The Pistons have a lot of promising young players as well as some very good veterans, but the chemistry is missing and not likely to really get better until next season when everyone is healthy and perhaps one or two more pieces are added.
It isn't easy to watch and I can only imagine how frustrated Dwane Casey is coaching this team. There are some really talented players on this team, but it's still a jumbled mess. Losing Cunningham for an extended period of time makes it insurmountable to be respectable this year.
Would getting VW make it all better? I think we should still look at how the team's rotations fit. I'll imagine getting VW to see how it might come together, but even if this happens, it won't be easy for Casey.
This combination was the big hope entering the season, but now developing the chemistry here is still put on hold. PG Hayes perhaps is evolving to be more of an acceptable piece, but it still seems like an up hill battle to have his score with authority.
This combination was supposed to be a good balance of youthful defended and savvy veteran scoring. However Hayes being the top PG for now disrupts this and forces Joseph into a more important role than was envisioned. This isn't meant to be a slam against Joseph, but I don't think he was being viewed as a long term piece of what the Pistons wanted to build.
I think these players were supposed to provide a cushion or serve in an emergency fill-in capacity. That's what they're doing but to a far greater degree than was hoped.
It seemed likely that this combination was going to be brought together, perhaps as a second team unit much more than a first team unit, but the plan has been shifted now. Bagley is being used perhaps more as the starting or second center.
I think this pairing is hoped for as a first team unit, if and or when Duren is ready to be the starting center. It's being used and it's not a bad pairing, but I'm not sure it's quite as dynamic as was hoped for. This unit likely would be better with VW at power forward. I think ultimately it would allow Stewart to be paired with Bey with Bagley as the second center.
I like Stewart's defense, Bey's hustle, and Bagley seems to perform better as a center, especially on a second unit orientation. The potential is there, but again it is hard to allow this chemistry to develop without VW or that one added quality player for the starting PF role.
Last night Duren got his first start. I think this will ultimately prove to be where he best works from and how he fits best. Stewart I think is finding himself as a PF, and ideally will play 25 minutes on the second unit as a very, very, very strong player in this role. Bagley seems best positioned as a center, but he seems better suited coming off the bench. I hope that this rotation develops and or carries through so that both players begin to embrace their roles.
Summarizing what I've tried to depict seems easy in some ways to imagine, yet difficult or confusing. It is in affect exactly the problem the team has. It's missing key ingredients, it's not matched into pairings well yet because of the missing pieces.Still this is what I think would work, and how it would look:
PG Cunningham / Hayes / Joseph
SG Ivey / Burks / McGruder
SF Bogdanovic / Bey / Diallo / Livers
PF VW / Stewart / Knox / Key
C Duren / Bagley / Noel
Perhaps it seems obvious that if you have Cunningham back and add a player like VW this is a much better team, but the second unit too, I think really makes this a very formidable team.
The point is to perhaps suggest that the team has hope. I just think at present its jumbled up and missing one key component that it doesn't have for big time success.
If we don't land VW, this position is still the prime area of need to me. What do you think? I have essentially proposed moving three current starters to second unit roles. I have also proposed that Hayes has a future. Lastly, I have suggested that Duren is going to be a vital contributor sooner than later in his career.