The Grizzlies look to bounce back after receiving a spanking from division rival & fellow playoff seed contender in the New Orleans Pelicans. As the Young “Drip and Slime” squad gets ready to host on the Detroit Pistons at the Grindhouse, this Grizzlies group has a chance to be back at an even Steven .500 record. We reached out to Forbes' Detroit Pistons writer Duncan Smith, as well as Detroit Bad Boys site writer Sean Corp, to talk about the state of the Detroit Pistons, Sekou Doumbouya, Derrick Rose, & Yo Gotti's new artist & Detroit native 42 Dugg to get the real scoop of Motor City basketball.
How is the buzz in Mo'Town about the surprisingly fast development of the NBA's youngest player, Pistons rookie Sekou Doumbouya? And if it's not too early, what is a good NBA player comparison for him long term?
Duncan Smith: People are optimistic that Sekou might turn out to be really good. As far as player comps, the one you hear the most is Pascal Siakam. Of course, Sekou is a long way from that. He's very raw. He's also almost eight years younger than Siakam.
Sean Corp: It's been a long time since Detroit had a prospect that looked like they could be a two-way contributor like Sekou. It's not that he's been extremely up & down, but he's showing off great touch & a solid 3-point stroke. The most crucial thing for Pistons fans is that he just turned 19 years old. Most fans didn't think he'd be a rotation player until next season & now it's wondering if he should start or come off the bench to aid his development.
As far as comps, it's extremely early to figure that one out, but a lot of people mention Pascal Siakam as a high-energy power forward that has a green light from 3. We'll see what happens with Sekou but he has all the raw ingredients to be a difference maker. When thinking about other Pistons could have drafted, he's two years younger than Matisse Thybulle & three years younger than Brandon Clarke.
How are fans reacting to Derrick Rose trade rumors? Is there a buzz growing to retain & try to contend now with Rose as the lead guard?
Duncan Smith: It's hard to predict what might happen with Rose. Fans love him, the team loves him & he loves it in Detroit, so there's a notion it will take a lot to make a trade happen.
Sean Corp: I think the majority of the hardcore fan base want to see him moved because he is at the peak of his value & has an injury history. Best to strike while the iron is hot. In fact, he left a Detroit's last game with groin soreness. The Pistons have a young guy in Bruce Brown who they want to turn into a point guard, & the best way to do that is to give him a heavy dose of point guard minutes. Casual Fans & the front office seem more inclined to keep Rose. He's a name & a draw at the box office & it's understandable you'd want a steady hand at point guard if the team resets & fills the roster with young players.
If the Pistons could get a pair of high second round picks or a decent first rounder, I'd move him. If he's only going to being back something like the 45th pick, then just bring him back & see what you can get for him next trade deadline.
With the Pistons 4.5 games back in the Eastern Conference playoff race, is there any hope in Detroit that this group can make a run for the last slot, possibly with a deadline trade addition/subtraction?
Duncan Smith: No matter what, the Pistons must not view themselves as a buyer. The rebuild they're on the precipice of is a long time coming & they need to bite the bullet & make it happen. They must only sell & accumulate assets.
Sean Corp: There is no hope the Pistons make the playoffs. They are a bad team depleted by injuries and they have one of the toughest remaining schedules in the NBA. They should be looking to unload players like (Andre) Drummond, Rose, Langston Galloway & Markieff Morris & giving the young guys some on the court development.
Does this Pistons roster have any core guys currently on the roster that fit the inevitable turn towards analytics-based basketball?
Duncan Smith: Sekou Doumbouya, Bruce Brown Jr., Svi Mykhailiuk, & Luke Kennard are the young players who the Pistons currently believe will be contributors in their rebuild, & that rebuild will take place in an era of analytical basketball. It's a group that may be able to capitalize on that advancement.
Sean Corp: Christian Wood is the quintessential modern NBA big man with great efficiency around the rim while shooting 37% from 3 while sporting a very good true shooting percentage of 66.6. Sekou Doumbouya was drafted in large part because he seemed like he could develop into a similarly efficient player, but with more switchability on defense. Luke Kennard is a great modern secondary ball handler at the off guard position with high efficiency, deep range & good assists numbers. Svi Mykhailiuk is a modern day 3-point specialist, an Bruce Bowen would function a lot better as a modern NBA point guard. But what the Pistons still don't have are the two most & critical pieces- an elite two-way wing & a true #1 scoring option that has a lot of gravity the other players can play around. Maybe Sekou becomes that, maybe the Pistons get lucky in the upcoming draft. But they are certainly stocked third & fourth option mold.
Detroit's own rapper 42 Dugg recently signed with Memphis' own Yo Gotti and could potentially have a great push for mainstream stardom in 2020. Who can be the 42 Dugg for the Detroit Pistons in tomorrow's game versus the Memphis Grizzlies?
Duncan Smith: Keep an eye on Bruce Brown. He's got a nasty streak on defense & he's getting better at getting to the basket & finishing. He might be a guy who really shines (tonight).
Sean Corp: *Furiously google the nouns above* I'll go with Svi Mykhailiuk. Svi can't do it all on his own, but he's an intriguing young player who can go nuclear from deep if he has teammates able to find him within the flow of the offense. He doesn't need a lot of space, & he's always willing to hoist, but there's a difference between letting one go & letting one go within the rhythm of the offense. When the Pistons have it going, it's no surprise to see Svi hit 5-7 from 3 including some truly insane 28-footers that get the buzz going throughout the building.
It was a pleasure to interview these guys! Be sure to check out Duncan Smith on Twitter as well as Forbes & HoopsHabit. Also be sure to check out Sean Corp on Twitter as well as on Detroit Bad Boys website.