The two-way wing has impressed head coach Monty Williams
The Detroit Pistons are getting harder to watch with every game added to this now-12-game losing streak. Luckily, if you look closely enough, a new positive shows up about as often.
This time around, it’s two-way wing Stanley Umude catching the eyes of head coach Monty Williams, prompting me to take a closer look at his performance as well.
Monty Williams on what he can take away from a game tonight: “I thought Stan had the toughness and grit Pistons basketball is know for. I thought Wise gave us good minutes. When you’re down as many guys as we are, (you have to compete at a high level) to have a chance.”
— James L. Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) November 19, 2023
Offensively, Umude hasn’t offered a ton aside from solid team connectivity and the occasional foul drawn on a shot, but that connectivity cannot be understated, especially when playing for Williams.
He understands positioning on that end in a way that not all Pistons do, running down the floor to the corner and moving up to the wing when necessary to keep the defense on its toes.
Umude also brings passing with oftentimes better timing than many of the actual distributors on the team, able to lead cutters with bounce passes. As a driver, he’s craft enough with his body to neutralize defenses, contorting his body when necessary.
Impressively, he’s started the season by shooting 57.9% from three, but it’s on a sample size of just 21 attempts, so not nearly enough to say confidently that he’s a good shooter. He’s 6-for-8 at the rim as well, so it’s been an efficient experience thus far for Umude in Detroit.
Defensively, it’s more of the same. he’s someone who’s always in the right spots and working hard, never someone that can be exploited.
With respect to Cade Cunningham and Isaiah Stewart and their efforts to lead this team, they cannot afford to make some of the mistakes they’re making. Too frequently, it’s silly problems like falling asleep on defense or ill-advised fouls. This is not the example Williams wants from his leaders.
Plus, Cunningham continues to be a slower decision-maker, often making a pass a step or two too late, which can lead to bad turnovers. And Stewart cannot fall into the trap of a technical foul — however soft it may be — after hitting a three to cut Toronto’s lead to 15 in the second quarter.
Both have been less than outstanding at the rim as well. Per Synergy, Cunningham is shooting just 48.1% there, earning a “poor” designation in the 12th percentile across the league while Stewart’s number is only a little better at 52.2%, which is in the 21st percentile.
Ausar Thompson, shooting 54.3% at the rim to be the best of the three in the 27th percentile, is prone to mistakes of his own.
On one particular occasion, Scottie Barnes exposed the fact that Thompson’s handle struggles when faced with even a little ball pressure. That’s something he has to shore up if he’s going to reach the star outcomes that I alluded to a week ago.
As the college, G League and international seasons continue to unfold, you’ll start to see more draft content from me.
I’m happy to take suggestions on who DBB readers would like me to break down; have already added UConn’s Donovan Clingan and Baylor’s Ja’Kobe Walter to the list after user Guaransheed suggested them last week.