Why was Braxton Key playing for the Detroit Pistons and not in the G-League?

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Braxton Key was playing for the Detroit Pistons against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night. The Motor City Cruise had a playoff game the same night. Even though Key is on a two-way deal, which is supposed to be for the best players in the G-League, Detroit preferred that he play in a meaningless NBA game. Why?

On April 8, two professional basketball games took place in Detroit. We had no advantage for the Detroit team if they won, in fact, they were better off if they lost. The other was the biggest game in franchise history.

For some reasons, Braxton Key played in the game that meant nothing.

Key, a 6-foot-8 forward and sometimes small ball center, has played well for the Pistons since signing a 10-day contract on March 24. So much so that Detroit gave up injured Chris Smith to make room to donate Key to a two-way contract.

After Friday’s game with the Bucks, Key is averaging 8.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in eight games for Detroit.

In no case do we knock on the key. The guy plays hard, plays hard and doesn’t back down, even when he’s had to guard much bigger players – the kind of player Detroit fans love. And it can do this:

Key is definitely a player who deserves to be on the Pistons roster next season. He will undoubtedly play for Detroit in the summer league.

The weird part is that a two-way contract means a player is affiliated with a team’s G-League team and has a limited number of days they can be in the NBA (although, with the pandemic causing shortages of players, this limit has been lifted in the last two years).

Still, Key was playing for the Pistons on Friday instead of Cruise in the G-League playoff against the Delaware Blue Coats. Cruise lost, 122-114, to end its season.

Ironically, Key played for the Blue Coats, averaging 18.9 points, before signing with Detroit. Key finished third in the G-League Defensive Player of the Year voting based on his play for Delaware.

It might have been nice for Key to play against his old team in a playoff game. But Key was at Little Caesars Arena to fight Giannis rather than Wayne State in a playoff match.

Detroit Pistons: So why wasn’t Braxton Key playing in the Motor City Cruise playoff game?

With any Pistons win at this point doing nothing but possibly damaging their draft position, there was no need for Detroit to pull out all the stops to win this game (which they didn’t win anyway). Key hasn’t played for Cruise since arriving in Detroit, but giving young players some confidence and extra game time in the G-League playoffs would seem like a higher priority, and Key might have be made a difference in this game. .

Yes, Key came here to play in the NBA, but it was a special situation. Luka Garza and Saben Lee have full contracts with the NBA and they were playing for the cruise.

So what can we read there? Probably good news for Key.

For Pistons coach Dwane Casey to put him in action against the defending NBA champions shows he has confidence in Key’s abilities, or at least wanted to watch him extensively against one of the elite teams. of the league.

Detroit is short on players but, heck, the Oklahoma City Thunder only played six players in their last game. If the Pistons organization wanted Key to be with the G-League team for one game, he would have been. at Wayne State.

Key is 25 so he’s not a veteran but also not a kid who needs seasoning. Even though his contract said he could be with the Cruise in the playoffs, the fact that he played exclusively with the Pistons means they probably have plans for him.

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