Pro Sports Weekly: Ranking The Pistons’ Rookies and Young Players

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Drew R. Abrams, Sports Columnist

As the Pistons tumble forward with their rebuild, they are currently projected to hold the second overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft.  While this is obviously a huge asset, Pistons GM Troy Weaver has already set about acquiring plenty of young talent that could lead the next generation of Detroit basketball.  I have ranked them below based off of performance, potential, and age.

No.8/Deividas Sirvydis

This one was an easy placement.  Sirvydis was acquired along with a second round pick for Bruce Brown in the offseason, and it appears to be one of the few blemishes on the record of Troy Weaver.  Sirvydis is yet to see the floor, and to my knowledge he never played for the Nets.  needless to say a player who can’t even make it to the hardwood isn’t going to be ranked very high.

No.7/Hamidou Diallo

This one could change any day, and the only reason Diallo is ranked so low is because he has yet to see the floor for the Pistons.  He is an extremely athletic guard who competed in the 2016 dunk contest, and has shown that he can be an effective slasher as well as shooting the basketball.  Somehow, he is also still just twenty-two years of age and was acquired for just a second round pick and a struggling Svi Mychiaulk.  It’s not unreasonable to expect big things from Diallo, but the fact is we just haven’t seen him yet.

No.6/Sekou Dembouya

Dembouya was drafted last year with the twelfth overall pick after impressing in French leagues in Europe and showed flashes his rookie year, but if anything he has fallen off in year two.  He’s averaging less than four points on the year and while he hasn’t gotten a lot of minutes, he’s just not living up to his potential.  It’s important to remember that he’s still only twenty years old and there’s plenty of time to turn it around, but his performance has been dismal so far.

No.5/ Killian Hayes

Much like Sekou, Hayes was drafted out of France and was playing in pro leagues overseas, but so far he has failed to live up to his potential.  Hayes only played seven games before he went down to a bad hip injury, and he struggled in those games.  It’s far too early to start the bust conversation, but Hayes looked flustered and his shooting failed him early in his career.  So far it hasn’t been good.

No.4/Saban Lee

As we get into the top half of this list, expect far more positive reviews.  Saban Lee was a second round pick, one of four rookies on the Pistons roster, and he made the most of his playing time in his first few games.  He was shooting over seventy percent from the floor and using his crazy athleticism to fly around and contribute.  While his numbers have fallen off, he’s been good nonetheless, especially for a second round pick.  I wouldn’t expect an all-star career from him, but he could be a microwave player, somebody who can just go off on a tear for a few minutes when we need him to.

No.3/ Dennis Smith Jr.

DSJ has looked like the player that Dallas thought they drafted when they took him with the ninth pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.  He has been an explosive, high flying point guard with decent size and handles.  He has been nothing but promising since his arrival, and chances are he’s just going to get better.  He is a potential starting guard alongside Hayes or a rookie in the future.

No.2/Isiah Stewart

Stewart is a strong, sturdy, hustle player who the Pistons seem to have found a quality starter in in the future.  He is an all around good player and has recorded several impressive defensive and rebounding performances, while also flashing some skill at shooting from beyond the arc.  With Mason Plumlee likely on the move, Jahlil Ohkafor on the shelf, and Andre Drummond a thing of the past, expect Stewart to be the Pistons next starting center.

No.1/Saddiq Bey

Originally drafted to be a 3-and-D wing, Saddiq Bey has set the Pistons on fire, and is putting up some of the best rookie numbers in franchise history, second only to the dynamic Grant Hill.  Bey has put up several 20-plus point games so far this season, and his shooting from deep has been exceptional.  He has been a solid-level starter since a quarter of the way through the year, and he has only gotten better.  His ceiling remains unknown, but head coach Dwayne Casey has stated that he believes Bey is set to be a star in the NBA for a long time, and with his performance so far this season, it’s hard to argue with him.