September 25, 2022

The Detroit Pistons begin their Summer League game tonight against the Portland Trail Blazers, where fans will get their first glimpse of the bright new rookies.

It’s inevitable that fans and the media will label these young players as ‘future superstars’ or ‘busts’ (see Chet Holmgren’s contrasting first and second game opinions), but it’s worth clarifying that Summer’s performances League are rarely correlated to the regular season. success due to the drastic change in talent, skill, and experience level between a Summer League game and an NBA game. Still, there are things we can glean from the summer league, especially with so many Pistons basemen expected to play important minutes.

Below are the things Pistons fans should look for in the list.

What’s in Jaden Ivey’s bag?

Jaden Ivey says he’s been working on his midrange game this summer. This will be an important part of his development, along with more consistent shooting from the perimeter. I expect Ivey’s speed and athleticism to be on full display. We’re almost guaranteed a highlight dunk or a chase block in transition, but the real test for Ivey will be to see what he can do when he has the defense on his heels.

Defensively, I’d like to see consistent effort from Ivey, but I’m admittedly less concerned with that aspect of his game. I’ve seen enough of him on and off the ball to know he’s capable. to be a top defenseman, and I think the Pistons have the right culture in place to make sure Ivey prioritizes defense. I expect to see him locked up defensively.

Can Jalen Duren anchor a defense and capitalize on post opportunities?

Tall, fast, strong, athletic – these are labels many would use to describe Jalen Duren. But let’s not forget that Duren is only 18 and has only 29 games on his resume, most of them against teams that haven’t featured any NBA-level prospects.

For example, against Holmgren and No. 1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs, Duren shot just 3-11 from the floor and only managed one block.

Against the No. 8 seed Boise State Broncos Duren was 4-11 from the field and only followed one block. Blocks aren’t nearly the end of the game in determining a player’s defensive acumen, but a quick look at Duren’s college game logs suggests he had some of his underperformance against better competition. .

Shooting about 60% from the post would be an ideal target for Duren, but shooting is just one area I will be watching from the bottom up. Reviewing his college tape, we saw overruns above the level of the 6-foot-11 tall man. If Duren proves to be a capable goalscorer, defenses will have to focus more on his path, which will put him in a position to create from others. What he does with those opportunities when and if they arise will be exciting to see.

Has Killian Hayes completed his offensive game?

Killian Hayes has proven to be an above average defender and top passer. Beyond that, there are significant concerns about Hayes’ effectiveness as a driver and shooter. The southpaw has shown overreliance on his dominant hand. He struggled to finish with his right hand, and his jump shot actually regressed from first to second year.

James Edwards III of The Athletic said Killian Hayes “needs to dominate or come close” during Summer League play for the Pistons to feel comfortable with him going forward.

For Hayes to do that, he will need to show a more complete attacking game. Hayes is undoubtedly the player with the most pressure on him.

If Isaiah Stewart gets big minutes, will he be able to knock down 3-point shots consistently?

At first glance, it’s a bit surprising to see Isaiah Steward, Saddiq Bey and Cade Cunningham on the Summer League roster. However, we have learned that in order for these three players to legally train with the team, they must be on the roster.

We know Cade is unlikely to play a game. I’d be shocked to see the Saddiq sequel as well. However, Stewart has never played in the Summer League, and the Pistons have a lot to deal with in the front court. Specific to Stewart, how does he get next to a cross and can he show enough of the look of a 3-point shot to effectively stretch the ground? Answering these questions will be important for the Pistons in the long run.

Does Isaiah Livers look like he belongs?

Isaiah Livers had a shortened NBA rookie season as he recovered from an injury suffered in college and returned to full health. In all 19 games we saw of Livers a season ago, especially towards the end of the regular season, he played as a rotating 3-and-D player. While Livers doesn’t need to “dominate” like Hayes needs to cement his role on the team, he needs to show that his shot is the real deal.

If there’s one thing the Pistons lack right now, it’s 3-point shooting. Ideally, Livers finishes the Summer League hitting around 40% of his shots from behind the arc, while also showing a knack for making the right play offensively and keeping his man in front of him defensively. If he can do that and avoid negative plays, he should earn minutes as a rotational wing, which has suddenly become a bit more crowded with the additions of Ivey and Burks.