Detroit Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren values the advice he’s receiving from third-year player Isaiah Stewart. After all, both teammates play the same position and want to win together.
“It’s because we have the same goals,” Duren told James L. Edwards III of The Athletic. “We want to be the best players we can be, so the Pistons can be the best organization they can be.”
Based on a few NBA betting sites, the Pistons possess the seventh-lowest odds to win the 2023 NBA championship. Nonetheless, some oddsmakers are counting on a playoff appearance this season.
— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) October 22, 2022
“I’m a winner,” said Duren. “Isaiah is a winner. We all want to win. That’s my mindset, and I know that’s his mindset, too. It’s not a competition. We all just want to be great. He pushes me to be great. I try to do the same for him.”
Duren was selected 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2022 NBA Draft. However, his draft rights were traded to the New York Knicks and then to the Pistons.
For the rookie’s NBA debut, in the Pistons’ 113-109 win over the Orlando Magic, Duren finished with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 22 minutes of action. He shot 7-of-13 (53.8%) from the field.
Pistons rookie center Jalen Duren is grateful for Isaiah Stewart’s advice on and off the court
In Stewart’s 2022-23 season debut, he had 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals against the Magic. The center also shot 3-of-6 (50%) from the floor and 1-of-4 (25%) from 3-point range.
On Friday, in Detroit’s 130-106 loss against the Knicks, Duren ended his performance with 8 points, 10 rebounds, and 1 steal in 23 minutes off the bench. Stewart closed out his night with the same stat line.
“There aren’t too many guys stronger than Isaiah,” continued Duren. “Learning the physicality, by playing with Isaiah, it does get you ready for this level.”
“Like I said, people aren’t going to play as hard as him, or they’re not as strong as him and will keep it going like he does. It definitely got me prepared for these games because I’m like, ‘Yeah, ok. He’s not Isaiah Stewart.’”
There’s no doubting Stewart’s physical strength. Last November, in the Pistons’ 121-116 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James elbowed the center in the face, causing him to bleed near his right eye.
While Stewart is aiming to receive his first All-Star selection in his third season, Jalen Duren hopes to receive a rookie award or selection. The University of Memphis product turns 19 this November.