The Pistons are no longer the worst team in the NBA (for now); Saddiq Bey is on fire after an early year slump. Cade returns to the lineup. The Bucks can’t handle us.
🪜 Pistons out of the basement, for now
The Pistons (7-28) are on a winning streak. Two straight wins! It’s the first time Detroit has won consecutive games since last March when they beat Houston and Toronto.
On Monday night, the Pistons beat the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks for the first time in 16 tries, dating back to 2018. Isn’t that wild? That includes the first round playoff series sweep.
The win over the Bucks moved the Pistons above the Orlando Magic for worst winning percentage in the NBA, so for now, the Pistons aren’t in last place. Phew.
The Pistons have been dealing with a big COVID outbreak for the last couple of weeks, having to mix in several G-League players with a handful of available starters.
Cade Cunningham returned on Monday and gave the team a big boost with strong shooting and a couple of clutch plays, including a pull-up three-pointer over Giannis in the final stretch. It’s nice to see the young guys learning how to seal a victory, especially against the best in the league.
“This was a big win for us,” Cunningham said. “Everyone can now play their game, not think so much. When you’re losing, things are amplified. When you find ways to win and stick together, you can work through everything with a clear mind.”
🔥 Headband Diq ablaze, Diallo belongs
Listen, I was worried about Pistons second-year forward Saddiq Bey. He had a very underwhelming start to the season and didn’t seem to be able to break out of the slump. There was even talk of sending Bey to the G-League to try and work through it.
But then came the headband.
Bey says he only started wearing it because his hair is too long, but ever since, he’s been on fire. In Bey’s last five games, he’s averaging 26 points and 10 rebounds per game. He has set two career-high scoring records in the last week, with 32 vs. the Knicks last week and 34 vs. the Bucks on Monday. He’s shooting 40.4 from the three-point line, a huge improvement from earlier this season. And how about the game-winner vs. the Spurs? What a moment.
And let’s give some love to Hamidou Diallo, who started the season on the bench for some reason, and has come alive the last few weeks when this team needed him the most.
Diallo, in his last five games, is averaging 23.2 points and nine rebounds per game, also setting new career-high scoring marks.
I’m hoping his minutes remain strong even as more starters return. He deserves more playing time.
🤫 Pistons trade rumors
The only Piston involved in trade rumors ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline is Jerami Grant, which is no surprise. Grant may just be the biggest fish on the market.
The Athletic’s James Edwards III reported this week that contenders are “routinely calling Detroit about Grant.” Previous reports identified the Lakers, Blazers and even the Bulls as potential suitors.
But the Pistons are clearly holding their hand close and waiting for the right deal. They should be able to get a nice haul for Grant, hopefully a young player with potential or more draft picks. The deadline is Feb. 10.
📅 Pistons upcoming games
Jan. 5: @ Hornets
Jan. 6: @ Grizzlies
Jan. 8: vs. Magic
Jan. 10: vs. Jazz
Jan. 11: @ Bulls
🏀 Shoot your shot
Thanks for reading the Pistons Pivot Newsletter. Feel free to reach out with any comments or ideas you have about the team — or just to say hello. Until next time,
– Ken Haddad (Contact me: Email | Twitter)
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