The Detroit Pistons signed big man Dont Hall to a second 10-day contract. He has the chance to show that he could be a long term fit.
Donta Hall signed his first 10-day contract with the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 22 and has already played in three games for a total of 41 minutes. That contract was the first opportunity for him to get on an NBA roster after going undrafted in the 2019 draft.
Clearly, the Pistons decided that he deserves more of a chance to show what he can offer. Early signs in Summer League and the G-League were very promising and he is quickly showing how he can impact the game at the next level.
Hall is a 6’9″ center, slightly undersized but with length and athletic ability that can create serious problems on both ends of the floor. He fits the archetype of the shot-blocking, rim running big man but he’s also pretty agile.
In the modern NBA, where big men get benched for not being able to stay in front of skilled guards, lateral mobility is pretty important. A center has to not only protect the rim but to move his feet and cover ground quickly to get out to shooters.
In Hall, the Pistons have a low-cost opportunity to find that player through internal development. Despite the fact that at 22 years old he’s still pretty raw, his physical tools and instincts indicate that he has a high upside and the Pistons can help him get there.
In the clip below, he recognizes Murray’s drive early enough to beat him to the spot and elevate vertically. He doesn’t try to block the ball. He just uses his length to form a wall between the ball and the rim.
Hall averaged 3.2 blocks and a steal per 40 minutes in college, showing that he can disrupt a lot of possessions with his length and most importantly his hustle. His motor is one of the best things about him.
He runs the floor hard, he is always ready to contest someone at the rim and he crashes the glass. He averaged 12.1 total rebounds per 40 minutes in college and had rebounding percentages of 22.1 and 11.4 on defense and offense respectively.
Those rebounding numbers got even better in the G-League.
His level of activity on both ends of the floor is extremely high and that’s something that coach Dwane Casey can really work with. He’s willing to do all the little things and doesn’t expect touches. Watch how he gets himself into position to get a hand on the ball and tap it to himself.
In that clip, he shows how wide of a reaching range he’s got. Even more impressive is the fact that he made two kick-outs on the same play, right on the money for an open shot. And he managed that with high recognition and quick decision making.
Hall’s assist numbers, so far, haven’t been impressive at all but that’s an area of improvement that could hugely affect his impact on the offense. He was never one to take too many shots anyway, so developing his passing could fit his game perfectly.
In fact, he attempted only 8.6 field goals per 40 minutes on average in college and 11.5 per 36 minutes in the G-League. He plays within himself and that’s how he manages to stay so efficient.
In college, he made 66.1 percent of his shots and in the G-League that percentage rose to 66.7 even though he started testing his range.
More specifically, he shot a staggering 70.1 percent on two-pointers, 26.9 percent on a low number of threes and 75.6 percent from the free-throw line.
That last number is particularly impressive considering where it was not so long ago. Hall made 43.2 percent of his free throws in his freshman year, 60 percent his sophomore year, 55.6 percent his junior year and 71.8 his senior year while also raising his attempts each year.
That steady improvement shows that while he was very raw getting into college, he’s come a long way. That improvement could and should also continue under the Pistons’ wings.
At 22 years old, he’s still young enough that they can bet on his development and mold him into a modern NBA big man at a low cost.
On defense, he fits Casey’s drop-heavy system perfectly. I really like his anticipation and ability to move his feet against guards’ crossovers and hesitation moves. He gets really low in his stance and can shift directions pretty quickly.
In that instance, it would have been better to force Buddy Hield towards the baseline. A better understanding of positioning and angles can help him get to that level. Still, his lateral mobility on that play is pretty impressive for a guy with his length.
He gets out and guards up to the three-point line, anticipates the move, shifts direction, stays chest to shoulder with the driver and contests from the side. It could be better but there’s a lot there to work with.
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Actually, Hall has made quite a few great contests at the rim for the Pistons already. In drop coverage, he’s shown an adequate understanding of positioning and following the rules. Way better than what Christian Wood and Thon Maker showed at the start of the season.
That’s not a high bar but when you look at the progress those two have made throughout the season, it’s not hard to imagine how good Hall could be if he got some NBA experience and a whole summer to further improve.
On offense, Hall has shown a tremendous ability to dive to the rim, catch all kinds of passes and finish efficiently. He’s a fast sprinter in transition, an agile roll man that can find his way behind the defense and a great leaper that can catch all kind of lobs.
Generally, he has great hands to catch all balls coming his way and always finishes hard towards the rim. However, he also shows flashes of a soft touch, which should be further explored as part of his development.
Hall is neither skinny nor strong like an ox. He’ll definitely need to add some muscle to be better equipped when handling NBA contact but he should find the right balance between strength and agility.
If he manages to do that while also getting a greater understanding of defensive concepts he should develop into a high impact defender in the NBA. Combine that with his high level of activity and unselfishness and you’ve got the type of role player you need at the center position.
Any further development on offense, as in passing and finishing raises his ceiling even more, possibly to a starter-level role player.
Adding range to his game, which should take longer if ever, could be the cherry on top of the cake that propels into a high-end role player on a playoff team.
Of course, that doesn’t mean this will all happen. It means that there are some potential high-end outcomes in Hall’s future. At this stage of the rebuild, the Pistons have to look at those kinds of players that are underrated, underdeveloped and have the potential to be real pieces in the future.
Giving an opportunity to those players and meticulously developing their game is critical. So, if Donta Hall deserves a spot on next year’s roster, the Pistons should fully explore that option.
That’s why this second 10-day contract was the right thing to do and that’s why the Pistons have to find a way to give an opportunity to even more high upside prospects in the future.