• If you thought the 2022-23 Pistons were bad, the sequel was a triumph. Fresh off a big coaching hire and another round of adding some talented younger players, the Pistons expected to at least take some forward steps, aided by better health for key guys. The Pistons made some offseason moves to bring in more veteran help and added a potential high-level defender on draft day in Ausar Thompson. With Cade Cunningham healthy and another year of development for Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren, plus Monty Williams at the helm, the Pistons were hoping to make a little noise in an Eastern Conference that wasn’t overly imposing.

    How’d It Go?

    They made some noise, but mostly the sounds you hear when something crashes and burns. The Pistons actually won two of their first three games, but that would be the only time they were over .500 all year. They would set a league record with a 28-game losing streak immediately after, falling to 2-29 before mercifully breaking the streak against the Raptors. Two months is a long, long time to go without winning a game, and you could see the weight of things worn on players’ faces. Sure, the Pistons had to start the year without a couple stabilizers in Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris, but 28 games in a row is inexcusable at this level.

    Cade Cunningham was given a very tough test with so little shooting around him, especially with the Pistons insistent on playing Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart side by side — no disrespect to Stewart’s legitimate work and improvement as a 3-point shooter — and Marvin Bagley and/or James Wiseman locked into bench roles. Without Bogdanovic, Cunningham had nowhere to go as defenses didn’t respect the outside shots of Ausar Thompson, Killian Hayes or Jaden Ivey, and Joe Harris and Alec Burks were clearly nearing the end of the line.

    The rotations often didn’t make a ton of sense, with Monty Williams fully committing to Hayes as a starter and a non-shooting center on the floor at all times. The team’s collective body language was often in the gutter, and Williams’ moves never seemed to lift morale. The trade deadline felt like the front office simply taking Williams’ favorites away, as they jettisoned Burks, Bagley, Kevin Knox and Isaiah Livers while simply waiving Hayes, who started in 31 of his 42 appearances. They limped to the finish line and wound up shutting down a few of the guys who will be around long-term, once again finishing with the worst record in the league.

    Their reward for a year of misery? The fifth pick in the draft.

    Coaching

    The Pistons finished bottom-10 in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage, points, assists, turnovers, opponent field goal percentage, opponent 3-point percentage and opponent points per game. They were 27th in offensive rating, 25th in defensive rating and 29th in net rating. It was a brutal display, but at least the Pistons will be able to find new leadership that can make the most of this roster.

    What’s that? Williams just completed the first year of a six-year, $78 million deal? Ah.

    Williams’ rotations never made much sense. He insisted on all-bench groups despite having one of the shallowest rosters in the league. While not having Bogdanovic available limited how much spacing the Pistons could reasonably expect, Williams never seemed to adjust to that reality, and put his young players in a lot of no-win situations.

    The team didn’t win, few of the players made tangible improvements, guys like Ivey and Wiseman were jerked around the rotation, and the Pistons were so bad that they shut down players for the end of the season — they didn’t even get reasonable data to try and learn from going forward. All we saw was that Cunningham needed more shooters around him, which isn’t exactly breaking new ground. We don’t have a sense of how Cunningham, Ivey and Thompson look together in lineups that have a chance of functioning. Williams was working with an imperfect roster but also never did much to try and put his charges in positions to succeed.

    The Players

    Cade Cunningham
    PG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 62 62 33.5 8.5 18.8 44.9 3.8 4.4 86.9 1.9 5.4 35.5 22.7 4.3 7.5 0.9 0.4 3.4
    22-23 DET 12 12 33.3 7.8 18.7 41.5 3.0 3.6 83.7 1.4 5.1 27.9 19.9 6.2 6.0 0.8 0.6 3.3
    21-22 DET 64 64 32.6 6.7 16.1 41.6 2.2 2.6 84.5 1.8 5.7 31.4 17.4 5.5 5.6 1.2 0.7 3.7

    ADP: 35.2/45.7 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 70/105 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 44/82 (8/9-cat)

    After a 12-game season, the biggest thing was for Cunningham to stay healthy. He mostly delivered, though 20 absences was still a shade too many to keep fantasy managers happy. In Cunningham’s defense, his big absence was an eight-gamer following a left knee strain, and seven of his absences came at the end of the season when many fantasy leagues had wrapped up. It wasn’t perfect on the court, but a lot of that had to do with things out of Cunningham’s control. He was a turnover machine early on, though things would settle down as Bojan Bogdanovic returned and Simone Fontecchio joined the team — until the Pistons had credible shooters, Cunningham was facing multiple layers of defense on every possession and had to create far too much on his own. He ended up setting new career-highs in field goal, 3-point and free throw percentage, all great indicators given the extra attention he faced.

