The Detroit Pistons were hopeful that starting center Jalen Duren would be available for Thursday’s game against the Chicago Bulls being played in France after the rookie sat the previous five games with an ankle injury. One big problem — Duren isn’t in France with the Pistons. It seems that the 19-year-old rookie lost his passport and couldn’t travel with the team.
That news comes from The Athletic’s James L. Edwards III, who reports that the Pistons are currently working on the issue and hoping to get him to France in time to play in Thursday’s game.
30yo James and just-turned 19 JD having passport problems… same man pic.twitter.com/ntdaZKLYE7— James L. Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) January 17, 2023
Perhaps it is a good time to note that despite being a starter in the NBA and standing 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, Duren is the league’s youngest player and turned 19 just two months ago.
Duren showed he belonged in the NBA as soon as he stepped onto the court and had earned Detroit’s starting center role by the season’s 25th game. Since he began starting on Dec. 9, Duren is averaging 11.2 rebounds per game, seventh in the NBA while shooting nearly 66% from the floor.
Among rookies who have played at least 20 games this season, Duren ranks 11th in scoring (7.7 points), second in field goal percentage (63.4%), and first in rebounds (8.5).
The Pistons reportedly lobbied the NBA for the showcase game in France, and they do have an emerging young guard who will get to play in front of his home country’s fans in Killian Hayes.
It would be a shame if Duren was finally healthy enough to play for the Pistons but unavailable because it is so easy to lose your dang passport, especially when you’re 19 years old and maybe(?) traveling overseas for the first time.
I didn’t get on a plane until I was in my 20s, and that was to the storied vistas of Orlando with my girlfriend. The anxiety I felt in making sure I had checked all the boxes was immense. This seems slightly more intense.
Luckily, Duren has the assistance of an entire NBA organization working to get their emerging rookie on the right side of the law and onto a plane. Hopefully, we get to see him block straight to the Sorbonne.
The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on NBA TV on Thursday at Accor Arena in Paris.