Numerous players raised some eyebrows on Opening Day, but Andre Drummond was the star of Day 1.
The Pistons squared off against former head coach Lawrence Frank and the Brooklyn Nets to open their Summer League schedule. The Pistons sent out a starting lineup of Peyton Siva, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Khris Middleton, Tony Mitchell, and Andre Drummond.
Drummond got the party started early with an electric block that sent Nets power forward Jamal Hagins tumbling to the ground. Drummond would later have a tip-in dunk on the other end to start the game off for Detroit. The Pistons second year small forward Khris Middleton got the scoring started early for Detroit in the first quarter. He showed an increase in confidence as well as increased court awareness. Middleton found Detroit backup center Viacheslav Kravtsov multiple times for an easy basket either with the bounce pass or an alley-oop. Detroit won the first quarter 22-17, which awarded them a point in the new Summer League Playoff format.
It wasn’t all fun and games for Detroit though, the Nets made their push in the second quarter. They outscored Detroit 19-13 in the second, with strong play from their starting point guard Tyshawn Taylor. The Nets headed to the locker room with the slimmest of leads, with a 36-35 advantage at the break.
Drummond finished the first half with 5 blocks, one shy of the Orlando Summer League record. But Drummond didn’t stop there. he turned up his scoring in the second half, scoring 10 of his 12 points in the later parts of the game. The Pistons put the pedal to the metal in the second half as they won the third quarter 17-14, giving them a 52-50 lead heading into the final quarter.
The Pistons were sparked by free agent rookie point guard Korie Lucious in the third quarter with a barrage of threes. Lucious, scored all of his seven points within the last few minutes of the third.
Detroit finally pulled away in the fourth, as they outscored the Nets 24-17 in the final quarter, and went on to win by a score of 76-67. Andre Drummond played like a man among boys today, finishing with 12 points, 16 rebounds, 6 blocks (tied SL record), and 5 steals, in just over 25 minutes of play. This may be the only time Piston fans get to see Drummond in Orlando, as Andre is preparing to head off to Team USA Mini camp later this summer with Greg Monroe.
By winning three of the four quarters, and getting the win, the Pistons were awarded with 6 points. This ties them with the Utah Jazz for first place in Summer League play.
Other players also stood out for Detroit. English showed improved shooting touch from downtown , and rookie Tony Mitchell showed explosive leaping ability with some dynamic dunks and blocks. Kravtsov also played more under control than Piston fans are use too. Kravtsov finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 0 turnovers in the game.
One player that struggled mightily for the Pistons was lottery selection Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. KCP finished with only 4 points and was 1/10 from the field. He also could not get a shot to fall from outside the arc, he was 0/8 from deep, including several air balls. Although it wasn’t the start neither Piston fans or KCP expected, he did show decent defensive awareness.
The Pistons will face off next tomorrow, against the Celtics of Boston at 3:00 P.M. ET on NBA TV. Like always, make sure to check back here for the post-game wrap of tomorrows contest. Detroit moves to 1-0 with the win, and a step closer to an Orlando Summer League Championship.