Here’s a look at how some of the Pistons’ key Summer League players have performed in their two games:
Summers has been Detroit’s best player (for full stats see below). I didn’t see either game, but here’s some analysis from those who did.
Summers executes that inside-out game with smarts. He recognizes mismatches in the halfcourt. Against a slower defender, he drives to the hole. Faced up against a shorter guy, he’ll get separation and launch a jumper.
He hit the Kings with an assortment of midrange jumpers and quick moves to the basket. Jason Thompson, the Kings’ first-round pick from 2008, was at the receiving end of many moves.
Although he’s bulky, the 6-11 Thompson was no match for Summers.
Thompson was victimized by several jab steps that left him flat-footed. Summers would either shoot the jumper or get to the basket.
And not only can he score, he banged inside for seven rebounds — displaying his ability to play small forward and power forward.
"It’s a luxury to have a guy that can play both positions," (Pistons assistant Darrell) Walker said. "Some nights he can play the four, and he is definitely a three. What he brings is another shooting big that can shoot the basketball."
He also defended Kings power players (Jason Thompson and Jon Brockman) and smaller players (Donte Green and Marcus Landry) with equal success.
Summers was by far the best player on the court. He played on the perimeter and in the paint. He distributed the ball. He committed one turnover and stuck his hand to deflect passes. Georgetown players generally make solid NBA players because of their all-around skills and Summers resembles Oklahoma City forward Jeff Green.
Austin Daye has been playmaker extraordinaire for Detroit. On the Pistons’ first possession Saturday, he whipped a sharp pass from the perimeter to Trent Plaisted underneath for an easy two. On his team’s second sequence, he took his man straight off the dribble to the rack for a layup. A minute later, on a pop-out, Daye nailed a silky 3-pointer. A few possessions later, he flew in from the weak side for an offensive rebound and a vicious putback slam. And that was only the first eight minutes. For all the talk about Daye lacking an NBA body, it’s hard not to draw the comparison to another lanky, versatile Pistons small forward who’s done well for himself in the league.
Darrell Walker, Pistons Summer League coach, wanted to put rookie Austin Daye into some situations that he might not have experienced much while at Gonzaga.
He wanted to put Daye in pick-and-roll situations where Daye was the ball-handler and decision-maker. He wanted Daye to initiate the offense some, similar to the way Tayshaun Prince occasionally does from the small forward position. He wanted to test Daye’s defense, matching him up with Raptors first-round draft pick DeMar DeRozen.
Mostly, he wanted to test the slender rookie’s endurance.
By all measures, Daye passed.
As for Daye’s defense, DeRozen produced 20 points, but Daye kept him in front of him most of the game. DeRozen had to take 20 shots (making nine) to get his 20 points.
Also, be sure to check out Daye’s chat with the Free Press at 6 p.m. today.
Washington seems to have a legitimate shot at making the roster. And his play in Las Vegas has been solid. From Ellis:
The athleticism has always been there, and Washington was an NBA-ready defender last summer. But on offense, he showed that his season in Israel helped and he is making the leap from being a great athlete to a good basketball player.
"His decision-making has become better. I think he doesn’t force as many things as before he went over there. He takes his time a little bit more. He doesn’t rush things and doesn’t force himself into bad situations. I think that’s where he benefitted the most."
With Washington’s athleticism and shaky jumper, a lot of his offensive production will have to come at the free throw line. But he’s only shot 4-of-14 from the line in Las Vegas.
And that’s not much of an anomaly. He shot just 61 percent at Virginia Tech.
The 6-foot-10 Jerebko had been billed as a combo forward. But the Pistons have been playing him at center a lot in Las Vegas. Are they short on big men or trying to convert Jerebko?
"I just want to get him some minutes," Walker said. "He’s a four-five (power forward-center) more than a three-four (small forward-power forward) as far as I’m concerned. I just want to put him out there and he’s played well.
"He can run and obviously he can finish. He reminds me of (New York Knicks forward) David Lee a little bit."
"I’ve never done it before (play center), so it’s a new experience," Jerebko said. "It’s physical but I like it. I don’t like to play the five, but to get minutes, I will do it."
His numbers have been lackluster. But the Pistons are desperate to add a center. Maybe they luck out, and Jerebko can fill the void.
Third point guard
Sean Singletary and Andre Owens are competing to be the third point guard come fall. If they continue to play how they have, it will come down to taste.
Owens has 13-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, but he hasn’t made a single shot. He has two more steals and four more rebounds than Singletary.
Singletary is 4-for-6 and averaging 6.5 points. His 7-to-4 assist-to-turnover ratio isn’t bad, either.