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Pistons summer-league roster, ranked

The Pistons released their summer-league roster and schedule today:

  • July 5, Detroit vs. Houston, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • July 6, Detroit vs. Memphis, 3:00 p.m. ET
  • July 8, Detroit vs. Miami, 5:00 p.m. ET
  • July 9, Detroit vs. Boston, 7:00 p.m. ET
  • July 11*, TBD, TBD

All games will be aired on NBATV and can also be viewed live by signing up at www.nba.com/summerleaguelive.

Here are all 15 players, ranked by intrigue level:

15. Spencer Dinwiddie

Dinwiddie is actually listed as “Injured – Will Not Participate.” Is there some rule requiring the Pistons to include him on the roster I’m not aware of?

14. Tristan Spurlock

Spurlock, a 6-foot-8 forward who excels in no particular area, exhausted his collegiate eligibility this year after three years at Central Florida and one at Virginia. He’s 23. I’m not seeing it.

13. Damion James

James – a former first-round pick from Texas who has played for the Nets and Hawks – has name recognition. Unfortunately, I know just enough about him to know I’m already convinced he’s not an NBA-caliber player. I’d prefer a mystery.

12. Ian Miller

Miller battled academic issues and injury his first three seasons at Florida State, and he played pretty well as a senior last year. The 6-foot-3 guard is a fine shooter and good college player, but he doesn’t appear to be NBA caliber. Maybe his issues caused him to slip through the cracks, though.

11. David Lighty

Lighty played at Ohio State from approximately 1911-2011, wearing No. 23. This is not him.


10. Brian Cook

Unlike James, Cook was once a good NBA role player. That was seven years ago. At 33, he probably won’t make an NBA comeback, but I’m at least curious why Stan Van Gundy even bothered to invite him.

9. Jordan Heath

Heath is a stretch four from Canisius, which you might recognize as a team John Beilein once coached and Van Gundy once assistant-coached (not at the same time).

8. DeAndre Liggins

Van Gundy’s Magic drafted Liggins No. 53 in 2011, and he spent a year each with Orlando, Oklahoma City and Miami. I really liked the shooting guard’s defensive potential coming out of Kentucky, but he’s never really made a dent in the NBA. Ridiculous Upside considered him a possibility as the D-League’s most athletic player.

If it weren’t for these nasty allegations, he would rank much higher on this list. Though some of the charges were dropped, I’m not keen on supporting a woman-beater who may or may not have gotten off on a technicality. My standard’s are not the legal system’s standards. He doesn’t rank lower because I’m open to the idea he could have changed.

7. Chris Watford

Watford had a productive four-year career at Indiana, which culminated in 2013. He made 44 percent of his 3-pointers as a junior and 48 percent as a senior. Clearly, there are holes in the rest of his game.

6. Markel Starks

Starks is from PG County, Maryland, one my favorite places in the world. He also attended Georgetown Prep – a high school that, like with Starks, sent Roy Hibbert to Georgetown University. Though Georgetown Prep is very different than PG County, I’m also fond of the school. And I really like this quote from Starks when he finished his high school career:

"Growing up in Prince George’s County, predominantly black, there were really a lot of naysayers if I could make it here," he said of the boarding school. "I’ve been on my own since I was 15, and you know, it’s a lot of sacrifice. I don’t want to say you give up your childhood, but maybe a lot of childhood memories, to do this. But I stuck with it, and not to brag about it at all but it’s like, look at me now."

The only complaint is that Starks is a reluctant braggart.

5. Tim Ohlbrecht

I don’t know much about Ohlbrecht, but Daryl Morey signed him and Sam Hinkie claimed him off waivers. Those two are smart.

4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Caldwell-Pope is, by far, the most likely summer-leaguer to make the Pistons’ regular-season roster. I’ll have an eye on him, but there’s only so much he can show at this level.

3. Tony Mitchell

Mitchell also has a guaranteed contract for next year, though his salary is low enough the Pistons could waive him if they need to open a roster spot. I liked his potential for a second-round pick, but he must start showing he’ll realize some of it. Summer league is as good a time as any.

2. Peyton Siva

Siva’s contract becomes guaranteed July 13 – just after the Orlando Summer League ends. He’s playing for his NBA career.

