What I think would be amazing to see this year

I've read and hoped to discover what to expect this year from the Pistons. I mean, I've looked at who is likely to play most in combination with who, what style they will play, how they need or are hoped to show improvement, and in general how growth in their game can translate to a much better season, or at least, a more complete player. All of that is really a guessing game I suppose, but I've seen others say all of this, so, I'm going to take my crack at making some comments about what I think would be amazing to see and what I think would make a big difference in the future of the franchise.

Cade Cunningham has all kinds of expectations or hope pinned on him. I too hope he can rise to the occasion and be as much as we all want him to be. Passing, shooting threes, handling the ball efficiently, and playing solid defense are a lot to ask of a young rookie, but a well rounded and perhaps above average stat line in most categories would be amazing and great to see. I've got to start my list with him I suppose, just because so many others start off hoping that he will make a huge difference as a number 1 overall pick.

Killian Hayes was a disappointment last year. The injury obviously limited his development, but his overall performance wasn't what most of us had hoped to see. However, there was that last game that looked like a revelation, and has raised my hopes more for a change this year. I'd rather not ask him to be such a super star, but just to be a very good young player that raises our hopes for the future. Progression rather than greater disappointment or simply distress would be optimal.

Saben Lee seems like an exceptionally exciting player to watch. He has surprised a lot of people. He's quick, fast, and athletic. He's not real big but he seems to have the ability to leap well and play bigger than he really is. Ideally he continues to develop into a very capable second-string point guard. I don't expect him to be a star, but I'd love to see him pan out to be something like a Vinnie Johnson, in terms of durability, as well as with the ability to quickly contribute points when called upon.

Luka Garza stepping up to play a significant number of quality minutes would be an amazing thing to see. Maybe its just 12 or 14 minutes per game, but I think it could make a big difference. Can Ben Wallace can show him some tricks that will carry over to the regular season; can he continue to work on his lateral movement; and, just maybe his passion to grow, change, and be a complete player will be an inspiration to others on the team as well.

Isaiah Stewart already has exceeded most people's expectations. Can he do even more by adding a three-point shot? Can he hold up against the grind of the NBA? Can he be a 25 to 30 minute per game player? I worry that we're asking too much of a 20 year old, but I hope that he can and will do it. It would be amazing to see someone that resembles the energy, power, and intensity of some of the old Piston's of yore.

Isaiah Livers might be the most unlikely guy for me to pin my hopes on, but there's something special about him to me. He is so outgoing that his personality just seems to say, give me a chance, let me show you what I can do. I think there's something there and he has the potential to surprise us with scoring, rebounding, and energy that's infectious to a team. He just might prove to be a much bigger catch than a second round draft pick, and a much bigger part of the Piston's future than anyone could have guessed when they made the pick.

Saddiq Bey was very solid for the Piston last year when they needed someone just like him to step up. I hope he just continues to do that. If he can just make even a little more progress I think that would be a big, big win. I've seen so many players regress and be less than they were in their first year, when that year surprised. I'm hoping so much that he doesn't do that. I'm hoping he can and will continue on a positive trajectory for the Pistons. I think they really need him to be a 3-point threat and dependable all-around player, even if he isn't an All-Star.

That's seven out of seventeen players that I think are, or could be, the keys to making an improvement from last year - not just by 5 games, but perhaps by 15 or even 25 games in the win column. Sure we need Jarami Grant to be all that he can be. We also have to hope that Kelly Olynyk is a great addition. Hamidou Diallo, Frank Jackson, Corey Joseph, Josh Jackson, Trey Lyles, Jamorko Pickett, and Chris Smith also all have roles to play. Yet, I think that the seven I have keyed on will be what could unlock a substantial change in the future of the team.

What do you think? Do you think it is all on Cade? Do you think that it will most likely be another lowly year? Do you feel more pessimistic about Hayes? There are lots of different scenarios that could come to be, but on the positive side, I think there are some players that could emerge this year and make a big long term difference. Let's see what happens!

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