Each year, we do a themed preview series to ready for the season. This year’s theme is "Playoff Push."
What is the No. 1 thing Peyton Siva can step up to do to help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Obviously, there are more important things for Siva’s NBA career, but because this preview is focused on the Pistons making the playoffs this year, and I doubt Siva sees many minutes with Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Will Bynum and Rodney Stuckey ahead of him at point guard. But Siva, clearly a passionate player, can still have a positive impact if he shows the same enthusiasm while cheering from the bench. Too many times the last few years, the Pistons looked disinterested in a game. That wasn’t a huge problem when improving the team’s lottery odds was actually more beneficial than chasing an unrealistic playoff berth. Now that the postseason is in reach, every game matters much more, and Siva could help the playing Pistons get geared up.
Practice like a beast
If Siva plays meaningful minutes this season, it will likely mean the Pistons stated goal of making the playoffs was derailed somewhere. Any expectation that Siva contributes or even plays during games is misguided. Instead, he can help the team simply be being the defensive terror in practice that he was at Louisville. Harass and pressure the Detroit guards, particularly Jennings and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in practice, so much that any pressure they feel in games from other guards will be minimal. Then, perhaps by next season, he’ll be ready to challenge for the backup point guard position.
Be competent on offense
Siva was drafted to be the Pistons’ last guard off the bench late in the second round for this reason and this reason only: his defense. He has a small frame, but he was one of the best defensive guards in the country at Louisville. Siva will only see playing time on the Pistons this year when they’re in dire need of some defense, because he’s useless on offense. He’s not a great facilitator, and when you combine that with the fact that in his last season at Louisville he was a 40% shooter from the field, there really isn’t that much there on the offensive side of the ball. If he can work on his shot this year and become at least a competent offensive player, he could possibly see a lot of playing time.
Constantly bring energy
Chances are Siva won’t be seeing the court a whole lot for the Pistons this season. That’s probably a a good thing at this point, but Siva still has value to this team. He’s a shifty, quick point guard who can get to the rim and set up others. During practice, a guy who can slice up your defense is valuable, and that’s where he needs to bring that energy. Be valuable even if you’re not in games.