The Pistons have four former second round picks signed through next season. Despite the fact that fans of any team tend to take an optimistic view of their young talent, historically speaking, odds are not good that second round picks will materialize into reliable NBA rotation players. To varying degrees, all four of the Pistons current former second rounders have shown at least flashes (and more than flashes in a couple of cases) of being steady players who could have long careers. In my column for the Detroit Free Press today, I discussed what is fair to expect from Kyle Singler, Jonas Jerekbo, Kim English and Khris Middleton. Here’s my take on Jerebko:
Since he’s already on his second NBA contract, it’s strange to put Jerebko in this category. A second contract would seem to indicate a player is established. But does anyone have a good read on what Jerebko is at this point? Jerebko established himself early on as a rotation player through making hustle plays, defending, running the floor, crashing the offensive glass and moving well without the ball. But he also found himself out of the rotation last season when he became too aggressive offensively, over-dribbled, rushed shots and was a bit turnover prone. His perimeter shot also hasn’t developed as hoped, something that would truly make him a weapon combined with his athleticism, floor-running and rebounding capabilities.
One of those descriptions perfectly describes a key role player on a good team. The other describes a limited player overreaching because he’s being asked to do too much on a bad team. So whether Jerebko develops into a useful rotation player for the Pistons (a bigger Matt Barnes? a smaller Chris Andersen? … looks like Jerebko will need more tattoos either way) doesn’t depend so much on Jerebko, it depends on the talent the Pistons add to their roster in the offseason. If Jerebko is used in a capacity that allows him to run, jump, defend and make hustle plays with his boundless energy, he’ll be a productive member of the rotation next season. If he has to play too prominent a role simply because the Pistons have no one else, it’s likely his production will suffer.