'It's a great mix': Pistons' veterans join forces to ease rookies through NBA rigors
Each season, there might be one or two rookies on a team, taken in the first or second round of the draft. Those picks, along with a couple of free agents or G League players, can round out the roster. In training camp, the rookies can feel alone and isolated, trying to find their way in their first few days of the NBA.
The Pistons are a different case. After a series of trades, they ended up with three first-round picks, which they used on Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey, along with adding Saben Lee in the second round.
With so many new pieces from the draft, they can easily develop a bond with each other and instead of feeling isolated, they can talk and share notes. Because they’re all at different positions, they don’t have to worry about competing with each other for playing time; instead, they can help build each other.
“It's good being able to talk to each other; our team in general is just a different team. Having a bunch of new guys and new rookies, we're all trying to learn how to play basketball and how to play for each other,” Bey said Monday via teleconference. “It's good being able to approach each other, learn how we can get better and be able to talk to our great vets and be able to learn from them, so it's a great mix.”
Hayes notably has been working also with Derrick Rose as his mentor and Bey spent some time in Los Angeles working with Blake Griffin to help them both get acclimated more quickly to the NBA. It’s a move that’s paying off, as each looks to be more comfortable in the opening days of camp.
Having the same agency representing them, Bey was able to get in touch with Griffin and when he got the invitation to go to L.A., he wasn’t about to turn down the opportunity to work with Griffin.
“It was a blessing. I knew him before the draft so. It was just a blessing how everything ended up and blessed enough to even play for this team,” Bey said. “Afterwards, we continued to talk and he said that I could come and work out with him in L.A. and he thought it would be good for the camaraderie to be able to do that.”
For Stewart, it’s been good to have three comrades to work through the nerves and to just have someone who’s going through the same things he’s going through.
“There are four of us and we all talk to each other and hang with each other and bounce our thoughts off each other, so that's definitely been great,” Stewart said.