Detroit Pistons: Buddy Boeheim could be this year’s Luka Garza

Luka Garza #55 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends Buddy Boeheim #35 of the Syracuse Orange(Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images)
Luka Garza #55 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends Buddy Boeheim #35 of the Syracuse Orange(Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons took a flyer on Buddy Boeheim of Syracuse as an un-drafted free agent, recently signing him to a two-way deal.

Troy Weaver seems to have an affinity for older players later in the draft, guys who achieved in college, may have one elite NBA skill and have the work ethic and drive to improve their weaknesses.

That’s exactly what they did last season with both Isaiah Livers and Luka Garza and had varying degrees of success with both. Livers played well in limited action and now looks like a future part of the rotation, while Garza was able to impress with his work ethic and attitude, getting himself a full-time NBA contract in the process.

Both guys were overlooked because of their age and athletic limitations, but could end up in NBA rotations at some point in their respective careers.

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The Detroit Pistons are trying to find elite shooters anywhere they can, and hope that Buddy Boeheim can end up being this year’s Luka Garza.

Detroit Pistons: Buddy Boeheim hopes to shoot/work his way onto the roster

Last year, the Pistons drafted Luka Garza late in the second round and most people didn’t give him much of a chance to make he roster.

But he put in the work, slimmed down, got a little faster and had some big games for the Pistons when their roster was decimated by COVID. He went from a guy who seemed like a Summer League body, to a two-way deal to a full-time contract for the Pistons.

Even though he spent most of his time in the G-League, Garza’s attitude and work ethic were infectious, and these are the types of players the Pistons want to take flyers on in the latter parts of the draft or even outside of it.

Boeheim has a similar profile, as he was a decorated college player who led his team with high-volume 3-point shooting. He has a pretty good offensive bag but has huge defensive limitations, just like Garza.

Troy Weaver is familiar with Boeheim’s work as a former assistant coach at Syracuse and a friend of Buddy’s legendary father Jim Boeheim.

Things may not ultimately work out for Garza with the Detroit Pistons (we’ll know more today), but he was a worthwhile gamble, as he has the type of character they want and culture matters, even for the guys who don’t play big minutes.

Buddy Boeheim could be that guy for the Detroit Pistons this season, as I could definitely see a scenario where he shoots the lights out in Summer League, impresses the coaches with his work ethic and attitude and eventually earns himself some minutes this season.

When you think about the impact un-drafted Duncan Robinson has had as a shooter for the Heat, it makes sense to take a chance on some of these older guys who can shoot the 3-ball.

Players taken in the second round or picked up after the draft are long shots to make a roster, but it’s a worthwhile risk for the Pistons, who are hoping to eventually hit on one of these guys as the Heat did.

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