You will be seeing Jules Bernard and Stanley Umude in action for the Detroit Pistons in the pre-season. If you watched summer league, you are familiar with them. If you did not, or may have forgotten (it was back in July) we have a rundown on their talents.
With the roster stuffed with guaranteed contracts, it looked for a while no more than one undrafted free agent would get a chance to be a member of the Pistons, at least for training camp and preseason games.
Because they took on three players from the Knicks in trades, plus wanting to re-sign a bunch of its own players, Detroit sat with 19 players on its roster most of the summer, and only a maximum of 20 are allowed.
Due to the lack of space, the Pistons had a whirlwind of signing and cutting, to make sure players they want for the Cruise could qualify for Exhibit 10 contracts, which requires them to be on Detroit’s roster, if only for a day.
It even proved costly, as Utah was able to take away center Micah Potter with a two-way contract. He had been signed and released by Detroit, so he was available.
The ongoing Kemba Walker situation, where he is taking up a roster spot, even though he does not want to be here, and the Pistons do not want him here, either, also complicates things.
The trade for Bojan Bogdanovic was a 2-for-1 deal, which opened up a spot, to give Detroit room for two non-guaranteed contract players.
If you watched the Pistons summer league team in Las Vegas, the two players taking those spots are no surprise: wing Jules Bernard out of UCLA and guard Stanley Umude of Arkansas.
If you did not sit glued to the TV and watch a bunch of rookies and fringe players battle it out back in early July (totally understandable), here is a rundown, so when you see them in action for Detroit, you won’t go: “Who the heck are they?”
Stanley Umude was rolling 7s in Vegas for Detroit Pistons
The 6-foot-6 Umude had been a big scorer for four years at South Dakota, averaging 22.1 points his final year. He then transferred to Arkansas, where he had 11.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for a Razorbacks team that reached the Elite Eight, before falling to Duke.
Umude did not even play in the Pistons first summer league game but, when Jaden Ivey got hurt in the second game, he came off the bench to score 12 points in a win over the Washington Wizards.
Umude played in Detroit’s remaining summer league games, averaging 10.8 points in 18.6 minutes of action. He also hit an impressive 44.4% on three-point attempts.
Pistons general manager Troy Weaver had immediately signed Umude to an Exhibit 10 deal right after the draft, so he had always been in their plans. It will be interesting to see how he does, playing against NBA competition.
Jules Bernard looked better for Detroit Pistons than UCLA
While Jules Bernard was a solid player for UCLA in college, he showed he had even more tools in his toolbox while playing for the Pistons in summer league.
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound wing had the ball in his hands a lot and did a good job passing and was also aggressive going to the basket. By the final few games, when Detroit had put on ice basically all of its top players, the Pistons offense on many possessions was ‘give the ball to Bernard, have him do something’.
Bernard was the only player, besides two-way signees Braxton Key and Buddy Boeheim, to play in every summer league game. He averaged 9.2 points in just 13.1 minutes a game. The only down note was making only 29.4% on three pointers.
However, if he can show the passing and scoring ability in the preseason he did in summer league, Detroit might have to find a place for him.
It is kind of odd that a young, rebuilding team like the Pistons struggled to find room for undrafted rookies who played well for them in the summer. (FYI, Charlie Moore, the point guard who played so well in Las Vegas, signed with a pro team in Belgium).
Bernard and Umude will, at the very least, be on the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League team, but the experience they will have for the next few weeks, playing with Cade Cunningham, going against NBA players, is invaluable in gauging their level of play, as well as an amazing experience for both of them.