    Cunningham managed All-NBA levels of play at a few points this year, but was absolute dynamite in December. He averaged 25.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.5 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.5 blocks and 1.7 3-pointers on .500 shooting from the field in the month and was finally pumping out numbers that met the immense hype Cunningham held on draft day. We’ve seen his ceiling, even in less-than-ideal circumstances, and fantasy managers just have to hope that the Pistons can sort out the rest of the roster enough that Cunningham will actually be put in positions to excel. Imagine what he could do with proper spacing and other shot-makers?

    Jalen Duren
    C, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 61 60 29.1 5.7 9.2 61.9 2.3 3.0 79.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 13.8 11.6 2.4 0.5 0.8 2.1
    22-23 DET 67 31 24.9 3.9 5.9 64.8 1.4 2.3 61.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 9.1 8.9 1.1 0.7 0.9 1.4

    ADP: 94/134.8 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 98/109 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 68/79 (8/9-cat)

    Duren ended up being a respectable value for any managers who drafted him in the ballpark of his ADP. He rose to the starting lineup full-time and started the season on an absolute tear, racking up 54 points, 46 rebounds, 12 assists and eight blocks in his first three games. The potential he showed as a rookie was turning into real, bona fide production. Duren finished with three 20-20 games on the year and was an absolute menace on the glass, but he was boom-or-bust elsewhere in the box score. He displayed some pick-and-roll chemistry with Cade Cunningham and was a constant lob threat, but the Pistons didn’t have enough spacing for that combo to truly sing. Injuries also played a part in Duren’s season, as he missed stretches of five and eight games due to ankle troubles, but by and large he was one of Detroit’s most consistent, positive players this year.

    The big question is whether Duren actually improved or if he just got more playing time. His rebounding was tremendous and there were hints of real plus playmaking chops, but Duren was all or nothing as a rim protector and still needs to learn the finer points of team defense. Duren is young enough to figure it all out, but whether or not he does will determine his fantasy ceiling.

    Isaiah Stewart
    PF, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 46 45 30.9 4.0 8.3 48.7 1.4 1.8 75.3 1.5 3.8 38.3 10.9 6.6 1.6 0.4 0.8 1.4
    22-23 DET 50 47 28.3 3.9 8.8 44.2 2.2 3.0 73.8 1.3 4.1 32.7 11.3 8.1 1.4 0.4 0.7 1.4
    21-22 DET 70 70 25.7 3.5 6.9 50.6 1.1 1.5 71.8 0.2 0.6 29.5 8.3 8.7 1.1 0.3 1.1 1.2

    ADP: 140.2/141.0 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 232/239 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 163/177 (8/9-cat)

    While you might not expect a team to stick with two guys best suited at center in their starting lineup, with Duren ready to take on a full-time starting role, the Pistons asked Stewart to slide over to PF and spend a lot of time working on his shooting. It speaks to how much the Pistons value Stewart as a culture-builder and tone-setter, though the on-court wrinkles it produced are very much up for debate. To his credit, Stewart embraced the change and actually shot .383 from deep on nearly four attempts per game. That wasn’t enough to offset the other losses in fantasy production, however, as Stewart saw a notable drop in rebounds as a result from moving away from the rim. Injuries and suspensions basically limited him to a half season as well, and there remain legitimate questions as to whether his new role will stick in the long term.

    Stewart is, at minimum, a reliable role player who has shown a willingness to sacrifice for the team. Unfortunately, that doesn’t lead to fantasy success, and Stewart’s ceiling at deep-league value (when the team is healthy) might be the new normal.

