On Sunday night, the Pistons ended their season with a loss, locking in the third worst record in the NBA. On Monday, the team departed for the offseason and met with the media one last time before the summer.
Despite the ups and downs of a 23-59 season amid a rebuild, there’s still an overwhelming sense of optimism surrounding this team and the culture that’s been instilled in this organization. Many players will return on contract and the young guys got a ton of playing experience. The theme as the players head out: growth and potential.
“It's a big offseason for us,” said Jerami Grant. “We know what we can be. We have a ton of talent, but at the same time we have to put the work in. Next year will be better. We have to move forward in that direction.”
Jerami Grant credits experience and growth for when "something clicked" after All-Star break.— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) April 11, 2022
After year two, Grant says he still wants to work on several things about his own game, including his leadership.
Kelly Olynyk said that the Pistons had a “coming to Jesus” moment prior to the All-Star Break.
"That's who we are and who we thought we were,” said Olynyk. “Going forward, things are only going to look up."
Kelly Olynyk talking about the growth & strides taken from the young guys that became very apparent after All-Star break. Specifically: Saddiq, Livers, Cade, Killian, Stewart— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) April 11, 2022
"That's who we are and who we thought we were. Going forward, things are only going to look up."
When talking about the future, Cade Cunningham is obviously the biggest piece of that. And he couldn’t have left a better impression on his teammates in year one.
"He plays beyond his years,” said Cory Joseph. “He's already a star, but he's going to be a superstar."
Cory Joseph talks about how his role this season was one of leadership and emphasized ushering in the younger guys.— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) April 11, 2022
Joseph (with a laugh): I feel like the talent is there. We're a young team- I'm middle aged- but sometimes you need experience in this league to impact.
Frank Jackson said he was very impressed with Cade Cunningham this season and double checked that he's actually only 20 years old. In disbelief, Jackson said "he is a mutant."
Frank Jackson said this season was challenging both physically and mentally. He said he had never been injured that long & went through tremendous amounts of growth.— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) April 11, 2022
"It was one of my harder years. This league is tough. You have to work at it every day or you'll be left behind."
So considering all of the optimism felt after the season finale and the foundation of experience to build on, also consider that the Pistons will be adding yet another lottery pick. Detroit has the same chances this year… as they did in 2021 when they drew for Cade Cunningham. The NBA lottery draft is on May 17th.