Will Bynum has been playing like his job depends on it so far this preseason. Even though he just signed a new two-year contract with the Detroit Pistons this offseason, his job very well could be on the line.
The Pistons have something they haven’t been used to the past few seasons, and that is an abundance of talent at the guard positions. While they probably can’t flaunt one of the top backcourts in the league, they have finally packed their bench with a host of more-than-capable ball handlers.
Chauncey Billups and Brandon Jennings will see the lion’s share of minutes, and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who has even seen a few minutes running the offense this preseason, is expected to become a regular piece of the rotation. Rodney Stuckey, though recently injured, also seems to have won over the affection of his new head coach, Maurice Cheeks. Mathematically, this doesn’t leave much of a place for Bynum.
Due to injuries and despite not being 100 percent healthy himself, Bynum hardly saw any rest against the Miami Heat last week as he played all but two minutes of the game. He battled through the heavy dose of minutes to the tune of 26 points, six assists and four rebounds. He also played a solid 26 minutes against the Brooklyn Nets this past Saturday, dishing out 11 assists and adding six points of his own. He’s shot the ball very well too, going a total of 14-for-21 from the field and 1-for-3 from beyond the arc so far this preseason.
However, despite his 17 assists in two games, Bynum hasn’t necessarily taken care of the ball. He has a total of eight turnovers so far. While the preseason isn’t known for highly efficient play, only second-round draft pick Peyton Siva, who committed five turnovers in just 15 minutes of playing time against the Nets, can trump Bynum’s 4.0 turnovers per game average for the highest on the Pistons’ roster.
Bynum has been in and out of the rotation frequently over the years, and he seems to have split the Detroit Pistons’ fan base with both passionate supporters as well as criticizing detractors. He has been inconsistent with his play, but he always seems to step up his game just when you are ready to write him off.
With so many point guards on the roster, though, Bynum has very little margin for error this preseason. If he wants to see meaningful minutes and crack the Pistons’ rotation when the regular season finally tips off, he will need to take advantage of each and every minute he sees during preseason play. That means he will need to decrease the amount of turnovers he commits regardless of how many assists he dishes out or points he scores. If he can’t hang on to the ball, he’ll find himself hanging on to the bench more often than not this season.