Spencer Dinwiddie is heading back to the D-League – and he's bringing Gigi Datome with him. The Pistons assigned the two players to the Grand Rapids Drive just in time for the 11th annual D-League Showcase, held Jan. 15-19 at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, Calif.
The D-League Showcase is a unique event that brings all 18 D-League teams under the same roof for several days, with a schedule that features games beginning early in the day through the evening. Doing so allows front office personnel from all 30 of the NBA's teams to gather and scout available talent. The fact the Pistons are sending Datome, who's appeared in just one regular season game so far and never made another D-League assignment, can easily be interpreted as a sign the team is willing (and perhaps actively trying) to trade him.
Datome, a former Italian League MVP once regarded as the best pure shooter in Europe, is in the final year of his contract after signing a two-year, $3.5 million deal in July 2013 after allegedly drawing interest from the Celtics, Bucks, Rockets, Suns, Spurs and Grizzlies. Unfortunately, he rarely played as a rookie and has been virtually forgotten this year. In 35 career games, he's averaged 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 7.1 minutes. Despite his reputation as a deadeye shooter, he's shot just .190 (8-of-42) from 3-point range, albeit with little opportunity to get into a rhythm.
While I'm comfortable reading between the lines with Datome's assignment, I suspect Dinwiddie is making the trip simply to continue getting some burn during a time the Pistons will likely have few opportunities to practice. His last trip to the D-League coincided with a Pistons' road trip, and this current assignment comes when the Pistons will play four of their next seven on the road, including a pair of back to backs.
In four games with the Drive, Dinwiddie has averaged 16.0 points, 6.3 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 34 minutes a game. In eight games with the Pistons, he's averaged 3.0 points, 2.1 assists and 0.6 rebounds in 12.4 minutes.
Update: Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press concurs with our Gigi speculation:
@detroitbadboys Accurate assessment on Datome. Gather team high on Dinwiddie.— Vincent Ellis (@Vincent_Ellis56) January 14, 2015