1. Justin Harper

I liked Harper in the 2011 draft, when he fell to No. 32 – one spot ahead of the Pistons drafting Kyle Singler. Detroit definitely came out ahead of Van Gundy’s Magic, who selected Harper. Harper lasted one year and 84 minutes in the NBA before going to the D-League and overseas. But Harper is still just 24, and of all the stretch fours on the summer-league roster, he intrigues me most. As Brady pointed out, stretch four seems to be an area Van Gundy believes he can pluck a gem. I’ll leave you with Patrick’s Draft Dreams for Harper:

The Pistons are in a good position holding the third pick in the second round. Every year, late first round talents fall into the early second, and with this draft heavy in bigs who are considered projects, the Pistons could nab someone who falls out of the first round, including Richmond’s Justin Harper.

Info

Measurables: 6-foot-10, 225 pounds,  senior F from Richmond

Key stats: 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game while shooting 53 percent

Projected: Late First Round

How would he help the Pistons?

Most Pistons fans will look at Harper’s lack of bulk along with his pedestrian rebounding average and say, ‘next.’ But the best thing to like about Harper’s game is the leap he took between his junior and senior seasons.

I always like college players who show significant improvement. As a junior, Harper was a solid role player at Mid-Major school Richmond, averaging about 11 points and five boards per game. He’d never shot 50 percent in a season, never came close to 40 percent on 3-pointers and wasn’t considered a NBA prospect.

As a senior, he became a legitimate go-to player. His 53 percent shooting bested his previous career-best by 5 percent. His 45 percent 3-point shooting was 8 percent higher than his previous best.

Joe Dumars loves picking versatile, athletic, players in the second round who aren’t necessarily confined to a position. Harper’s shot-blocking ability would potentially help him find a niche with the Pistons and his versatile offensive skillset — he was effective in the paint and from the perimeter for Richmond — give him the appearance of a stronger version of Austin Daye. Harper’s skillset, along with his obvious work ethic that allowed him to make a dramatic leap in production, make him intriguing if he’s available in the second round.

How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?

The Pistons might be in the market for a more conventional big man. With picks like Daye and Jonas Jerebko in recent years, along with the signing of Charlie Villanueva, Dumars has seemed to show a preference for offense and positional indifference rather than for finding guys who strictly fit into traditional position roles. That strategy obviously hasn’t been a great success so far. This offseason is a big one for Dumars, and it will be interesting to see if he continues with whatever his vision was for a rebuilt Pistons team when he started desconstructing his title contender three years ago or if he makes some adjustments and puts more of a premium on defense and rebounding over offensive versatility. My hunch is he will look to make the team bigger and stronger, particularly up front, and if that’s the case, I don’t know that Harper would be a fit.

27 Comments

  • Jul 3, 20145:01 pm
    by Jodi

    Reply

    Miley Cyrus….now that is somebody I would give 3 years and 19 million to see play.  

    • Jul 4, 20142:55 am
      by KaBa

      Reply

      I wouldn’t give her five pence, but I would still want to see her play ;)

      • Jul 4, 201410:27 am
        by Tim Thielke

        Reply

        Maybe during the all-star break.

  • Jul 3, 20145:05 pm
    by ChrisChin

    Reply

    I’ve always liked damion james. he is the only one that’s not with the pistons that I’ll be interested in. 

  • Jul 3, 20146:04 pm
    by Ryan

    Reply

    I really wish Spencer Dinwiddie was healthy enough to play but hopefully he can at least start to learn the offensive and defensive schemes. I’d love to see real progress from Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell. If those two guys can show that they’re ready to be rotation players that’d be a very nice step. I’m more inclined to believe in Siva than Mitchell but we’ll see.

  • Jul 3, 20147:43 pm
    by Tom

    Reply

    I wouldn’t be shocked to see Christian Wattford catch on in the NBA; he’s sort of an undersized stretch 4. He is a solid rebounder, showed flashes of being able to defend big men, can shoot and finish at the rim. He’s undersized for a 4 and I don’t see him being able to guard the 3 spot so it might not happen, but length and shooting is valuable. 

  • Jul 3, 20148:35 pm
    by I HATE

    Reply

    David Lighty is a worker… hustles in defense, makes all the right decisions on offense…might not make the team but i’ll enjoy watching him ( imma Buckeye fan)

    • Jul 4, 20148:20 am
      by Derek

      Reply

      Yeah I caught Lighty’s games back in his Buckeye days, he was a bully on D.  Reminds me of Iman Shumpert in that regard.  I’m not sure why he hasn’t been able to stick with a team.

