We don’t hear much about DaJuan Summers, the forward who’s spent two non-descript years at the end of the Pistons’ bench. But a pair of Detroit writers tweeted highly of him last night.
"I’d venture to say Summers and Greg Monroe were the two most mature #Pistons this season…"
"Agree with @vgoodwill comments on DaJuan and Monroe."
I know what you’re thinking, because I had the same thought. Well, Goodwill went a step further*:
"@Steward2778 actually that’s saying a lot. They’d be mature guys in veteran locker rooms too. Just no-nonsense guys in any environment"
*These tweets reflects well on John Thompson III, who coached Monroe and Summers at Georgetown.
This revelation makes me even more upset the Pistons didn’t trade Tayshaun Prince to the Mavericks at the trade deadline. Does Detroit have a reliable idea what it has in Summers? He enters free agency this summer without many NBA minutes under his belt and the Pistons unlikely to retain him.
With a renewed emphasis on high-character players, shouldn’t Summer get an extended look?
I don’t believe Summers is a complete unknown to the Pistons. They saw him in practice, and there must have been a reason he didn’t play ahead of Prince, Austin Daye and the other Pistons who saw time at small forward (Tracy McGrady and Richard Hamilton). It’s not like Detroit just randomly kept Summers on the bench.
But without seeing him play more meaningful minutes, the Pistons can’t completely evaluate Summers. Some players perform better in games than in practice, and although only the former actually counts, the latter is important for getting a chance at the former.
Summers’ situation with Detroit resembles Arron Afflalo’s. Afflalo played limited minutes backing up Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince before the Pistons traded him to the Nuggets. Denver made him a starter, and his career took off.
Summers isn’t necessarily on the same track, but at least one coach thinks he is. Goodwill:
"@WTFDetroit Summers has a good agent and has conducted himself professionally, one coach said his next stop is where he’ll put it together"
There are signs Summers won’t follow Afflalo’s path, though.
As Patrick has pointed out, the Pistons haven’t put out word about Summers working hard and asking the veterans for advice like they have with other young players. Maybe that’s just the Pistons failing to get the story out, or maybe Summers isn’t an especially hard worker. There’s a difference between maturity and work ethic, and maybe Summers has one but not the other.
So, I don’t have a firm opinion on whether the Pistons should re-sign Summers, but I’m not convinced they do, either. That’s a bigger problem for them than for me.
Either way, I have more respect for Summers after reading Goodwill’s and Ellis’ tweets. Best of luck to him wherever he plays next year, even if things never work out like we once hoped they would in Detroit.