The Detroit Pistons are mired in a bit of a slump as we reach the halfway point of the 2017-18 NBA season. Losers of six of their last nine games, Motown has fallen to 22-20 and are barely hanging on to the eighth and final playoff spot. Injuries have plagued this team basically all season, and with Reggie Jackson out until February, some of the young pups need to step up. But Stanely Johnson is out with a hip flexor, Luke Kennard is out with a thumb injury which occurred Monday against the Charlotte Hornets, and Bradley is still feeling the effects of his groin injury.
Enter two-way contract players Reggie Hearn and Kahil “Kay” Felder.
Felder, if you do not know, is a local product out of Detroit Pershing High School, who became the Horizon Leagues all-time assist leader during his three years at Oakland University. And while his height stayed at 5-foot-9, his numbers on the court grew exponentially from his freshman to his junior year, going from 9.5 points per game and 6.4 assists per game in year one, to 24.4 ppg and 9.3 apg in year three. Not unlike Isaiah Thomas (not Zeke), Felder has the ability to play much larger than his stature.
He spent his rookie season split between riding the pine in Cleveland and running amuck in the NBA G League, dropping just under 30 ppg in the latter. This season has seen him bounce from the Chicago Bulls to the Windy City Bulls (G League), to the Grand Rapids Drive (G League), to the Detroit Pistons.
Hearn, a 26-year-old 6-foot-5 defensive-minded guard, graduated from Northwestern in 2013 and after beginning his career as a walk-on, he went from bench-warmer in his first two years, to starting every game his junior and senior season. He has spent the last four years bouncing around the NBA D-League-turned-G-League.
Both Felder and Hearn signed a two-way contract, a relatively new concept that allows players to be in the NBA for 45 days, earning pay from the parent club (Detroit Pistons) while with them, and still earn their G-league pay (Grand Rapids Drive) while with them. And while neither are expected to be the savior of the Pistons, the hope is these two can light the spark and help Detroit get back to their winning ways until the team is completely healthy, or until a major trade takes place. Their first test is Wednesday, and it's a big one, at Toronto, where the Raptors are 15-3 at home.