The 2019 Detroit Pistons summer league roster has a healthy blend of drafted and undrafted rookies, second-year players and overall just the fringiest of fringy NBA players, as is expected for summer league play. You could say it has a little bit of everything: there could be a future NBA All-Star, a few NBA-caliber starters, and maybe a rotational bench player or two to be had. Could a unforeseen diamond in the rough be lurking as well?
We may have to wait a couple years to officially find out what comes of many of these players, but that’s what makes this time of year so entertaining and exciting.
My three predictions for the 2019 Pistons summer league:
Khyri Thomas will be the best player on the squad during Vegas play, and it’ll be by a wide margin.
The 2018 second round pick was injured part of last season and didn’t get to show much of what he could do. When he was healthy, he was trying to prove himself in the G League while the big club was just too crowded. At 6-foot-3, Khyri might be a little short to be your prototypical two-guard, but the guy has length, shooting ability and a defensive mindset that should keep him in the league for a very long time. I’m looking for Khyri to excel at all facets of the game in Vegas this summer, and hoping that swell of confidence carries over to the fall. The Pistons are craving young, talented shot makers for their rotation. Thomas needs to take the opportunity.
Deividas Sirvydis will have us all salivating until he comes stateside for good
The 6-foot-7 second round pick from Lithuania is a draft-and-stash toy. It just may be one year, maybe two before we get to fully unwrap him. He just turned 19 and needs to put on weight. I’m sure most of you have googled his highlight videos and such. Good. But sure, we know highlight videos are made to look extra enticing and obviously they are there to, well, highlight the positives. Point being, it’s hard to get deep into Deividas’ videos and not realize he’s a natural born scorer with that uncanny knack for scoring in a variety of ways. Will that ability show itself right away in summer league playing against many stronger, bigger players than he’s use to playing against? It probably won’t. But we’ll see mighty flashes. We’ll see the raw ability. The smooth shot. The creativity.
One of either Bennie Boatwright, Donta’ Hall or Jarrod Uthoff will impress and make the opening night roster
They are all power forwards, or potentially small-ball fives. Uthoff has NBA experience, having played in nine game with the Mavericks in 2016-17. He’s not going to overwhelm you with athleticism, but fundamentally speaking, he’s likely a NBA caliber talent.
Boatwright and Hall both went undrafted in 2019. Boatwright has a dangerous three-point shot (42.9-percent at USC last season on over 200 attempts) and a developing post game, but he doesn’t provide a whole lot else. But does he really need to? He played four years at USC, so age is obviously a dilemma. Though after all, he’s 6-foot-10 and can stroke it! Intriguing.
Hall is a defensive presence and can be a force on the glass. He also played four years in college, and showed marked improvement in most aspects of his game. He’s what many refer to as a late bloomer of sorts. I had more about Donta’ Hall in a separate post.
Here’s some of the rest of the summer league roster:
Bone was a second round pick of Detroit just a couple weeks ago, as Detroit made a late draft-night trade with the 76ers to grab the point guard at No. 57. Bone is quickly becoming a legend on DBB, and he hasn’t even played a game for the organization yet. Pistons fans will have to wait until at least Saturday, July 6th to watch Bone ascend to point guard of the future status. I’m not sure if I’m even joking at this point.
FWIW, #Pistons Jordan Bone isn't on the Summer League roster because that trade hasn't been completed/announced.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) July 2, 2019
Looks like it would be July 6 at least, which would be the second SL game, at the earliest.
The 20-year-old undrafted rookie didn’t have a spectacular freshman season at Oregon, but is widely regarded as a NBA talent. The Pistons seem mostly on board with this sentiment, going by their willingness to sign him to a two-way deal. His shot is fluid (may need to speed up his release) and his defensive potential is strong, especially in this time of position-less basketball. He very well may be one of the players we look at in four years and ask ourselves how in the world didn’t he go in the top 20.
The former Michigan State Spartan played four games with the San Antonio Spurs in 2017-2018 (he was on a two-way contract part of that season). He’s a mobile four or five that does a little bit of everything. He’s a smart, steady player that can finish and occasionally step out and hit jump shots. I’m not sure he would be the safest option as, say, a third string center, but as a 13th, 14th or 15th man on a roster, you could do a lot worse. This might be one of the last chances for Costello to latch on with a team — he’ll be 26 next month.
The 29-year-old is trying his best to find his way back onto a NBA roster. Cherry played nine games for the Cavaliers in 2014-15. He sure can get buckets, but he’s not much of a three-point shooter or facilitator.
If the former Spartan could play every game against the Michigan Wolverines at the NBA level, then he would have a long, fruitful career.
You didn’t think I was going to forget to mention DOUMBOUYA, did you?
The Pistons 2019 No. 15th pick Sekou Doumbouya will show why he’s regarded as a future All-Star by certain circles. In the lead, I mentioned there was a potential All-Star on this summer league roster, and I do think Sekou will get there. In Vegas this next week, Sekou will show us his potential with his ball handling and strong finishing ability at the rim, plus his better than advertised jump shot. We will all see his current intriguing skills on display, not to mention that monstrous potential many people think he has.