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Assessing the Detroit Pistons Players for 2020-21

| December 12, 2020 4:26 am PDT
Detroit Pistons Roster Analysis for the 2020-21 NBA Season

The Detroit Pistons haven’t been a legit title threat for years. Lately, they haven’t even looked like a serious playoff contender.

The arrival of Blake Griffin at one point changed that, but since being acquired from the Clippers, the big man has struggled to stay on the court.

Compounding that bad trade is Griffin’s bloated contract and the fact that all of Detroit’s useful veterans left town in some manner.

Derrick Rose is still on hand to help Griffin, but even he knows this year and the immediate future is all about the young talent on the roster.

The cupboard isn’t completely bare for the Pistons, but they also don’t look like a real playoff threat anymore. To properly gauge how you should bet on this team this year, here’s an analysis of the Detroit Pistons 2020-21 roster.

Detroit Pistons Roster in 2020-21

  • Key Additions: Jerami Grant, Killian Hayes, Mason Plumlee
  • Key Losses: Christian Wood, Bruce Brown, Langston Galloway
Likely Starting 5
  • PG: Killian Hayes
  • SG: Wayne Ellington
  • SF: Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk
  • PF: Blake Griffin
  • C: Mason Plumlee 

The Pistons know they’re rebuilding, but until they dump Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose in trades, it sounds like they’ll actually try to compete for a playoff spot.

The arrival of rookie point guard Killian Hayes provides some optimism. Head coach Dwane Casey has said he’s the starter until further notice, and if his talent translates, Detroit could solve their point guard woes.

I’m not sold on what Detroit will do at the two and the three. They have some options, but none are very alluring. Blake Griffin and Mason Plumlee will man the four and the five, and that’s a seriously underrated duo.

Detroit would do well to get Sekou Doumbouya on the floor, and if he can man the three, that may be the way to go.

This is not a playoff team when looking at the starting five, but the Pistons do have a potential franchise point guard, and putting Ellington and Mykhailiuk in the starting group would ensure they have some shooting on the floor.

Detroit Pistons’ Bench 

  • Derrick Rose
  • Saben Lee
  • Delon Wright
  • LiAngelo Ball
  • Rodney McGruder
  • Saddiq Bey
  • Josh Jackson
  • Dzanan Musa
  • Deividas Sirvydis
  • Louis King
  • Jerami Grant
  • Sekou Doumbouya
  • Jahlil Okafor
  • Isaiah Stewart

The Pistons have a completely new team than they did just a few months ago. Killian Hayes gives them a legit point guard of the future, while Detroit was weirdly super aggressive in adding bodies in free agency.

Detroit was a talent collector this offseason, as they even shocked people by signing LiAngelo Ball.

That’s a forgettable signing in theory, but it shows the Pistons are committed to bringing in anyone they think could develop into something special. That’s why guys like Josh Jackson, Dzanan Musa, and Jahlil Okafor could be underrated pickups. And also why rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart are worth noting.

Detroit’s bench lost some key bodies with Christian Wood, Bruce Brown, and Langston Galloway skipping town. I’m not convinced they will be cohesive enough to be seen as “better,” but the Pistons are at least trying.

Pistons’ Best Player – Blake Griffin

I mean, I guess it’s still Blake Griffin. Don’t get me wrong; this is an extremely correct and easy answer. The question is if Griffin can make it through a full season without getting hurt or being traded.

The good news is reports indicate he’s still that dude.

Griffin is still a freak athlete with incredible scoring, exceptional playmaking, and a constantly improving jumper. He’s very much in his prime and could carry a heavy load for the Pistons, assuming he can stay healthy.

That is no guarantee, as he has had multiple lower-body ailments and has relied heavily on his explosiveness to win around the basket over the years.

A rapid decline is in his future, but until that happens, Griffin is a 20-10-5 threat on this team.

I don’t know if Griffin has what it takes to will a team to 50 wins like he once did, but he can still play at an extremely high level and potentially keep the Pistons relatively competitive for as long as he’s healthy.

Detroit’s X-Factor – Sekou Doumbouya

You could suggest Killian Hayes or Derrick Rose, but they have such defined roles that they’re already quite clearly part of the solution for Detroit.

I’ll focus on Sekou Doumbouya, who flashed absurd ability in the G-League last year. He wasn’t quite as dominant when he came to the pros, but he’s also just 19 and is just beginning to scratch the surface of his talent.

Some think he has Giannis Antetokounmpo-level upside, and that type of player is one to get behind.

Detroit’s roster moves don’t indicate a firm backing, but perhaps they’re demanding the talented Doumbouya really earn his way to the floor.

So far, he’s at least shown serious signs of improvement.

I’m obviously a bit deterred by the offseason moves, but Doumbouya blossoming into a rotational player (or even better, a starter) would mean big things for the Pistons.

This kid has superstar potential. If he doesn’t get there, the Pistons probably won’t have a high ceiling this year. If he does, Detroit might surprise some people.

Final Assessment of the Detroit Pistons Roster

It’s really easy to dismiss the Pistons this year. Their hopes cling to two superstars who are at least somewhat past their prime and are constant injury risks.

Oh, and a rookie point guard better be good. And fringe NBA starters were added to the roster in droves.

This roster was pieced together in such Moneyball fashion that the Pistons either are brilliant, or they really have no clue what kind of team they want to put on the floor.

On the surface, it looks like a mess. By season’s end, Griffin and/or Rose could or should be traded. But if things break just right, maybe the Pistons will be more competitive than people think.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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