The Detroit Pistons have assigned rookies Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League.
The Pistons were previously unlikely to send Mitchell to the D-League this season, according to Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press. Though their D-League strategy has frequently evolved, it seems the Pistons are hesitant to send down players who lack maturity. For them, Detroit prefers to keep them close to the parent club.
Was that the case with Mitchell? I don’t know. But reading between the lines, that the Pistons would have sent down Siva and not Mitchell – two rookies who haven’t played outside garbage time in more than two weeks – says there was, at least one point, a significant between the two.
Siva has been hailed for his character and work ethic. Mitchel’s effort and desire were frequently questions entering the draft, which is the only reason someone so talented fell to Detroit in the second round.
Again, I’m just guessing at the difference between the two that keyed Ellis’ report.
Here’s another guess: They’ll spend two or seven games in the D-League.
The Mad Ants have home games Saturday and Monday. That would allow Mitchell and Siva to make the most of their time in Fort Wayne, which is close enough that the Pistons can send someone to observe them. After Monday, the Pistons have five days off, a stretch that could feature valuable practice time for the the rookies. It might make sense to call them up just for that.
But if Mitchell and Siva stay with the Mad Ants longer, it could be until Jan. 11. That would give the pair seven games, six in nearby Fort Wayne, in that short stretch. After Jan. 11, the Pistons again have five days off – again, offering a possibility for valuable practice time.
The long-term benefits to the Pistons – quicker development with meaningful minutes, even in a lesser league – are obvious. The short-term implications are clear, too: The Pistons are finally healthy.
With their veterans available, Mitchell and Siva would be buried even further down the bench (or behind it, where the inactives sit). Instead, they’ll get on the court.