The Pistons are undefeated! Detroit was behind almost the entire game, but kept the deficit in the six to 10 point range and really turned up the intensity with about three minutes remaining and went on a game-ending 13-0 run to sneak away with a victory, 89-84. (Box score here). I think this is a great sign for their upcoming season.
Just kidding, summer league games don’t mean anything. But the one thing they let you do is take a look at the latest draft pick or maybe a sleeper in the undrafted free agent class. Plus, there is added excitement for Pistons fans because Detroit has their first top-10 draft pick playing in the summer league since the player that should not be mentioned.
Truth is, though, Greg Monroe got pretty badly outplayed by a
character Caracter (as in the L.A. Lakers’ Derrick Caracter) who was drafted 51 picks after him.
Monroe played like a young, inexperience player. Trying to be too quick with everyting, especially in the post, and rushing every move instead of letting the game come to him. He also struggled converting near the rim and couldn’t get a couple put backs to go in.
And although his statline, 8 points on 4-13 shooting, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, 4 tournovers, was pedestrian, he did do a lot of things that impressed. That included fighting in traffic to grab some of his boards, and showing well on screens, although he sometimes struggled with his lack of lateral quickness to keep the L.A. point guards in front of him.
The most disappointing aspect about his inaugural game was his lack of physical presence. He didn’t use his size or strength to any sort of advantage, and he let himself get pushed around by some smaller players on occassion. All in all he had a mediocre first three quarters and then an absolute terrible fourth quarter when you could tell he was running on fumes. I’m surprised he didn’t pass out on his way to a fastbreak dunk he had at the end of the game.
The other Pistons draft pick, Terrico White, played quite well. But one wonders whether he is going to be the next Dajuan Summers or the next Jonas Jerebko. Remember, in last year’s summer league both Summers and Jerebko were two players fans were not excited about coming out of the draft, and both players played extremely well in the summer league. One player was able to keep that momentum throughout the entire season and eventually played himself into the regular rotation. The other player got to be in a Color Tyme commercial.
White played under control for the most part and had a much stronger offensive game than I had anticipated. He didn’t rely soely on his athleticism to slash to the bucket, but instead used his strength and speed to create enough space to pull up for nice mid-range jumpers or force a defender to come help on defense and then White would dish it off to a teammate for a good open look. He only had three assists, but he didn’t look lost running the offense.
The other top Pistons player, and I would argue the best player on the floor, was Austin Daye. I’ve always loved Daye’s offensive game because he seems to be able to use his myriad skills in smart ways to score efficiently.
Against the Lakers, Daye had 21 points, a team-high six rebounds and two steals. He also intiated the offense quite a bit and played good defense, compensating for his lack of bulk by using his length smartly. The comparisons to Tayshaun Prince seem more apt every day.
Next up for the Pistons are the Golden State Warriors. Tip off is at 8 p.m. and you can watch the game online for just $15 bucks at NBA.com. I look forward to Monroe badly outplaying the player the Warriors selected instead of Monroe, Ekpe Udoh.