A delightfully bad losing season for the Detroit Pistons took a dark turn on Wednesday morning as prized rookie Killian Hayes is out for an extended period.
For a fan base that was satisfied with the new direction and excited to watch the young kids grow, it was the first real stomach punch of the new season.
As a fringe member of the Pistons media, as well as a lifelong fan, I have a unique lens of following this NBA team through what should sometimes be a choppy rebuild, as they all are.
We’ll regularly be telling the story of the Pistons season through the lens of #PistonsTwitter, a group that’s hungry for some success and direction after more than a decade in the wilderness.
Here’s how Pistons Twitter is holding up this week.
Killian Hayes injury just about a worst-case scenario
As the No. 7 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the 19-year-old French point guard Hayes is likely the most important young player on the roster. He has struggled mightily early on, but just going through the bumps of NBA competition and finding his footing would’ve been a valuable place to start.
Now, sidelined for months and possibly the year with a labral tear in his hip, it appears Hayes will have a lost season.
Tough way for Pistons fans to wake up.
OMG just seeing the Killian Hayes injury update. This is so so bad. Ugh.
— Ben (@brgulker) January 6, 2021
Unfortunate news about Killian Hayes. Hope his recovery goes well and that he focuses on strength and conditioning. I think that was his biggest drawback. Needs to get stronger, and that will help his confidence and assist the shooting. Get well soon young king!
— #DetroitKoolAid (@DetroitKoolAid) January 6, 2021
The injury also reminded Pistons Twitter of a point guard curse that has been building around this franchise for a while.
Brandon Knight-Drafted by Pistons, tears ACL
Brandon Jennings-Traded to Pistons, ruptures Achilles
Reggie Jackson- Traded to Pistons, tore ligaments in ankle/knee tendinitis/back injury
Killian Hayes- Drafted by Pistons, labral tear in hip
— Ku (@KuKhahilNBA) January 6, 2021
Pistons Twitter: Team showing flashes of old Pistons DNA
There are many supporters of this wayward franchise who want the team to return to its blue-collar roots. A defense-first mentality looks a lot different in 2021 than it did in the Bad Boys or Goin’ To Work eras, but it still can be achieved.
New general manager Troy Weaver appears to have made progress here.
While the team entered Wednesday night’s game at Milwaukee with an NBA-worst 1-6 record, the early returns have been positive for the toughness and grit Detroit has demonstrated. Pistons Twitter seemed hopeful.
— Adam Lynch (@skinnypuppies) December 30, 2020
Isaiah Stewart getting it done in limited minutes pic.twitter.com/g0whHrQtPL
— Pistons Talk (@Pistons__Talk) January 2, 2021
There have also been strides made by some of the other young guys, including Sekou Doumbouya and Svi Mykhailiuk.
I really, truly, believe that Sekou has looked incredible whenever hes played so far this year.
— Joe Truck (@Joe_Truck) January 5, 2021
Jerami Grant stepping up on and off the court
Jerami Grant came over as a free agent from Denver looking for a bigger role in Detroit.
The Syracuse product has been fantastic, scoring 20 or more points in six straight games after a quiet opener.
For the first time in his career, too! https://t.co/1IOythbMx8
— Nicolas (@NicolasHenkel) January 3, 2021
Off the court, Grant spoke to James Edwards III of The Athletic for a story published (paywall) Wednesday about factoring in Black decision-makers when deciding on the Pistons.
He’s looking to make a difference and leave a legacy in a sport full of athletes trying to make their mark.
— PistonsProWrestlingFans (@ProPistons) January 6, 2021
Maybe the Pistons are even inspiring their fans a little. Maybe.
2020 sucked. But losing almost 50 pounds was pretty nice. Having confidence is pretty nice. Thank y’all for helping me get through this year. So happy basketball is back and we get to escape reality whenever our teams are playing. So cheers to 2021 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/zoCQfvlHMK
— New Year Eli (@EliBashiNBA) January 1, 2021