On an 18-player roster, Jamorko Pickett might have been the least known member of the Detroit Pistons summer league team. But, after scoring 18 points in a win over the New York Knicks, he might have a future with the team.
Detroit started the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, the No. 7 overall pick of last year’s draft, the National College Player of the Year and a member of the USA Select team, but it was the undrafted rookie free agent out of Georgetown who led the Pistons to a big, early lead.
When the Pistons took the floor for their third NBA Summer League, there were two changes in the starting lineup from the previous contests. Sekou Doumbouya has left the team to tend to a personal matter and Tyler Cook was not going to play this game.
Luka Garza took the place of Cook at center. His strong play off the bench had been impressive to many. But the other new starter was a bit of a mystery to most fans:
Who had Jamorko Pickett helping lead the Pistons to their first victory?
If you look at the official Pistons twitter account, in announcing the starting lineup, they did not have a standard shot of Pickett to use, they had to reconfigure an action picture.
Pickett had played a total of 17 minutes, going 1-for-3 from the field, in the two previous games. Nothing to make him stand out.
But the 6-foot-9, 208-pound Georgetown product quickly stood out against the Knicks. He poured in 13 points in just the first quarter, going 5-for-5 from the field, including three three-pointers.
Detroit held a 25-13 lead at the end of the first period and never trailed (things got a bit tight at the end, but that was on the guards, not Pickett) in a 93-87 victory, for its first win of the summer league.
Pickett finished with 18 points, going a perfect 4-for-4 on three-pointers. He also was a +13, only Cade Cunningham and Saddiq Bey had a better plus/minus.
So who the heck is Jamorko Pickett?
Pickett played four years at Georgetown. In his senior year, the 6-9 forward averaged 12.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists. He had a nice, shooting touch, hitting 37.3 percent of his three pointers and 82.5% of his free throws his last season with the Hoyas. He made 36.5 percent of his threes in his career, a good sign he is a natural shooter.
Pickett is a Washington D.C. native and even played in the same AAU organization as Bey (although not the same team).
Why did Pickett go off and look like Kevin Durant in the first period? The simplest answer is that … he was open.
The Knicks, as even the TV announcers noted, were swarming all over Cade Cunningham to try and stop him. They also had to keep an eye on sharpshooter Saddiq Bey plus be ready to double-team Garza if he got the ball down in the post.
Pickett was not part of their defensive plans, and he made the Knicks pay for it.
Does Jamorko Pickett have a future with the Detroit Pistons?
While Pickett is new to the public, the Pistons organization were not treating him as just another summer league body. On August 2, Pickett signed an Exhibit 10 contract with Detroit.
That means Pickett will get an invitation to training camp. If he is waived and chooses to play on Detroit’s G-League team, the Motor City Cruise, he would receive a bonus between $5,000 to $50,000 on top of his regular G-League salary, if he stays for at least 60 days.
Now what if Pickett continues to impress? Other NBA teams could look to pick up Pickett, waiting for the Pistons to waive him. He might not make it to the Cruise.
NBA rules state you can not convert an Exhibit 10 contract to a two-way once the season starts. If Detroit is afraid of losing Pickett, they can offer him their remaining two-way contract (can stay up to 45 days with NBA team) to stave off other teams poaching him. Of course, that could cause a domino effect on the roster with other players they are looking at (like Garza).
In an already crowded roster situation, Jamorko Pickett’s big game against the Knicks throws another name into the mix. If he continues to stand out, it will be another talented player to add to the young core. If nothing else, he will certainly be a player to watch when training camp begins in late September.