  • Jul 3, 20148:37 pm
    by I HATE

    Reply

    Liggins has turned himself into a legit player that can play in the NBA… maybe Ruben Patterson comparison 

  • Jul 4, 20143:10 am
    by KaBa

    Reply

    I hope that Ohlbrecht plays a good Summer Leaugue. He deserves a spot on a NBA team and a chance. He is the far better bball player than Mitchell with some nice moves around the paint but Mitchell has the bigger upside so the one gets a contract and the other not. 
    There still seems to be resentment towards european players when choosing someone for the 11-15 spot on the roster, which I don’t understand as those guys (IMHO) mostly have better bbal fundamentals.

    • Jul 5, 20148:43 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I think some of that isn’t resentment, the problem is euros good enough for the nba are reluctant to accept a 11-15 man role when they could start for a European team.  The allure of the nba drops if you feel like a small fish all of the sudden.

  • Jul 4, 20148:44 am
    by Derek

    Reply

    I checked out some videos of Justin Harper and he looks a bit like Taj Gibson when it comes to his mechanics and style of play.  I’m not sure if he quite has Gibson’s leaping ability, but he looks far better than I expected based on the write up.  The other thing is dude seems to be more than a stronger version of Austin Daye. 
     
    I honestly can’t see the Daye connection at all.  Daye was a 7′ wet tissue paper soft perimeter player, while Harper seems to be a postman with stretch 4 perimeter skills.  His arms look a little short for his size, so that makes me wonder about him getting his shot off.  Still that seems to be easily compensated by his propensity to rise and fade on his shot.

  • Jul 4, 20149:17 am
    by James

    Reply

    LMAO, name 3 former pistons, basically 7 footers with rings?

    • Jul 5, 20148:49 am
      by Derek

      Reply

      Piston 7′ footers with rings
       
      James Edwards
      William Bedford
      Elden Campbell
      Mehmet Okur
      Darko Milicic
      Zeljko Rebraca
      Mehmet Okur

  • Jul 4, 20149:34 am
    by Zdwtr

    Reply

    Where is Datome?

  • Jul 4, 20141:28 pm
    by I HATE

    Reply

    Datome is playing overseas this summer

  • Jul 4, 20148:57 pm
    by Kevin

    Reply

    As far as the roster goes, I think there’s some amount of upside in each guy, except for Spurlock.  Spurlock struggled enough in college, not sure why he’s getting a shot here.  Unless he was horribly underused at UCF.  Will be interesting to see how Siva plays.
    2014 Orlando Summer League Preview

  • Jul 5, 20141:58 am
    by Lorenzo

    Reply

    Kaman signed for Portland. Probably dents the chances of those Monroe sign and trade rumors to the Blazers. At least a bit, unless Portland decides to include Lopez in deals.

    • Jul 5, 20148:50 am
      by Huddy

      Reply

      I would guess they are still open and might include Lopez or Leonard.  Monroes still an upgrade and fits the offensive mind set.

  • Jul 5, 20144:39 pm
    by Bob

    Reply

    Watching the summer league game today I’m left with this thought…..if this is how our PFs are expected to play, why would Charlie V not be offered a 1 year deal if the price is reasonable?

    • Jul 5, 20145:56 pm
      by Kevin

      Reply

      Because Charlie’s only a 34% career three point shooter anyways. Only had two seasons above 35% and one above 38%.

  • Jul 5, 20147:40 pm
    by JYD for Life

    Reply

    KCP was ballin today!  
     
    I love that kid.  

    • Jul 6, 20144:07 pm
      by JamesJones_Det

      Reply

      He’s looking good today too, I guess if KCP comes to life this year they can always package up Meek’s if needed later in the year.

  • Jul 6, 20145:48 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    charlie v should never wear a Piston uniform again. 

  • Jul 6, 20145:52 pm
    by Hook Shot

    Reply

    Bob
    i would rather they take a flier on Ed Davis than entertain the possibility of having Charlie the slacker V in a Piston uniform.  Charlie V did nothing despite numerous opportunities to  be a regular in the rotation.  He pissed away his abilities and if he ever plays in the NBA again I would be shocked. 

  • Jul 6, 20148:17 pm
    by T Casey

    Reply

    Well, KCP had a monster game . Obviously its just preseason, but I like the talent and all around play and effort. I think building confidence in real games is gonna be the biggest thing for him moving forward.

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