Taking a Look at Detroit’s G League Gems

(Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

With the Detroit Pistons currently sitting in the eleventh spot in the Eastern Conference with a 5-10 record, it is tough for Pistons fans to find anything positive. However, there is something to be happy about: Pistons first round draft pick Sekou Doumbouya’s play in the G League, as well as the play of their two-way players Jordan Bone and Louis King.

The three young guys under contract with the Pistons are currently putting on a show for Detroit’s G League affiliate team, the Grand Rapids Drive. Let’s start off with Detroit’s two-way players.

The Pistons traded for the 57th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, where they selected point guard Jordan Bone out of the University of Tennessee. Over his three-year career with the Volunteers, Bone averaged 9.7 points, 4.3 assists and 2.4 rebounds on 42-35-82 shooting splits. The now 22 year-old point guard capped off his college career averaging 13.5 points, 5.8 assists and 3.2 rebounds a night on efficient 46-35-83 shooting splits, helping lead Tennessee to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

Although Bone’s college numbers don’t pop off the page and he was a late second-round pick, he has found his niche with the Drive. He is currently leading the Drive in scoring, assists and minutes played.

Bone’s 18.3 points and 8.3 assists in 35.3 minutes per game has helped lead Grand Rapids to a 6-2 record, the fifth best record in all of the G League. Not only is Bone putting up great numbers, but he is also shooting the ball extremely efficient from the floor, shooting 51% overall and 41% from three.

Bone is not the only two-way player putting in work. Undrafted two-way player Louis King is having a solid early campaign as well. King came to the Pistons organization after spending only one year at the University of Oregon.

In his one year as a Duck, the 6-foot-seven forward averaged 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds on 43-39-78 shooting splits. The five-star recruit did not live up to lofty expectations in college, partly due to hand and ankle injuries. However, King’s play impressed Detroit scouts enough to offer him a two-way contract three days after the NBA Draft.

The 20-year-old King has played well for the Drive so far averaging 17.9 points and seven rebounds a game. However, King’s shooting has not been the most efficient, as he is shooting the ball at 42.6 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent from three. 

Although he has not had the most efficient season so far shooting the ball, there is a lot to like about King. Standing at 6’7”, King is slightly undersized for the power forward position, but he possesses a 7’.25” wingspan and an athletic build. This type of body will help King become a solid two-way wing.

The last prospect, and the one that Pistons fans are certainly most excited for, is 2019 first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya. A consensus top-10 pick, Doumbouya slid on draft night due to how raw he was. Pistons senior advisor Ed Stefanski was ecstatic to get him at 15 on draft night.

“Getting him at 15, that’s very interesting for us. We had him rated higher, we didn’t see it coming so we’re very happy in the (draft) room,” Stefanski said to the Detroit Free Press’ Vince Ellis.

And what isn’t there to be excited about with Doumbouya? He is only 18 years-old, stands 6-foot-8 with a 6’11” wingspan and exudes athletic ability.

Doumbouya came to the NBA after playing in France’s top pro league as a 17 year-old. In 24 games, Doumbouya averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.9 points per game. Since coming over to the NBA and developing in the G League, he has been an absolute stud.

In the eight G League games so far, Doumbouya is averaging 18.4 points and 4.6 rebounds in 24.5 minutes a night, capped off by a 28-point performance against the Westchester Knicks and a 23-point outing against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

What has been really exciting to see out of Doumbouya is how efficiently he has shot the ball from the floor so far in the G League. Through seven games, the first-round draft pick is shooting 57% from the floor, 39% from three, and 93% from the free throw line.

Doumbouya’s play in the G League has caught the eye of the Pistons’ coaching staff and front office, and Pistons fans may be seeing him in a Detroit uniform sooner than later.

With Tony Snell dealing with a hip flexor injury and Detroit needing some extra scoring, Doumbouya may make his NBA debut soon.

There is a lot to be excited about with the Pistons young players developing in the G League. Bone, King and Doumbouya could become a part of Detroit’s young core and a stepping stone towards the future of contending in the Eastern Conference.