    Ausar Thompson
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 63 38 25.1 3.7 7.6 48.3 1.1 1.9 59.7 0.3 1.8 18.6 8.8 6.4 1.9 1.1 0.9 1.3

    ADP: 132.7/131.9 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 172/174 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 169/178 (8/9-cat)

    Over the summer, Monty Williams spoke about wanting the team do defend better. To his credit, he walked the walk by plugging Thompson into the starting lineup to start the season. The rookie’s length and athleticism made him an instantly credible defender, and Thompson made an immediate impact with 42 rebounds and 10 blocks over his first four games. He would eventually be replaced by Bojan Bogdanovic, but Thompson showed off a variety of skills that will make him a reliable role player at worst for years to come. An excellent defender and rebounder, Thompson was pulled from the starting five because he cramped the floor on offense, shooting a putrid .181 from deep on the season. Next to at least two other players who defenses didn’t respect from distance, Thompson as a starter made life too difficult for Cade Cunningham. Should he have been the guy to get pulled from the starting five? That’s another question entirely.

    That lineup change was basically the end of Thompson’s punt-friendly fantasy offerings; as a starter he averaged 29.5 mpg but Thompson only got 18.5 mpg in his games as a reserve. He was a clear plus in rebounds, steals and blocks, which gives him a terrific base to build from in the coming years. He’ll be a strong addition to the starting five when the Pistons sort out some other roster construction issues, though Thompson could help his own case quite a bit by working on his jumper this offseason. He’s exactly the sort of player whose game will improve exponentially when he’s surrounded by the right set of teammates, and he managed legitimate standard-league value for punt builds despite some shady circumstances. It wasn’t perfect but it was a decent first impression for Thompson, with significant potential buoyed by his defensive acumen. He missed the final month of the season due to an illness that was later revealed to be a blood clot, but there haven’t been any signs that it’ll impact him going into his sophomore season.

    Jaden Ivey
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 77 61 28.8 5.4 12.6 42.9 2.9 3.9 74.9 1.6 4.8 33.6 15.4 3.4 3.8 0.7 0.5 2.5
    22-23 DET 74 73 31.1 5.5 13.3 41.6 3.6 4.8 74.7 1.6 4.7 34.3 16.3 3.9 5.2 0.8 0.2 3.2

    ADP: 137.1/119.3 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 129/191 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 172/262 (8/9-cat)

    Ivey’s second season ended up producing more questions than answers, and he wasn’t done any favors by the coaching staff. After two years in the league, what does Ivey excel at? He’s supposed to be a scorer, but 15.4 points on .429 shooting won’t do it. He hasn’t shown much playmaking, and the defense isn’t showing up in the box score. Ivey got jerked around a bit, moving from bench to starting five and playing behind Killian Hayes in the early going, and Monty Williams and company never really settled on a role for Ivey to grow into. Now, that the team felt Hayes offered more as a ball-handler is not a great endorsement overall, but Ivey still should’ve gotten as many reps as possible, especially when the playoffs vanished from Detroit’s collective sight in November.

    There wasn’t much visible evidence of improvement in Ivey’s game, across the entire box score. His stat set is weak to begin with but until the Pistons pick a lane for Ivey to occupy, he stands little chance of making the strides that fantasy managers are aching to see.

    Simone Fontecchio
    SF, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 66 43 24.9 3.8 8.3 46.0 0.8 1.0 81.8 2.0 5.1 40.1 10.5 3.7 1.5 0.7 0.3 1.0
    22-23 UTA 52 6 14.7 2.2 6.0 36.9 0.7 0.8 79.5 1.2 3.7 33.0 6.3 1.7 0.8 0.3 0.2 0.8

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 176/169 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 187/183 (8/9-cat)

    Fontecchio’s campaign was a tale of two halves. While he made 34 starts in 50 games with the Jazz as Will Hardy tried to maximize the team’s spacing, he was stuck in a complementary role behind go-to scorer Lauri Markkanen, who plays a somewhat similar game. He wasn’t bad — clearly the Jazz saw it fit to keep starting him — but he wasn’t a priority on offense. Fontecchio took off after being traded to the Pistons, and the only shame of it all is that he played so well that Detroit shut him down after only 16 appearances. He took on a larger role after his trade and was just outside the top-100 from the deadline onward, averaging 15.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks and 2.7 3-pointers in 30.3 mpg while shooting .479 from the field. Fontecchio became the kind of high-volume 3-point shooter that the Pistons desperately needed, and didn’t command the same flow of the offense that Bojan Bogdanovic did. He was a terrific fit for the Pistons and one of the team’s rare bright spots last season.

