The season in the Lithuanian LKL has been concluded. This allows us to make some conclusions about our stashed player, Deividas Sirvydis, development. Deividas played for the second best team in his country, Rytas Vilnius. The team also played in EuroCup, a third-tier pan-European competition, where it stop short of reaching the quarterfinals. When we last checked, Deividas was on fire with his three ball, started to make some handsome drives and showed progress on defense.
In the last part of the season, he added more especially to his defense. He started to play the passing lanes on perimeter and inside. He showed good physical defense with active hands against post ups. However, most of all, he showed some capacity to perform disrupting on-ball defense. As we can see, he made further improvement in his stance and lateral movement, started to be more active with his hands and better navigate through screens.
So we can summarize that on defense, Deividas made quite significant step forward. He plays stronger (he looks as if he has added some weight), with better activity, movement and stance in addition to better awareness we noticed in our earlier reports. Thus, while at the beginning of the season we could worry that he might be too close to Hank Ellenson on defense, now we can only whine that he is a little inelastic when he moves his feet quickly and thus leaves his man too much space when he suddenly makes some countermove – just like some prospect, otherwise a good defender, we discussed a few weeks ago in our draft series. Well, our Lithuanian player might not be able to play defense on this prospect’s level. But he should be able to get to Svi’s, which is not bad.
On the other end of the floor, the news aren’t so propitious… but they aren’t bad either. Deividas cooled off with his long gun and had some ups and downs in limited opportunities he got in his current team. But when he got those, he displayed his ability to connect from long distance, to make strong drives, to move without the ball, and to move the ball. Added to the things we noted in the previous parts of this series, all this gives a glimpse of a player who on offense could provide some scoring punch and (secondary) playmaking on the weak side, in DHOs, pin-downs or cuts. As such, he should find a niche for himself within an offensive system that likes to rely on ball swings on perimeter and player movement, like Dwane Casey’s one.
However to play this role, he needs to get to know better the Pistons’ system. So next season might be a good time to bring him to Grand Rapids to play with the Drive as well as get some burn with the Pistons from time to time. This is more so, since, like was mentioned, in Rytas they don’t give him too much time and a bigger role to play to develop himself further, which is confirmed by his stats showing only a slight year to year increase in minutes and points. Now, when Deividas made some observable improvements in areas we discussed throughout this series, he should be able to hit the ground running in more challenging, but also better educating, conditions of the G-League combined with some NBA (garbage) time.
So, while there might still be some things that won‘t allow to dispel all doubts about trading three SRP for Deividas, we can conclude that during this past season the Lithuanian put himself in a position to cross the threshold of a road leading to becoming a rotational piece for our rebuilding team. If next season he’ll cross this threshold and make some steps on this road, he’ll eliminate another portion of doubts and add another arguments justifying that trade.