The Pistons finished their stint in the Las Vegas Summer League with a 4-1 record (which doesn’t matter in the slightest). But here’s what we learned about the key players who participated in the summer league:
My biggest worry about Austin Daye’s NBA potential stems from his terrible combine performance. He was the weakest and one of the slowest and least agile players there. I didn’t think he had the athleticism to compete in the NBA.
Daye had trouble reeling in rebounds in traffic in Las Vegas, according to Vince Ellis of the Free Press. That’s expected. Daye will be a worse rebounder than most players with his size and wingspan.
But it’s very encouraging he still pulled in 8.8 rebounds per game.
And I didn’t think he would have the physical ability to defend well. But his long arms were very effective at disrupting passing lanes, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Everyone knew Daye could shoot. But he also impressed TrueHoop’s Kevin Arnovitz with his ability to run the pick-and-roll, drive to the basket and post up small forwards. He’s also a good passer, according to ESPN’s David Thorpe.
I’m a lot more encouraged about Daye than I was when Detroit drafted him. I’m still not sure if he’ll be ready to contribute regularly this year. But I’d no longer be surprised if it happened.
The consensus is Summers is the most NBA-ready of Detroit’s three rookies.
He showed a polished offensive game in Vegas. He scored outside and inside. He hit jumpers and drove to the basket.
And maybe Arnovitz uncovered why Summers looks so good on offense. Summers knows how to move without the ball and create shot opportunities.
Summers is the favorite to back up Tayshaun Prince – even if his defense isn’t quite as good as desired.
Although he was billed as a forward when he was drafted, he played center most of the summer league. Darrell Walker compared him David Lee.
Is that just wishful thinking? The Pistons obviously could use another center.
The number suggest he became more comfortable at the five. His scoring and rebounding trended up as the league went on. And his fouls went down.
He also had a fairly high number of steals. Maybe he can keep centers off guard with quick hands. But is he strong enough at 235 pounds to stop anyone if he doesn’t get the steal?
I doubt Jerebko ever gets regular minutes at center in the NBA. But that probably means he won’t play much this year.
It seemed likely Washington would make the team anyway, but Detroit trading Arron Afflalo basically assures him a spot.
Washington has amazing athleticism, so he should be a good defender. And he seems to have a knack for making hustle plays.
But he has no offensive game. He doesn’t shoot well from the outside, and he’s not a good ball-handler.
With his athleticism, I’d hope he can drive and draw contact. But he shot just 38 percent from the free-throw line. He was just a 61-percent shooter at Virginia Tech, too.
Most of his offensive production is going to come with put-backs.
But I think he’ll be a good addition to the team. Detroit lacked hustle and defense last year. Washington will help set the right tone and push the veterans.
Third point guard
The Pistons were hoping to find their third point guard in Las Vegas, but nobody really stood out.
Andre Owens had 16 assists and just two turnovers in 64 minutes. But he didn’t make a shot.
Look at Detroit’s point guards under Joe Dumars – Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey and Chucky Atkins. Dumars hasn’t gone for pure distributors. He wants guys who can score.
Owens may have earned a training camp invite with his passing and ball control. But there’s a good chance it won’t be with the Pistons.
Singletary’s numbers are solid, but unspectacular across the board.
Jeremy Pargo is the most talented of the three, according to Ellis. But he was a late addition to the roster, suggesting the Pistons weren’t as interested him . Maybe Pargo won them over with his play, though.
Owens and Singletary have NBA experience. Pargo is just a rookie.
But he’s my bet to make the team. Dumars has shown a preference for younger, more athletic players this offseason.
Plaisted, who Detroit picked in the second round last year, was injured after two games in Italy last season, according to Ellis. Ellis writes he’s likely to go overseas for a second season.
His playing time went down as the league went on, suggesting Detroit knew he had no chance of making the team this year. No need to spend too much time evaluating him.
He averaged more fouls (3.4) than points (3.0) or rebounds (2.8). He has a long way to go to ever make the NBA.