Detroit Pistons Final Grades

First off I want say this exercise is all in fun. Just a distraction from the trade rumors and draft talk. Second, I'm very curious to see everyone else's take.

All 'grades' are based on a 'Pistons Curve.' How did the player perform the role (however large or small), given to him by coach Casey. Did the player reach the goals / outcome projected for him at the start of the season? I'm not going to be comparing our Pistons against an All NBA 1st team. If I did that most of these guys would flunk. BTW - I haven't seen the results of the local newspapers. I don't subscribe.

Marvin Bagley III (C+). Maybe this is too generous. I was just relieved that he wasn't the bust I saw play for the KANGZ. Bagley seems glad to be here and eager to make good. Fine as a lob threat, needs work (to put it mildly) on his defense. For a modest deal (In the neighborhood of 3 years, around $20 m, TO 3rd year), I'd like him back. Maybe Casey can work some magic with him.

Saddiq Bey (B+). What a strange year Saddiq had. Starting with attempting to expand his game, to multiple plus assists games by the end of the season. Looked like Saddiq was figuring it out as he went along. Which is fine. Unfortunately, Diq never shot as well as expected. To be a viable 3rd option (on a Finals contender), his shot must improve. Especially from the 3 point line. Started every game. An iron man. So the plus (+).

Cade Cunningham (A). Thought about giving a A- because of the poor start, but decided that's nit picking. If CADE plays next year like he did from December through March, he'll be a borderline All Star. But he won't. CADE will be much, much better. I expect his shooting percentages will go up, especially from the 3 point line. Adding strength will help him finish through contact. TO's will be lessened, but not completely solved. He'll be more efficient running the offense, assist numbers could increase by two per game. Hope he triples his FT attempts. Less reaching on defense, more moving his feet. CADE's first All Star season.

Hamidou Diallo (C). First off, will Hamidou even be here? I say yes. The only really great athlete on the team. Provides what no one else on the roster can do. Like so many of his teammates, had an injury filled season. His game ranged from very bad (will Hamidou ever shoot straight) to eye popping dunks above the rim.

Carsen Edwards (Inc). I suppose why not take a look, can't hurt. Edwards didn't do much while here, and I suspect he will either be gone or on a two way contract.

Luka Garza (D-). Speaking of gone, will the Pistons give Luka another season? His defensive issues were well known and on display all season, but most everyone expected Garza to be able to shoot. And he didn't. .

Jerami Grant (C+). When Jerami returned from his thumb injury, he had a stretch where he played great alongside CADE and Saddiq. Unfortunately it only lasted a month. We all know what he brings to the table. But do the Pistons want to extend him or trade him? Right now, the 'deal' with Portland seems to be unavailable. Grant's fate might be tied up in the draft. If the Pistons draft a big guy #1 - #3, Jerami's days in Detroit could be over.

Killian Hayes (B-). Killian's my favorite Piston. As you probably can tell by the grade I've given him. IDK, a 20 year old kid with serious defensive skills (POA, strong, fast hands, tall, can rebound & block shots) sounds like a keeper to me. Becoming more aggressive on offense, attacking the rim. In general, starting to figure things out. IMO has a high BBIQ. I like the way Weaver put it, 'Killian had to get Americanized.' If he starts next season, I think Killian should score 10+ ppg, along with stronger, even better defense.

Frank Jackson (D). I hate to do this to Frank, a really good guy and teammate. But like Hamidou, Jerami and Kelly O, injuries ruined his season. Frank has to shoot 37% (or more) from the 3 point line. It's his only job and he doesn't bring much else to the table. The most likely rotation guy to be gone.

Cory Joseph (B+). Cory is built like a fire plug, and that's exactly what he is. Solid in every way. My take progressed from wanting CoJo banished at the start of the season, to now wanting him to return. Casey trusts him. He has a player option. Why make things more complicated than need be? One caveat. Backup / 3rd PG only, under 20 minutes a game.

Braxton Key (B-). A contributor on both sides of the ball. Key made the most of his limited opportunity. Intangibles were the key to Key's success. Excelled at the little things. He didn't have 'bad' games in short minutes. I'd bring him back on a two way if not on the main roster.

Saben Lee (D). A G League phenom, Saben never could crack the Pistons rotation. Saben just doesn't do any one thing well enough to hang his hat on. He is signed so he may be back. But I wouldn't be surprised if he is not.

Isaiah Livers (B-). Livers DeLivers. The Pistons are counting on this guy to be a quality rotation contributor next season. A fine 3 point shooter, who can rebound and play some defense. With luck, Livers could have a long, solid 7th / 8th man NBA career. Prototypical 3 & D guy .Every NBA team needs a couple of these guys.

Rodney McGruder (A-). I hope no one gives me grief for this grade.LOL. Rodney performed terrific in spot duty all season, then the Pistons trade him and he's even BETTER after the trade is rescinded. Talk about above and beyond. Wherever Rodney ends up next year, I wish him all the best.

Kelly Olynyk (C-). Injuries and Covid just crushed Kelly O this year. Absolutely the worst season of his entire career. Only for about ten games were we able to see the Kelly O CHF came to know and love. Kelly's still under contract so I assume the Pistons are prepared to run this back hoping for better luck next season. It could still work. But maybe both parties will want a fresh start?

Jamorko Pickett (C+). Tall and wiry, Pickett looks like he could have a sweet 3 point stroke. But who knows? He didn't play terrible in spot duty, but didn't distinguish himself either. Needs a great summer league to give the Pistons a reason to keep him around.

Isaiah Stewart (A-). I'll keep this one short and sweet. On defense, Stew was better this year than last, and against starters. On offense, Stew teased us with great 3 point shooting at the end of the season. With good form, when Stew shot it, it looked like the ball would go in the hoop. What promise! Forget he's 6'8". Forget he doesn't have a great vertical. Remember he has a great motor and desire to excel at basketball. A man not to be messed with. Ask LeBron.

Dwane Casey & Staff (A). Supreme TANK commander. Coach Of The Year. However you'd like to put it. Dwane Casey is the perfect coach for the Detroit Pistons. What other coach could BOTH develop the young players and secure the best (top three) lottery odds simultaneously?

I said this in a recent post...'Yes, Casey deserves a TON of credit. Always steady. Always on message. Always positive. The guy just exudes 'I like my role, I like my job.' The players know the back story, Casey came here to win. Ended up in a rebuild. They respect Casey to the max. Just look at the record vs. Toronto.'

This was a lot of fun. Hope you enjoy.

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