The Detroit Pistons had a multitude of problems throughout the 2018-19 season. A season full of sporadic winning streaks and horrible skids led the Pistons to a mediocre 41-41 record and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The probable league MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks trounced the Pistons in four games to end their season.
Leading into the offseason, the question was: how do the Pistons improve from here? A cap-tied core of Blake Griffin — $34 million per year — and Andre Drummond — $27 million per year — leaves the squad in a tough spot.
However, perhaps the most glaring problem with the Detroit Pistons was the bench, the depth and the countless question marks surrounding the rotation. This was exposed to the max in the playoff series against the Bucks.
Head coach Dwane Casey had a decent amount of wings to throw on the floor in Luke Kennard, Wayne Ellington, Langston Galloway and Bruce Brown. But the consistency in minutes was nowhere to be found.
Now, with Ellington almost certainly out the door and patience running thin with Galloway, the Pistons have minutes up for grabs at the shooting guard and small forward positions.
Insert the No. 15 overall draft pick Sekou Doumbouya, an athletic wing from France. At only 18 years old and measuring in at 6-foot-9 and 231 pounds, he also has a plus 7-foot wingspan, an asset that is especially attractive in today’s league.
“Defense first,” Doumbouya said of his skillset. “Defense, my fast breaks and my motor.”
That’s music to Pistons fans’ ears. When guarding the likes of stars such as Antetokounmpo, LeBron James, Paul George and 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, length is a necessity.
Thank you @DetroitPistons #OnlyTheBeginning pic.twitter.com/DfwN9rLtqT
— Sekou Doumbouya (@sekou_doums) June 21, 2019
Doumbouya has the physical tools, which has garnered some comparisons to breakout Toronto Raptors star Pascal Siakam of Cameroon.
“His game needs to be tightened in a lot of areas, but he’s got numerous tools which is very exciting,” Pistons interim general manager Ed Stefanski said of his selection. With time undeniably on the young Doumbouya’s side, Casey will look to develop him just as he helped develop Siakam as the Raptors’ ex-head coach.
It’s unclear if Doumbouya will be in the starting lineup in 2019-20. Although, it’s a sure thing he’ll be in the mix. The selection allows the Pistons to commit to Kennard and Brown at shooting guard, and with Griffin at power forward, Doumbouya seems like a great Pistons fit at small forward.
A hypothetical starting five of scoring guard Reggie Jackson, sharpshooter Kennard, the long athletic Doumbouya, all-around superstar Griffin and rebounding demon Drummond could be something for Pistons fans to look forward to.
We just may see this five starting games for Detroit by the end of the 2019-20 season. If nothing else, Casey will thoroughly enjoy the diverse gameplan that his new squad can bring to the table with all their bases covered.
Trent Balley is a sophomore at Michigan State and Impact Sports’ lead Detroit Sport’s writer. You can follow him on Twitter @TBAL91 to keep up with his stories on everything Lions, Pistons, Tigers and Red Wings.