Welcome back to POP On The Clock! The last time I had the pleasure of writing this piece, I was busy mulling over Andre Drummond getting shipped to the Cavaliers before a virus decided to mess up everyone’s plans. It’s great to be back for the 75th anniversary of the NBA and the newfound, revitalized Detroit Pistons who have made strides forward since the dark days of Bruce Brown at point guard.
With the arrival of Cade Cunningham (not actually, still waiting for that debut), Kelly Olynyk in free agency, and the return of the strong 2020 Pistons draft class, Pistons fans have a lot of to be excited about for both this year and years to come. Here’s our first week recap of a bright future in the Motor City.
The Week in Games: Pistons Go 0-2
Pistons Lose to Chicago In Home Opener, 94-88
The Pistons opened their season in Little Caesar’s Arena against the new-look Chicago Bulls. In what was a tight battle from beginning to end, Detroit fell just short of securing their first win of the season.
This game was a defensive battle from both teams, and Pistons fans can be encouraged by the intensity that Detroit brought. Despite a strong scoring effort from Zach Lavine, Detroit made sure that Chicago had to earn every bucket.
Jerami Grant led the Pistons with 24 points, while Lavine scored 34. Grant was supported by Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart in particular during the contest.
Pistons Lose to Chicago at United Center, 97-82
In Detroit’s rematch with Chicago at the United Center, the Pistons struggled to muster any offense against its division rival, failing to eclipse 90 points for the second straight week.
Detroit, led by Saddiq Bey with 20 points and 16 rebounds, struggled to find shots against a tough defensive scheme set up by the Bulls. Despite leading the rebound battle and staying even in team fouls, the Pistons’ inability to keep the ball hurt them in a big way.
If Detroit looks to win any games against tougher opponents this year, their games against Chicago show that ball control and smarter passing will need to be an emphasis going forward.
The Week in News
Cade Cunningham Stays In Detroit During Road Trip to Rehab Ankle
Pistons fans will have to remain eager and excited for the number one pick’s debut as it was reported on Saturday that Cade Cunningham will be rehabbing his injured ankle with the Motor City Cruise while the Pistons travel for a three game road trip.
Cunningham, who was unable to play in the preseason due to an ankle injury, has been tended to closely by the Pistons’ training staff, who are taking as cautious of an approach as possible to ensure that Cunningham is 100% before returning to play.
It’s believed that the Piston faithful will get to see Cade debut against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, October 30 at home. However, no official report confirms these rumors at this time.
Play of the Week
Player of the Week: Saddiq Bey
Saddiq Bey takes home the first player of the week award from POP for the 2021-22 season, averaging 16.5 PTS, 12.5 REB, and 2.5 AST. Looks like he’s not slowing down at all from last year!
Bey’s best performance came against the Bulls on Saturday, where he dropped 20 PTS and 16 REB. This is Saddiq’s first POP player of the week selection.
Question of the Week: Is it time to Ring the Alarm on Killian Hayes?
For our first question of the season, I went around asking POP writers about how they feel about Killian Hayes. Detroit sports media and fans alike have been going back and forth on the second-year player’s outlook in Detroit. Here’s what some of our writers and myself have to say about Hayes.
Tyler “Fauzi” Isaac, Staff Writer
“It’s no secret Killian looked bad [this week], but it’s really important for everyone to keep in mind both that he hasn’t even reached 30 games, and there was a time where Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart weren’t to the level where they ended at last year.
The other rookies had a full year to develop and grow together while Hayes spent most of the season hurt. Killian might as well be a rookie! Patience is key and this is still a rebuilding year with playoffs not entirely being the main goal. If we get to the end of the season and Killian hasn’t shown noticeable improvement, that’s when you start considering moving on from him.”
Mike Anguilano, Editor
“[Hayes is] concerning, but he needs more time before we jump to bust conclusions. He needs to be more aggressive offensively and finish at the rim.”
Hussein Murray, Staff Writer
From the moment he was drafted, I’ve been a staunch defender of Killian Hayes and will continue to be one this year. Hayes has not had enough time to get an understanding for the American game, and giving up on him in the first week of his second season is not productive for anyone.
To me, the tools are there. Hayes showed signs that he can run a NBA offense and move the rock. Not only that, but he’s shown flashes of his scoring arsenal, with an ability to get to the rim and use stepbacks to get open shots. While he’s not efficient when he gets to his spots, those shots will start falling.
This year is all about building composure under pressure and an ability to lead. Even if Hayes doesn’t make the statistical jump that many are expecting him to make, I’ll be satisfied if I see him being under control and limiting turnovers. Developing players doesn’t happen overnight. It may come faster to some, but for others it might take some time. That’s time that I’m willing to spend on Killian Hayes.
POP Podcast: Game One Reaction – Is this the Same Detroit Pistons of Last Year?
Detroit has four games this week, with three of those games being away.
Pistons @ Atlanta Hawks – Monday, 10/25, 7:30 PM
Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers – Thursday, 10/28, 7:00 PM
Orlando Magic @ Pistons – Saturday, 10/30, 7:00 PM
Pistons @ Brooklyn Nets – Sunday, 10/31, 7:30 PM
(Featured Image by Carlos Osorio/AP)