to learn from the vets and coaches like I’m sure he is.

2) Perimeter shooting, or rather, shooting off the move or making one or two dribbles. Bey has more than enough time to get used to the size and length of forwards and big men in this league. Limited sample size, but it looks pretty obvious that Bey will be able to create his own shot at the NBA level (the conversions will come with time). He shows solid footwork, smart shot selection, and is strong enough to get to most spots. In many ways he’s a pretty polished basketball player with lots of room to grow.

3.) Has Isaiah Stewart’s play made you re-examine your thoughts of him when the Pistons selected him on the night of the draft? And what about his game are you most high on?

Brady Fredericksen: I really liked Stewart before the season and his play so far has been one of my favorite things about this team. I love his energy, I love that he plays his ass off — even if he’s a little too wild at times — and I think he’s just better at basketball than Jahlil Okafor. I want to see him get better in the pick and roll, but I think his physicality can give this most-times-toothless defense some bite in the meantime.

Laz Jackson: I don’t want to re-litigate his selection. Fanbase loves him and I love him too. The thing I’m most high on is what he hasn’t shown yet - the shot! Some of the beat writers who watch him shoot pregame think he’s got a real shot to be a pick-and-pop threat in time, and a guy who brings the level of effort and intensity that Beef Stew does and can also step out and hit threes is a VERY useful player indeed.

David Fernandez: I didn’t know a lot about Stewart heading into the draft, so when I saw they selected an undersized center with the 16th pick, I was underwhelmed. But after watching him play, I find myself becoming more and more of a fan each minute he’s on the floor. He’s got that very particular Detroit-Pistons-It-Factor that’s eluded this team over the past decade. Rebounding, hustle, effort, and the occasional roar on a goal-tend, are all things I’m here for.

Scott Wickett: No, I still think he’s a bench Energy Guy, and I still think it is bad process to spend top-20 picks on such players.

With all that said, I’m a fan: of (eventually) leading by example, of credibility derived from working really hard and maximizing one’s gifts, of bringing good vibes, all of it. In time, I think that he can become a fine platoon member on a good team, as long as he makes treys.

Ben Gulker: I was blindsided by the selection on draft night and didn’t have any real expectations either way. He’s a blue collar guy who works hard, loves to rebound, and doesn’t seem at all concerned about getting shots. What’s not to love?

enbiejowiec: Well, I wasn’t a fan of Isaiah Stewart when he played at Washington because I had reasons to suspect that he played a big role (even if this was more on Huskies coach, Mike Hopkins) in undermining the playing time of a player I liked on that team, Jaden McDaniels. So when the Pistons drafted him, it was like a punch in the nose. But when Pistons actually drafted him, unexpectedly quickly I come to peace with this decision. Now I only miss those rebounds of his, and can’t wait to see how Detroit’s coaching staff will make use of his offensive skills.

Justin Lambregtse: I didn’t hate the Isaiah Stewart pick that much once I did more research on him. I was shocked at first because I knew nothing about him, but I think he has potential to develop a bit of a jumper and get better offensively and he already works really hard on both ends, which you can’t always teach. I’m high on his rebounding, and that is something the Pistons are going to need with a lot of guys who don’t rebound as much as you would like for people of their size.

Ryan Pravato: I really believe Isaiah Stewart will get everything out of his basketball playing body that he possibly can. I’m just not too sure it will be anything more than a 15-20 minute quality backup. Nothing wrong with that at all, though at selection 16 it is kind of a draft loss in my view. I hope I’m wrong about his ceiling. Guy loves getting after it. I know we all look forward to Big Stew getting more opportunities to show his offensive game, especially outside shooting.


Your turn now...

1.) On a scale from 1-10 (1 = not concerned and 10 = absolutely panicked), how concerned are you about Killian Hayes’ start to the season? Why? Why not?

2.) Saddiq Bey is currently living up to his three and D billing, now what aspects of his game would you like to see him improve on moving forward? Or should he just stick to what’s made him successful so far?

3.) Has Isaiah Stewart’s play made you re-examine your thoughts of him when the Pistons selected him on the night of the draft? And what about his game are you most high on?