    Marcus Sasser
    PG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 71 11 19.0 3.1 7.2 42.8 0.8 0.9 87.9 1.3 3.4 37.5 8.3 1.8 3.3 0.6 0.2 1.3

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 205/218 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 256/287 (8/9-cat)

    The Pistons traded up to get Sasser, a 6’2″ guard who isn’t a strong playmaker, but who defends relentlessly and knocks down 3-pointers. It’s a reasonable fit given that the Pistons have Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey to handle the ball — assuming Sasser’s game translates to the next level. It more or less did through his first season, as Sasser received a reasonable role and was able to play to his reputation. He did get exposed a little as his role increased in the season’s final weeks, but that’s typical for young guards of all talent levels, and it’s not as though Sasser was put into lineups that made a ton of sense. He had a few notable fantasy games along the way and should be on the deep-league radar moving forward.

    James Wiseman
    C, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 63 6 17.3 3.0 4.8 61.3 1.1 1.6 70.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 7.1 5.3 0.9 0.2 0.6 1.0
    22-23 DET 45 22 19.3 4.2 7.5 55.8 1.5 2.2 70.1 0.1 0.4 20.0 10.0 5.9 0.7 0.2 0.6 1.1
    21-22 GS 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

    ADP: 140 / 140.3 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 255/267 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 298/320 (8/9-cat)

    Wiseman’s biggest impact on the Pistons was probably his simple existence; it gave the Pistons just one too many non-shooters and might’ve been a factor in the team dealing Marvin Bagley away. That alone is a win, though Wiseman put up some good games that teased his potential when the Pistons were short up front. He went for 21 & 17 in the season finale and had six double-doubles on the season, as well as a season-high 24 points vs. the Celtics. Unfortunately, he remains a very limited player on both ends of the floor despite the occasional flashes. With Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart around for the long haul, the Pistons have to weigh whether or not Wiseman and his development are worth a $9.6 million team option — especially with Chimezie Metu also looking good for a fraction of the cost.

    Evan Fournier
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 32 0 18.1 2.5 6.9 35.7 0.9 1.1 80.6 1.0 4.1 25.4 6.9 1.8 1.5 0.9 0.2 0.7
    22-23 NY 27 7 17.0 2.1 6.1 33.7 0.7 0.8 85.7 1.3 4.2 30.7 6.1 1.8 1.3 0.6 0.1 0.8
    21-22 NY 79 79 29.4 5.1 12.1 41.9 1.0 1.4 70.8 3.0 7.7 39.2 14.2 2.6 2.1 1.0 0.2 1.3

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 275/261 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 270/249 (8/9-cat)

    Fournier had been buried deep in the New York doghouse over the last couple of seasons, and it was basically a lock that he would get dealt at some point if the Knicks needed to bring in a player on a sizable salary. That ended up coming to pass, and Fournier wound up with the Pistons. It wasn’t great — he shot .270 from distance — but at least he played. Fournier made 29 appearances for the Pistons but was caught in the middle to a certain extent; he wasn’t valuable enough to the team to get shut down, but also too old to be given massive amounts of playing time. It’s a rare case of a player who might actually perform better in a modest role alongside the team’s NBA-caliber guys, though Fournier didn’t do much to stir up optimism among fantasy GMs.

    Quentin Grimes
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 51 18 20.1 2.4 6.4 37.2 0.7 0.9 75.6 1.6 4.7 33.8 7.0 2.0 1.3 0.7 0.1 0.5
    22-23 NY 71 66 29.9 4.0 8.5 46.8 1.1 1.4 79.6 2.2 5.7 38.6 11.3 3.2 2.1 0.7 0.4 1.0
    21-22 NY 45 6 17.5 2.1 5.2 40.4 0.3 0.4 68.4 1.6 4.2 38.1 6.1 2.1 1.0 0.7 0.2 0.6

    ADP: 150 / 140.8 (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 299/289 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 331/311 (8/9-cat)

    Grimes was coming off a season where he established himself as a full-time starter for the Knicks, but the team’s acquisition of Josh Hart (plus some injury troubles) put him on the back burner as time went on. Things were even tougher for him this time around, as the Knicks also added Donte DiVincenzo in free agency. Grimes simply wasn’t up to par in a very deep and talented guard group and fell out of favor as the other options outplayed him. It was a quick fall from grace and while a trade to Detroit could’ve reinvigorated his game, Grimes only suited up for six games with Detroit as persistent right knee troubles ended his season.

