Quincy Miller's lack of NBA experience and unfamiliarity with Stan Van Gundy's style of play keeping him off the court
Quincy Miller's NBA experience has seen its share of ups and downs, drafted 38th overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2012, the former Baylor bigman would see action in 59 games (16 starts) over two years before landing in the D-League. The 22-year-old forward played 40 games in the NBA's Development League, representing both the Iowa Energy and Reno Big Horns, and averaged 16.6 points and 7.2 rebounds over that time, flashing his ability as a stretch-4 capable of punishing opponents on offense as well as defense.
His strong play in this year's D-League Showcase earned him a call-up from the Sacramento Kings where he sputtered in limited minutes, shooting .222/.143/.727 on his way to 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10 minutes per game. The Kings opted to not keep the 6-foot-9 Miller, and he landed back in the D-League, where his play continued to raise a few eyebrows.
Then came the trade deadline. Amid the flurry of moves and big-name players being shuffled from team to team, Miller was contacted by a Pistons' organization lacking depth at both forward positions after a series of trades. After a brief stint with the Grand Rapids Drive where he put up a double-double in his first appearance, Quincy has since been signed for the rest of the year, and will stick with the Pistons throughout training camp and the pre-season, giving Stan Van Gundy a long hard look at an intriguing prospect looking to make his mark on the League.
However, as The Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis reports, despite the Pistons oozing over his potential, they are weary of putting the Chicago native on the floor due to his lack of NBA experience and unfamiliarity with Van Gundy's offensive and defensive schemes. While SVG hasn't ruled out Miller checking in at the scorer's table by season's end, he also explained that he doesn't feel the pressure to play him, as they have all summer to evaluate his talents.
"We like his potential. He's another young guy ... long, athletic guy that can shoot the basketball. Those kind of guys have a chance. That's the way this league is headed. We put ourselves in a position where we know we've got him through the summer and into next year so I don't feel an absolute need to do it," Van Gundy said. "We'll just see how things go."
There is an argument to be made that there is no better way of learning the ropes than getting thrown into the fire and going through your growing pains on the court. Motown could use a youth movement over the next few games -- especially considering the Pistons' recent form, but we'll have to wait and see if Quincy Miller will get his shot in Detroit.
Spencer Dinwiddie's development coming along well
Ever since becoming a fixture in the rotation since the end of January, Spencer Dinwiddie has shown Pistons fans why he was once considered a mid-first round pick prior to his ACL injury in college. With strong performances against Derrick Rose in Chicago (12 points 9 assists), the Washington Wizards' John Wall (20 points 8 assists) and recently showing up Stephen Curry with a slick crossover to add to his resume, he has had many drooling over his potential as the point guard of the future for the Pistons. At 6-foot-6 and 200 lbs, Dinwiddie is one of the bigger floor-generals in the League, and is becoming part of a positional change valuing taller, stronger leading guards, joining the likes of Shaun Livingston (6'7"), Greivis Vasquez, Alec Burks and Michael Carter-Williams (all 6'6").
Dinwiddie has shown the ability to lead a team on the court, and displayed a solid set of passing instincts and skill that have led him to a 3.12 assist to turnover ratio, which, were he eligible, would currently rank him fifth in the League in that category. The nearest Piston to him, Brandon Jennings, sits at seventh overall (3.07), current starter Reggie Jackson is tied at thirty-third along with the Oklahoma City Thunder's D.J. Augustin (2.37).
While his passing and play have been on display for all to marvel at, there is one thing the Pistons' coaching staff are looking to help him improve on, per The Detroit Free Press' Mike Brudenell:
"Shooting 29%, under 20% for three -- that's certainly not good enough to win games, his composure, his poise on the floor, his ability to handle pressure -- it's all been good," Van Gundy said. "But he's got to get the ball in the basket. You can do a lot of things well, but when you are shooting 29% and 18% for three, it's almost impossible to say you are playing well."
Shooting is a core part of basketball. While Dinwiddie isn't alone in the Pistons' collective struggles to make baskets, his shooting numbers -- bar his 92.0% free-throw percentage -- are quite low. Spencer has all summer to work on his jumper, which never failed him in college (.446/.386/.830), and was present in his few D-League stints with the Grand Rapids Drive (.406/.435/.867).
His adaptation to the NBA game and its intricacies is a likely cause for the dip in his shooting numbers, but with a full summer, training camp, Summer League circuit and pre-season routine awaiting him once the season is over, I have no doubt he will be able to work on finding his lost touch.
Jodie Meeks in running to become League's best free-throw shooter
In a season where first-year Pistons guard Jodie Meeks has posted some of the worst shooting numbers since his rookie year, he is currently on course to become one of the 2015 NBA season's best free-throw shooters. Meeks is currently boasting a scorching 90.4% from the charity stripe, second only to Stephen Curry's 90.7%, and has another dozen games to catch up with Golden State's sharpshooting point guard.
Jodie would join a very short list of Pistons players to vie for the top spot, joining the likes of Chauncey Billups and John Long, who both came close to claiming the honors during their time in Detroit; Billups (91.8% in 2007-2008) and Long (88.4% in 1983-1984) both came second to Peja Stojakovic & Larry Bird respectively.
Meeks has always been a consistent free-throw shooter, averaging 88.0% for his career, and hitting a career-high 90.6% during his last year with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011-2012. The fact that Meeks has kept his shooting touch from the free throw line should be some consolation for Pistons fans, as he has struggled to convert baskets from anywhere else on the field all year, and currently sports a slash line of .403/.331/.904.
A far cry from the high-caliber shooting numbers for which he was tendered a 3-year, $18 million contract during the offseason, Jodie has struggled to find a consistent rhythm, often following up a good performance with a long string of disappointing ones. Could the back injury that sidelined him early in the season still be affecting him? Or is he just stuck in a really bad cold spell? Either way, the fact that he has kept his touch from the free throw line should be seen as a sign that Meeks will eventually regain his previous form.
Tweet of the Week
RO$COE pic.twitter.com/5NdEjMT8DX— Andre Drummond (@AndreDrummondd) March 20, 2015