For the second consecutive summer, the Detroit Pistons will join nine other NBA teams in Orlando for NBA Summer League play. While the events will be broadcast on NBA TV, NBA.com's Summer League Live and the new NBA Summer league App, the doors will be closed to the public at the Amway Arena in downtown Orlando. DetroitBadBoys has been granted press access to the games and the players in Orlando this week, and I'll be there with a press badge to report directly back to you.
What can fans expect from the Detroit Pistons at the NBA Summer League in Orlando? Here's a handy primer.
Detroit Pistons Summer League Starting Five
PG: Peyton Siva
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Tony Mitchell
Starting with the man in the middle, the Detroit Pistons could field the most competitive starting lineup at the Orlando Summer League. Drummond will be matched in the frontcourt by the athletic wunderkind Tony Mitchell, whose freshman numbers at North Texas could have commanded a top 5 pick had he sustained them through his sophomore season. Khris Middleton was hardly used as a rookie in Detroit, but he finally cracked the rotation in April with an efficient stroke, shooting 53% from the field and 40% from three.
Detroit's Summer League backcourt arrives with no NBA experience, but a remarkable body of work in college. KCP put up 19 points and 7 rebounds with 2 assists and 2 steals for Georgetown, relying heavily on an outside shot to put up big scoring numbers. Peyton Siva led his Louisville Cardinals to an NCAA title over the Michigan Wolverines, showing a knack for distribution and defense that will both be needed at the point in Detroit.
Detroit Pistons Summer League Competitive Outlook
Detroit is scheduled for four games this week and a one-game playoff on Friday. Detroit faces Mason Plumlee and the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, Kelly Olynyk and the Boston Celtics on Monday, Steven Adams and the OKC Thunder on Tuesday and the Miami Heat on Thursday. The Heat had no draft picks in the 2013 draft, so their team will field young players on existing contracts and other players the team wishes to scout.
Sunday, July 7th - 5:00p.m. - Detroit @ Brooklyn
The Brooklyn Nets had one pick in the 2013 draft, having selected Mason Plumlee from Duke with the 22nd pick. Plumlee is a 7' 238-pound center at age 23, having spent four years in the NCAA before declaring for the draft. Plumlee showed off a knack for drawing contact and converting at the free throw line at Duke, so it's fair to expect him to do the same at the whistle-happy Summer League. Plumlee will join fellow Net Tyshawn Taylor and Detroit-area product Keith Benson, currently playing for Eerie's D-league team.
Monday, July 8th - 3:00p.m. - Boston @ Detroit
The Celtics traded up to select Kelly Olynyk from Gonzaga at pick number 13 in the 2013 NBA Draft. Olynyk is another 7-footer, weighing in at 234 pounds and showing off a pretty versatile offense from inside to the 3-point line. Olynyk joins Fab Melo, Colton Iverson (no relation), a completely different Tony Mitchell and Lakers draftee Darius Johnson-Odom.
Tuesday, July 9th - 1:00p.m. - Detroit @ OKC
The Thunder drafted a 7-footer of their own at #12, Steven Adams of the University of Pittsburgh. Adams doesn't have a stand-out talent at one area or another, but 7-foot big men of his ilk tend to last long in the NBA. Adams is joined by a pretty well-known cast for OKC, including Perry Jones III, Jeremy Lamb, Daniel Orton and others.
Thursday, July 11th - 1:00p.m - Miami @ Detroit
Miami did not have a pick in the 2013 draft, but they've built a Summer League roster out of undrafted talent and previously-released players from other teams. The Heat's team will be led by shot-blocking big man Jarvis Varnado and rounded out by draft picks like James Ennis, JR Giddens, Damion James and others. The most noteworthy undrafted player is Myck Kabongo, whose name was popular on 2013 draft boards because, well, dat name.
DetroitBadBoys Orlando Summer League Coverage
This will be the first NBA event where DBB will have credentials of their own, and we're lucky to have friends at SB Nation opening doors for us. I'll be there to watch games, to interview players and coaching staff and to take in the overall event. If you have any questions you might like me to ask Andre Drummond, KCP, Mo Cheeks or others, fire away in the comments.
I'll also be doing some photo-heavy coverage, so look for me under the basket during regulation amongst the other press photographers. I work as a commercial photographer on the side, and I've pow-wow'd with some NBA photographers about tools and techniques and I should be able to get some exciting images of live action on the court.
I hope to gain some insights into the development of our youngest players and to learn about their stories in moving from college to the pros. If there's anything you'd like to know, again, fire away in the comments and I'll do my best to get answers in person.