    While he didn’t show much of anything on his new team, Grimes is a compelling buy-low for the Pistons given his track record of ascendant 3-and-D play.

    Chimezie Metu
    C, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 51 12 16.8 2.4 4.8 50.4 1.1 1.3 90.6 0.5 1.8 29.8 6.5 3.8 0.9 0.8 0.3 1.0
    22-23 SAC 66 0 10.4 2.0 3.3 58.9 0.8 1.1 74.0 0.1 0.6 23.7 4.9 3.0 0.6 0.3 0.3 0.5
    21-22 SAC 59 20 21.1 3.4 7.5 45.3 1.2 1.5 76.7 0.9 3.1 30.4 8.9 5.6 1.0 0.8 0.5 1.0

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 249/245 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 236/241 (8/9-cat)

    Metu began the season as one of the many new faces in Phoenix as the top-heavy Suns went bargain hunting to fill out the rest of the roster. Metu was also one of the many new faces who didn’t stay in the desert for long; he was traded to Memphis and waived before signing with the Pistons for the final month of the campaign. Injuries to Jalen Duren, Isaiah Stewart, Ausar Thompson and others allowed him to post some big lines down the stretch, with five games of 17-plus points, five of eight-plus rebounds, 10 with a steal (including games of three, four and five thefts) and six with at least one block. Considering Metu only played in 14 games with the Pistons, that was quite the productive stretch. He should be able to make a roster out of training camp next year.

    Stanley Umude
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 24 2 12.8 1.5 3.5 44.0 1.2 1.3 90.6 1.0 2.2 45.3 5.3 2.1 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.6
    22-23 DET 1 0 2.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 2.0 2.0 100.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 2.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.0 0.0

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 392/388 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 347/341 (8/9-cat)

    After appearing in one game for the Pistons while on a 10-day contract in 2022-23, Umude signed a two-way deal with the team for this past season. He didn’t look out of place in his minutes, and a .453 effort from behind the arc really helped him stand out, but Umude’s season was cut short by a hairline fracture in his right ankle. He did secure a standard NBA contract before the injury, so the Pistons see a player worth developing. As an actual wing who might be able to shoot and defend, it’s not hard to see why.

    Tosan Evbuomwan
    SF, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 17 8 21.6 2.1 4.2 50.7 1.0 1.5 68.0 0.7 1.9 37.5 5.9 3.5 0.9 0.4 0.3 0.5

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 419/413 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 350/342 (8/9-cat)

    Evbuomwan was a standout in last year’s NCAA tournament and was able to land with the Pistons for training camp, only to get cut before the season. He made his NBA debut while on a 10-day contract with Memphis and would find his way back to Detroit, inking a two-way deal. He was a non-factor until silly season, and even in a surprising eight starts and reasonable playing time, Evbuomwan didn’t do much besides crash the glass. He’s an energy big without a great fantasy stat set.

    Jared Rhoden
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 17 0 14.4 1.9 3.9 50.0 0.3 0.5 62.5 0.7 1.8 38.7 4.9 1.9 0.8 0.2 0.8 0.4
    22-23 DET 14 0 14.1 1.2 3.1 38.6 0.4 0.4 100.0 0.4 1.4 25.0 3.2 2.6 0.3 0.3 0.1 0.2

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 423/417 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 358/344 (8/9-cat)

    Rhoden only checked in for 17 games, with the vast majority coming in the final month of the season. They’re not worth digging into but Rhoden’s G League numbers show some promise at 20.9 points per game on .388 shooting from behind the arc. The Pistons are still pretty full in the backcourt, but maybe Rhoden can insert himself into the conversation as a bench gunner type.

