It’s the NBA Summer League -- and we’re overthinking it.
But honestly, what else do we have to do? Is there something else on your agenda today? Probably not. Let’s overthink it, baby.
We got our first look at the No. 1 pick, Cade Cunningham, other rookies, and second-year players in the Summer League opener on Sunday night, so let’s get into it.
Pistons vs. Thunder
The Pistons opened Summer League against the Oklahoma City Thunder squad on Sunday, and they lost. Let’s just get that part out of the way because it doesn’t really matter. They were up, and then they weren’t, and then it was close, and then they lost. That’s basketball.
Let’s overthink some other things. Let’s start with Cade.
Cade starts hot, cools off in debut
Cade got the ball rolling with two three-pointers in his first run as a Pistons rookie, and it seemed like he was feeling it. But then, he went cold.
Cunningham ended the game with 12 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, off 5 for 17 shooting from the field. He had some bad defensive gaffs, and turned the ball over a game-high five times.
So, it wasn’t a decorated debut for Cade, but let’s not overthink this. Cade will be fine. He can score and will score. The Pistons offensive chemistry needs some time to build with Cade in the middle of it.
Unrelated to his play, Cade was extremely vocal all game, a clear leader on the floor and from the bench.
Killian Hayes worries me
Is Killian Hayes any better than last season? Has he grown? I’m sure he has. I have no doubts. But it didn’t show up in the debut. Let’s overthink it.
Hayes started alongside Cade Cunningham and it was a bit strange. Both were playing off the ball a lot, and it was unclear who was running the team.
Hayes finished with six points, five assists and nine rebounds, in 22 minutes. Just seemed like an opportunity for him to let it loose, but he seemed just as tense as when he started for the Pistons as a rookie last year.
There was a stretch near the end of the game where Killian tried to make a couple of plays. He threw up a shot, short. Got a couple of nice rebounds, drew a foul and then missed two free throws. It was, let’s say, mixed.
I think the Hayes-Cunningham floor chemistry is going to take some time to figure out. Both are natural point guards, being asked to play combo guard. It’s going to look a little awkward, but I’d still like to see Hayes play better.
Saddiq Bey is a grown man
If anything was clear from the Summer League opener, it’s that Saddiq Bey doesn’t need to be playing in Summer League.
The Pistons second-year forward, coming off an All NBA Rookie season, was clearly the best player on the floor, muscling any defender off him and scoring with ease. He could have scored more, if he wanted. Bey finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
I’m not worried about Saddiq Bey. I’m not overthinking anything there.
Luka Garza is fun
Pistons second-round pick Luka Garza looked good in his Pistons debut.
Garza scored nine points, including a beautiful rainbow three-pointer, along with four rebounds, in about 13 minutes of play. Every time he made a play, he pounded his chest and yelled to the sky.
It was fun.
I think Garza is going to be just fine as a scorer off the bench for the Pistons. And he can bring some juice to the floor.
Next Summer League games for Detroit:
- Tuesday, Aug. 10, 9 p.m.: Houston Rockets (ESPN)
- Friday, Aug. 13, 8 p.m.: New York Knicks (NBATV)
- Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 p.m.: L.A. Lakers (ESPN2)