It really would have been nice if a bit more attention was paid to the third point guard spot. Especially given Reggie Jackson’s health concerns.
Langston Galloway was supposed to be the answer, but that plan quickly failed. Dwight Buycks was signed to a two-way deal, a contract new for the 2017-18 season that allowed teams to sign two additional players who would float between the G-League and NBA team.
Buycks was an unknown, spending the two previous seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association. He kept showing up to the Summer League and impressing, but it never resulted in a roster spot. He spent time in the D-League, in France, in China. Six years of grinding and paying his dues, his timing in landing with Detroit was perfect.
Thanks to Jackson’s grumpy joints the Pistons needed some extra depth at point guard, preferably someone who was less of a developmental guy and more of a Break Glass In Case of Emergency guy. And it just happened to coincide with the two-way contracts being introduced. Without those, it probably wouldn’t have been a fit.
It turned out that Buycks had quite a similar style to the player he was the emergency scenario for. A bit more burly than Jackson’s finesse style, Buycks still knew how to get to the rim and create his own shot while also finding the open guy running the pick and roll (though definitely wasn’t as effective as Jackson as a scorer in the PnR).
The guy could ball. Once Jackson went down with his severe ankle sprain, Galloway got the first shot at backup point guard. A decision that lasted all of two games. Then Stan Van Gundy gave Buycks a shot. He immediately delivered, averaging 11.7 points and 3 assists per game over his first six games as the primary backup point guard, posting a 51/46/83 shooting line.
Buycks struggled with injuries, illness, and effectiveness down the stretch, with a few inefficient high volume nights dropping his averages. But as a whole, he proved a definite feather in the hat of the scouting department.
He’s definitely a guy who doesn’t lack for swag.
Stan Van Gundy needed a yang to Ish Smith’s ying, a guy who can compliment as more of a centerpiece of an offense when stepping in for Smith’s orchestra conductor style. Galloway wasn’t suited for that. But it was a surprise they were able to find an offense centerpiece just off the streets in Bucyks.
Like Reggie Jackson, Buycks was able to effectively get into the guts of the defense and create for himself or his teammates. One of the nice things about Buycks ability to operate inside 10 feet was forcing the defense to move to open things up for teammates or making for soft misses if Buycks took his own shot. This certainly helped him out in the high pick and roll.
The Hero Ball style can be obnoxious when the hero’s shots aren’t falling, but there’s a place for it.
He was super fun in Denver on March 15, doing his damnedest to turn it into an interesting game with 14 fourth quarter points.
Dwight Buycks should be playing in the NBA next season. Just probably not for the Pistons.
Despite exceeding expectations, the Pistons really need a third point guard with...well, I don’t know. Just they need something different. I can’t really put my finger on it, why Buycks isn’t the right guy for the role. If anyone in the comments can articulate what it is, go for it.
It’s not that he’s not good enough. Because you’re probably not going to find a clear upgrade who is satisfied with the third point guard role. And you don’t want to hand out another Boban Marjanovic big contract to a third stringer situation again. Upside maybe? Like I said, I’m not really sure what it is.
What say you DBB? Would you be willing to bring Buycks back in the same role next season? Why or why not? If not, who are you looking at for a third point guard candidate?