There's been a common talking point about the attitude of the Detroit Pistons players this summer. After a season of collective disappointment, the Pistons feel that they have something to prove-- and the press have noted a certain "chip on the shoulders" of this team's players. When they finally break on to the court this October, what can Pistons fans expect to see out of this roster?
Every other weekday this month, Matt, Kevin, Packey and myself (each in varying availability) will be discussing our opinions and expectations of this Pistons team, one player at a time. Starting at the end of the bench, let's first take a look at our latest draft pick, Terrico White. The fun starts after the jump...
Brian Packey: At first uneasy about Joey D choosing another guard, I quickly became excited about this rookie impromptu-slam-dunk-contest champion. Then the Pistons signed Tracy McGrady. I don't know how much playing time White could've received before the Pistons signed T-Mac, but adding yet another wing pretty much cements White to the bench this season, barring a trade.
White could potentially earn some minutes without a trade occurring by surprising at point guard. He played point his freshman year at Ole Miss and worked out for several teams as a point before the draft. In fact, when asked if he saw himself as a big point guard that could create for others, White responded, "Yeah, it really is." (And a fun fact about White is that he was a passing quarterback in high school).
But if things don't work out for White in Detroit, we can always trade him to Denver.
Kevin Sawyer: Any player with Terrico White's athleticism and speed should be able to earn a rotation spot on a mediocre team. While the odds are stacked against his traversing a moutain of four guards and (at least) three small forwards, he'll be a noted improvement over Chucky Atkins if the worst case scenario should arise.
A poor shooter (both his three point and free throw percentages do not portend to improvement), White will have to get to the lane in order to have an impact on offense. The open looks he saw in Summer League aren't going to be there at the next level. On defense, he should be quick enough to sic on speedy guards, and could see spot duty as a nuisance defender.
His ceiling seems to be somewhere in the Arron Afflalo sphere, and like spellcheck, White has a propensity to disappear on offense. With 3% body fat, he may simply disappear altogether. If nothing else, he can function as the team nutritionist. Terrico terrine, anyone?
Mike Payne: Packey is right-- if Terrico White sees minutes this season, they'll likely be at the point (if the Pistons PR is to be believed). However, there's really nothing "combo" about this guard. He's a shoot-first, shoot-often player whose assist numbers in college were anecdotal-- the man was 8th in the NCAA in terms of shot attempts per possession, but one of the league's worst passing guards in terms of assist average. This isn't a complaint about White, however, just those in the media who are quick to label him a "combo" anything without discernible merit. Remove the "combo" stigma, White becomes a much easier player to evaluate.
Terrico White the shooting guard recorded a less-than-fortunate 43% from the field his sophomore season and just 71.4% from the line-- on 3.4 free throw attempts per game. However, scouts suggest that the majority of Terrico's misses came from bad, contested shots. He has the mechanics and the athleticism to edge his efficiency well over 45%, especially on his oft-heralded midrange game. With experience, with proper coaching and a pairing with a good passing point guard, White could exhibit better decision making with his shot.
That said, Terrico White needs some playing time against NBA-caliber defenses (and under NBA-caliber coaching) to properly develop his game. Since he's not yet developed enough to help the Pistons win games, he's a perfect candidate for the D-League. White needs time and attention in the Pistons training camp this summer, he needs to be in the rotation during the pre-season, and then he needs to find his way to Ft. Wayne. After a few months as a Mad Ant (and after the Pistons make a trade), Terrico White could begin to find minutes on the Pistons roster. If he does, Pistons fans can expect to see a younger, more athletic Flip Murray... albeit one that has no real business manning the point.
What's your take on Terrico? Get the discussion going in the comments!