    Malachi Flynn
    PG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 69 0 12.7 2.0 4.7 41.8 0.8 1.0 73.2 0.8 2.4 33.1 5.5 1.7 1.9 0.6 0.1 0.9
    22-23 TOR 53 2 13.0 1.6 4.6 36.0 0.5 0.6 75.8 0.9 2.5 35.3 4.6 1.4 1.3 0.4 0.1 0.5
    21-22 TOR 44 5 11.6 1.5 3.8 40.2 0.3 0.5 62.5 0.6 1.9 33.3 4.1 1.3 1.5 0.4 0.1 0.3

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 282/293 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 360/377 (8/9-cat)

    Could a new coach with a desire to expand the rotation and an offensive system built on ball movement finally kickstart Flynn’s career in Toronto? No. He was traded to the Knicks and then rerouted to the Pistons, who had enough injuries and “injuries” to give Flynn some playing time over the final weeks of the season. Flynn shot just .430 from the field with Detroit but did explode for a 50-point game against Atlanta, firmly throwing his hat in the ring for “Most Random 50-Point Game of All-Time.” He followed that up by scoring six points on 1-of-19 shooting in his next two games combined. If you happened to catch Flynn on that fateful night against the Hawks, you should play the lottery instead of fantasy basketball.

    Troy Brown Jr.
    SF, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 59 15 14.0 1.4 3.8 37.2 0.5 0.6 86.5 0.8 2.4 33.3 4.2 2.4 1.0 0.4 0.1 0.5
    22-23 LAL 76 45 24.5 2.6 6.1 43.0 0.4 0.5 87.2 1.4 3.7 38.1 7.1 4.1 1.3 0.8 0.2 0.6
    21-22 CHI 65 6 15.6 1.6 3.8 41.2 0.3 0.4 76.0 0.7 2.0 35.4 4.1 3.0 1.0 0.5 0.1 0.4

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 323/322  (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 388/383 (8/9-cat)

    Brown and Taurean Prince essentially swapped places in Minnesota and LA as 3-and-D forwards who could pick up the occasional start and not look too out of place. A funny thing happened, however, and Brown did look out of place. He saw his playing time slashed and wasn’t a part of the equation for the Wolves, who traded him to Detroit at the deadline. He actually got some playing time there but didn’t do anything good with it, shooting .281 from deep as a Piston. That won’t cut it no matter the circumstances, and Brown will likely have to earn his way back into a rotation role next year, whether that’s with Detroit or someone else.

    Jaylen Nowell
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 13 1 16.5 2.6 6.0 43.6 0.5 0.7 77.8 0.5 2.2 20.7 6.2 1.8 1.5 0.3 0.2 0.5
    22-23 MIN 65 2 19.3 4.3 9.6 44.8 1.2 1.5 77.8 1.0 3.6 28.9 10.8 2.6 2.0 0.6 0.1 1.0
    21-22 MIN 61 1 15.6 3.1 6.6 47.4 1.2 1.5 78.3 1.0 2.5 38.7 8.4 2.0 2.1 0.4 0.1 0.6

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 450/451  (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 393/395 (8/9-cat)

    Nowell flopped last season in Minnesota as all of his key numbers took a dive. He had to settle for a training camp invite with the Kings but got waived before the season, and then bounced around to Memphis and eventually Detroit on the 10-day contract circuit. Nowell’s NBA career is dangling by a thread.

    Taj Gibson
    PF, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 20 1 10.3 0.8 1.9 40.5 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.1 0.5 20.0 1.7 1.9 0.6 0.2 0.4 0.3
    22-23 WAS 48 2 10.0 1.4 2.6 52.0 0.6 0.9 71.4 0.2 0.5 33.3 3.5 1.9 0.7 0.3 0.3 0.5
    21-22 NY 51 4 18.2 1.7 3.2 52.5 0.8 1.0 80.8 0.3 0.7 40.5 4.5 4.4 0.6 0.4 0.7 0.5

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 451/446  (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 464/459 (8/9-cat)

    Gibson started the year with Washington, had a brief stay in New York with Taj Gibson Fan Club President Tom Thibodeau, and then ended up with the Pistons from March onward. He was a veteran presence who was pressed into action because of Detroit’s various injuries and shutdowns, but there was no fantasy relevance to be found. Gibson’s voice was probably valuable for a young team but it definitely didn’t help them on the court.

