Former Michigan Wolverines standout Isaiah Livers played in his second NBA game Sunday night, scoring six quick points off the bench in 13 quality minutes in the Pistons win.
Livers hasn’t gotten a chance to play much this year, as he was recovering from a foot injury he sustained at Michigan. When he has been healthy, he’s been buried on the depth chart and has spent some time with the Motor City Cruise, Detroit’s G League team.
With forward Marvin Bagley III out on Sunday with a sprained ankle, Livers got a chance to play at the 4 and made the most of it. He’d likely play the 3 or the 4 for the majority of his time in the NBA, putting him behind several guys on the depth chart.
Despite what has become a crowded frontcourt, we’ll likely see more of Livers this season, as Dwane Casey said recently the Pistons want to play him down the stretch to assess his future role with the team.
Casey said the Pistons want to get a look at Isaiah Livers down the stretch. Livers has missed most of the season with a foot injury. "He's a guy we want to look at and evaluate, see how he fits in."— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) February 23, 2022
Livers can be a vital part of the Piston’s future. They are in grave need of three-point shooting — they’re the second-worst team in the league in three-point field goal percentage — and Livers can provide that marksmanship off the bench.
There will be plenty of open threes to be had playing with a playmaker like Cade Cunningham. He is also an excellent communicator and can guard multiple positions, helping the Pistons remain flexible on the other side of the floor.
He was named to the All-Big Ten team last year as Michigan’s second-leading score with 13.1 points per game to go along with 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists and leading the Wolverines in three-point percentage (43.1% on 5.0 attempts per game). While his injury sidelined him for the NCAA Tournament, he was a proven leader and a big reason why the Wolverines earned the Big Ten regular season title with a 14-3 record (23-5 overall).
Michigan fans know Livers can be much more than a 3-and-D guy in the pros. He proved in Ann Arbor he’s a multi-level scorer who excels in transition, and it helps he can read a defense like a book and heat up in a hurry to swing the momentum for his team.
His NBA career has gotten off to a slow start, but it’s intriguing to see how his role expands with the Pistons. In terms of his floor, he can at least be a depth piece at the wing spot who could play stretch-4 in a pinch. Once he gets more time to adjust to NBA speed, it should be interesting to see how his role in Detroit grows over the next few seasons.