Quincy Miller injured; Ilyasova, Caldwell-Pope visit Orlando
As free agency kicks off, many teams' summer league teams have started training, especially those participating in the Orlando version of the tournament. The Pistons' summer league team has been training together since the beginning of the week, and the scrimmages seem to have claimed their first victim, with Pistons.com's Keith Langlois reporting that Quincy Miller took a stray elbow, suffering a broken nose, fractured orbital and corneal abrasions that will keep him out of the entirety of the summer league tournament. Miller, who has been putting in serious time at the gym, was expected to have a big summer league performance for the Pistons as he tries to carve himself a roster spot. The forward has been listed on the team's roster sheet as being 234 lbs, rather than the 210 lbs recorded prior to the 2015 season.
Pistons rookies Stanley Johnson and Darrun Hilliard and second year man Spencer Dinwiddie are also on the team's summer league roster, with multiple NBA hopefuls filling in the remaining positions, which can be seen here. Johnson has received "very positive reviews" from both Quincy Miller and Spencer Dinwiddie after their first few trainings together, and should offer Piston fans a glimpse of the talent that earned him the eighth overall selection in this year's draft. Hilliard meanwhile, will also have the opportunity to show the grittiness and skill that led him to being selected with the team's second round pick.
In other summer league news, recent acquisition Ersan Ilyasova worked out in the same Orlando gym where Piston summer leaguers were training, and is expected to be around the team during the SL tournament. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also made an appearance at the training facility, and has had a few workouts. The offseason tournament starts July 4, with the Pistons kicking things off against Orlando White.
Aron Baynes excited to be a part of Pistons' future
Over the past couple of days, not a news broadcast in Australia has gone without mentioning Aron Baynes' new contract with the Pistons. Much like in the US, sports pundits in Oz have been mixed on the move, with some questioning the size of his contract, and others congratulating the bigman on taking the next step in his career, either way, Baynes has told NBA Australia's Simon Legg he is excited to join the Pistons.
"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play with Detroit," Baynes explained. "I can't wait to work with the great coaches and players already at the club. We are going to surprise some people."
Baynes also talks to Legg about his added confidence in his game as he gets used to the NBA and the added playing time he received in San Antonio as a result of Tiago Splitter's injuries, and discusses his shooting ability, saying:
"I've always been pretty comfortable shooting the ball, but it helps when the coaching staff are more comfortable with you shooting the ball. I always work on my shot, it's something you can always improve, and in the offseason right now I want to get better at it."
Considering the 27 year old shot 56.6% from the field last season to go with an 86.5% free throw percentage, his talk of improvement should come as welcome news from a Piston team which has struggled both from the field and charity stripe at times last year. Legg speculates that Monroe's departure could open up the opportunity for a Drummond-Baynes tandem in the frontcourt; but we can take it a step further and imagine a lineup of Drummond, Baynes, Ilyasova, Pope and Dinwiddie when the team needs a tall, bruising inside game, and an equally tall and punishing outside game. I for one, am excited to welcome the hulking Australian to Detroit, and like him, am excited to see what the future holds for the Pistons.
Tweet of the Week
#ssshhh pic.twitter.com/mzriTF8Xch— Stanley Johnson (@iAmSJ) July 3, 2015