    Buddy Boeheim
    SG, Detroit Pistons
    SeasonTeamGPGSMPG FGMFGAFG% FTMFTAFT% 3PTM3PTA3PT% PTSREBAST STLBLKTO
    23-24 DET 10 0 8.4 0.9 2.9 31.0 0.8 1.0 80.0 0.8 2.5 32.0 3.4 1.0 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.0
    22-23 DET 10 0 9.0 0.5 2.7 18.5 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.4 2.5 16.0 1.6 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0 0.0

    ADP: N/A / N/A (Yahoo/ESPN) | Total Value: 514/499  (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 516/498 (8/9-cat)

    Just like his first season, Boeheim made 10 appearances. There wasn’t much to say about them, as the alleged sharpshooter was below league average from distance. He shot .431 from deep in the G League, and if that carries over the Pistons might have something here, but they haven’t been welling to give Boeheim a real test drive through two seasons despite plenty of opportunity to do so.

    Fantasy Star

    It would be easy to say that Cade Cunningham is Detroit’s fantasy star, but we already expected him to be great (when healthy). He also ended up falling short of his lofty ADP and decimated 9-cat managers, so while Cunningham was the team’s best fantasy player, he may not qualify as its star. Jalen Duren will get the nod instead, thanks to a sophomore effort that saw him take a leap in production commensurate with his increased playing time. Duren was a walking double-double, made massive gains at the charity stripe and could swing blocks in any given week. It was far from perfect, as Duren could also disappear from the blocks column in any given week, but outside of steals and blocks he improved as you’d expect. Things should be better for him going forward too, now that the Pistons won’t need to shoehorn Marvin Bagley into the rotation. He’s got a bankable stat set and isn’t that far off from being a legitimate top-50 threat, with lots of room for improvement on the table. Like everyone else, Duren is a player whose boat could be lifted by a rising tide as the team improves.

    Fantasy Letdown

    It can’t be anyone other than Jaden Ivey, who made it through his second season without any clarity on what lies ahead. His role is still up for debate and Ivey’s general lack of improvement through two campaigns is not inspiring for fantasy purposes. It’s not atypical for young guards to struggle early, or to have to overcome suboptimal stat sets, but the fact that Ivey hasn’t even been plugged into a role that he can focus on muddies the water. He doesn’t space the floor reliably enough to be a pure shooter next to Cade Cunningham, and hasn’t shown enough playmaking skills to operate as the lead guard. That may leave Ivey as the sixth man. It wouldn’t be the end of his fantasy prospects, but Ivey needs a stretch of time to settle into a regular role, and ideally the Pistons aren’t blocking his path with players who won’t be around for the long haul next season.

    One to Watch

    Ausar Thompson is hoping to follow in the long line of offensively challenged players who rack up great fantasy value thanks to big production in some scarcer categories. His strengths should keep him in the league and on the court for a long, long time, and he can be something special if his offensive game rounds out. The Pistons need to find the right mix of players to help leverage his game without hindering his development, which is always easier said than done, but Thompson can cover up a lot of warts in different lineup configurations. A second-year breakout is not at all out of the question, especially if the Pistons add the right sort of players this summer.

    One Burning Question

    The Pistons cleaned up some of their messes at the trade deadline but still have a lot of work to do. They also have a lot of money to do it with. How does Detroit use their ample cap space this summer? The Pistons are almost surely going to have to overpay any top-tier free agent, but they have the assets to try and add some players who can bring respectability back to the organization. Last year was instructive in that the Pistons found out which types of players don’t work well together, so they should be able to narrow their shopping list in free agency and target the right fits. They don’t need world-beaters, but any players who can prevent dead-end bench groups and open up the floor for Cunningham, Ivey, Thompson and Duren will be invaluable. Beyond whatever wins new signings might provide, the Pistons have to prioritize a strong developmental environment for that quartet rather than ask them to bang their heads against the wall in go-nowhere lineups. Detroit has the capacity to make some big, necessary changes, but so far this management group has rarely shown the ability to stick the landing.

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