The Detroit Pistons are your 2014 Orlando Professional Summer League’s sixth place finishers.
It’s nothing to cheer about, but the Pistons put together a successful showing in Orlando by summer-league standards. Too bad that doesn’t really mean anything in the longterm. It’s always nice to see the relative unknowns (see: Justin Harper) play well and it’s better to see the solidified players (see: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) look good.
But it’s a week of low-level basketball, and now the team will disperse — some players never to be heard from again. The Pistons have 16 players on roster right now, and the best thing some of these players could do this week was impress coach-GM-warlock Stan Van Gundy enough to earn an invite to preseason camp.
Let’s have fun with this. The Pistons brought 13 guys to Orlando — three of which had guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts — and chances are maybe only two or three of those other guys (and I’m counting partially guaranteed Peyton Siva) will have a shot at coming to training camp. So, who might be back for training camp?
Chances? 100 percent.
Caldwell-Pope shouldn’t even be featured in this discussion. Not only was he one of the three best players in Orlando this week, but he also showed rapid growth in his game. Instead of looking like he’d spun around in circles before playing, he looked poised, calm and like someone who’s spent a year in the NBA should look against the crop of has-beens and would-be players in summer league.
Chances? 76 percent.
You may be wondering why I’ve got Mitchell at 76 percent when he’s one of two players in Orlando with guaranteed deals, but the reason shouldn’t be too shocking — he just isn’t very good. Mitchell was easily the best athlete in Orlando, but he just isn’t a good player right now. He’s got potential, but he’s nowhere near it now. Friday he said his plan was to take 2-3 weeks off before getting back to working out and pushing for a rotation spot this season.
Chances? 72 percent.
Much like Caldwell-Pope, Siva looked like a someone who had experienced the speed of the NBA. He played at his own pace and did a good job creating looks for teammates — specifically on pick-and-pops with the bigs. A hamstring injury kept him out of action on Wednesday and Friday, so it’s still not a sure thing that his contract will be guaranteed by the July 20 deadline.
Brian Cook and Justin Harper
Chances? 47 percent.
I’m not sure there’s room for both of them, but among the shooting-centric forwards brought in this week, these two were by far the best. Cook has nine years of NBA experience and he’s played the role of floor-spacer before. The problem is he just doesn’t do enough. He can’t move anymore and he was awful off the dribble and mediocre as a rebounder. Harper on the other hand is younger and can do pretty much everything Cook can, plus some. It’ll be interesting because both had good weeks in Orlando and both played for Van Gundy in Orlando.
Chances? 43 percent.
The third player with a history playing for Van Gundy, I’ll have more on Liggins later this weekend. Here’s a quick preview — he’s gonna be on someone’s roster next year.
Chances? 11 percent.
Expectations were low for the former Florida State guard, but Miller was actually pretty solid. He was forced into big minutes after Siva’s injury, and with Markel Starks MIA, it was all Miller. Like a few of these guys, he could be playing in Grand Rapids for the D-League team this season.
Chances? 2 percent.
Well, first this happened. Outside of that baptism, Ohlbrecht was the long big man who wasn’t brought in to shoot jumpers. He did a decent job rebounding and scoring around the basket, but that may be the one area where the Pistons are set. He’s another D-League candidate with experience, and could land in Grand Rapids, too.
Tristan Spurlock, Jordan Heath, Christian Watford, David Lighty and Damion James
Chances? Zero percent.
From what I heard around the gym — and saw in warmups — Spurlock can give Mitchell a run for his money when it comes to pure athleticism. He can fly, but he rarely saw the floor in Orlando. Same goes for Heath, a stretch four who just apparently wasn’t as stretchy enough to play over some of the other similar forwards on the roster. One of those forwards was Watford, who was aggressively ineffective. James and Lighty, two college stars, played alright, but probably not well enough to get a camp invite.