The Detroit Pistons were ready to take the next step last season. That is until Cade Cunningham underwent surgery on his left shin that prematurely ended his sophomore year 12 games into the campaign. As a result, Detroit finished with the league’s worst record at 17-65. To make matters worse, they didn’t even land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and hence, missed out on a generational prospect in Victor Wembanyama.
Nonetheless, it seems like the Pistons are now ready to take that next step this upcoming 2023-24 season. Cade Cunningham is back. They hired Monty Williams to a monstrous deal. They drafted Ausar Thompson at No. 5 overall. And they added veterans to the roster that can help this team win and guide them to the next level.
Nonetheless, this Pistons team still has several young prospects across its roster. Williams should be able to bring structure to this team and install a pecking order among the team’s young talent. With that said, some of them could become expendable and could be on the trading block. With that said, here are two potential trade candidates for the Detroit Pistons ahead of training camp.
1. James Wiseman
The Detroit Pistons took a chance on James Wiseman and acquired the former No. 2 overall pick from the Golden State Warriors last season. They gave the 7-foot-1 center a look and gave him the starting center role to finish out the 2022-23 season. Wiseman did produce some numbers with the chance given to him as he averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in over 25 minutes a night. He showcased his raw athleticism and showed flashes of brilliance throughout his 24 games with the Pistons.
However, he still showed the flaws that glued him to Golden State’s bench. Wiseman still looked lost at times on the defensive end. He continued to struggle with rotations and boxing out — the same kind of errors that led the Warriors to trade him.
James Wiseman’s time in the starting unit is unfortunately not going to carry over to the 2023-24 season. Well, it’s not supposed to. Wiseman was never supposed to be given the starting role in the first place.
Detroit should have never taken Jalen Duren out of the starting lineup.
Monty Williams should be able to recognize the fact that Duren is just miles better than Wiseman. He should go all in on giving the starting center reigns back to the league’s youngest player during the 2022-23 season.
Duren is a beast and his stellar rookie season just showed how he oozed with potential. He has a 7-foot-5 wingspan to go along with a 42-inch vertical. He shot 74.7 percent from within three feet of the basket and ranked 3rd in the NBA overall in offensive rebounds. Duren was also 3rd among all rookies in blocks.
Even with the demotion, Duren still put up huge numbers and eventually even regained a spot in the starting unit near the end of the season. In his last 15 games, Duren averaged 11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds while shooting 65.4 percent from the field.
The 19-year-old showed All-Defensive Team potential and even showcased playmaking chops with his underrated passing skills.
2. Killian Hayes
Another player who could be a trade candidate for the Pistons is Killian Hayes. Drafted 7th overall by the Pistons in 2020, the franchise had hoped Hayes would become a solid two-way point guard in the NBA. While the lefty has shown strides on the defensive side of the floor, his offense has been an absolute mess to begin his career.
Hayes is a career 37.6 percent shooter from the field and a 27.4 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Over the last two seasons, he has owned the worst true shooting percentage among all players who appeared in at least 60 games, per NBA.com.
Hayes is just 22 years old. He isn’t a lost cause by all means. But the early returns of his NBA career have been really discouraging, considering he hasn’t figured out how to score efficiently in the NBA level.
Sure, everyone brings something to the table. But being able to score and shoot, especially for his position, has become a premium for NBA point guards.
The Pistons drafted Jaden Ivey last season, which signaled that the Pistons may be ready to move on from the Hayes experiment. Cade Cunningham’s season-ending injury 12 games into the season may have given him another chance, but he didn’t really make much strides last season.
This summer, the Pistons traded for veteran guard Monte Morris, which could heavily impact Hayes’ playing time. Detroit is looking to get to the next level, especially after they hired Monty Williams. Morris, who holds a career 57.3 true shooting percentage, is as steady as they come as a second-unit floor general who can create plays and more importantly, score efficiently from the field.
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