What is the No. 1 thing Luigi Datome can step up to do to help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Shoot well enough to overcome his defense
Datome projects as a poor NBA defender, though he’ll obviously get a chance to prove otherwise. But he needn’t to be a great defender. He just must be passable if his shooting is as good as advertised. There’s room for a top 3-point shooter in the Pistons rotation, maybe even if he’s bad defensively. He just can’t be a complete liability on that end.
Shoot, shoot, shoot
Datome is already destined to be a fan favorite, whether he plays or not. The only question is whether he follows the mold of Walter Hermann, a fan-favorite whose personality, story and hair made him easy to root for even as he was glued to the bench or Jon Barry, a bench player whose personality and energy, mixed with his fearless ability to take and make three-pointers off the bench, excited the crowd every time he entered the game. The Pistons desperately need shooting. If Datome hits threes, he’s going to play. Simple as that.
Continue shooting well
The Italian forward will have an immediate chance to make an impact this season, as he and Kyle Singler will be the top two small forwards coming off the bench this season for the Pistons. In his last season in Italy, Datome shot 39.4 percent on 3-pointers. If he carries that shooting overseas to the Motor City, Datome will be very useful for a team that could use more scoring on the wing.
Make 40 percent of his 3-pointers
Datome’s job is simple: Let it fly from downtown. There isn’t a ton of mystery around why the Pistons lured him from Europe — he was one of the best 3-point shooters it had to offer. The Pistons bench is a bit of a question. In theory, the Pistons already have Singler as the small forward who can space the floor. If Singler struggles and Datome proves his worth as not only a shooter, but also as a defender, he could work his way into some legitimate playing time.
- Brady Fredericksen