After an 18-point, 16-rebound, three-block, three-steals game by Isaiah Stewart, Dwane Casey said what he’s been saying about him for three months now: “He’s just scratching the surface of what he’s going to be in this league.”
Which begs the question: What type of production is Isaiah Stewart going to turn in once the surface has been sufficiently penetrated?
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s easy to dream on Stewart maintaining his 43 percent 3-point shooting once he starts taking three or four a game, on what happens once he’s more comfortable putting the ball on the deck from the elbows and using his strength and quickness to barge to the rim or find cutters, on the impact he’ll have defensively once he’s done a few more laps around the league and had a real off-season to sharpen his raw tools for the role he sees for his future.
What he can become is one thing, but what he is right now is pretty amazing … unless you’re Isaiah Stewart. Anything about his success that surprises the 19-year-old?
“No, because I put the work in,” he said Tuesday, coming off a three-game run averaging 17.3 points and 16.3 rebounds. “I do the extra things, take the time to watch film, watch every game and make notes and see where I can always grow. I put in the work after practice or the off day, working on my game.”
Remember all the knitted brows when the Pistons used the 16th pick on … a center? Except it turns out Troy Weaver didn’t draft a center so much as he drafted Isaiah Stewart, and calling him a center is sort of like calling Michelangelo a painter. It’s not wrong, necessarily, but it doesn’t begin to tell the story.
It didn’t take long for others to see some of what Weaver liked about Stewart once the season began in December, but the first-year Pistons general manager saw more than raw energy and toughness when he looked at the teenager who spent a year at Washington playing in a zone defense.