The young players of the Detroit Pistons will have a busy summer. The pandemic took away important development opportunities last season — including the Summer League and the G League season. Soon, they will have an opportunity to make up for lost time, and show the coaches and the fans what they can do on the floor.
According to the announcement made by the League in May, between 8th and 17th August Las Vegas will host Vegas Summer League. The Pistons have some recent summer success, and this year could be their best team ever. Last time they were able to participate, the Pistons had so much fun with a team based on Bruce Brown, Sekou Doumbouya, Svi Mykhailiuk and Khyri Thomas. Yea, point Bruce, Sekou’s flashes, Svi’s all around play and Khyri’s seven triples in one game were nice. But, even though we couldn’t complain then, this year Pistons play could be absolutely stunning.
This offseason Motor City’s summer team consists of: Saddiq Bey, Sekou, Killian Hayes, Saben Lee, Deividas Sirvydis, Cade Cunningham and two of this year’s second rounders, Luka Garza and Balsa Koprivica, plus some additional pieces eager to earn roster spots in new G League franchise, the Motor City Cruise. Those include sharpshooter Spencer Littleson, Anthony Tarke, John Petty, Blake Francis and Jamorko Pickett.
Sadly, Isaiah Stewart will be unavailable after sustaining a foot injury while practicing with Team USA as part of the Select Team, and second-round pick Isaiah Livers is still recovering from a foot injury. Two-way player Chris Smith is also rehabbing from injury and unavailable.
Koprivica is also not yet on the roster, but should be added after the trade with the Charlotte Hornets goes through, and he should be available for all five games.
Detroit will play at least four games as part of Summer League, including three on nationally televised cable stations and one on NBA TV.
- Sunday, Aug. 8, 8:30 p.m.: Oklahoma City Thunder (ESPN2)
- Tuesday, Aug. 10, 9 p.m.: Houston Rockets (ESPN)
- Friday, Aug. 13, 8 p.m.: New York Knicks (NBATV)
- Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 p.m.: L.A. Lakers (ESPN2)
There will also be an additional game that could include vying for the championship provided they finish with a top-2 record.
All eyes will be set on the Tuesday matchup that sees No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham face No. 2 pick Jalen Green and the Houston Rockets. But there is plenty of fun to be had on the schedule, including Aleksej Pokusevski and the Thunder to kick things off.
This is Going to Be Fun
Translating this into the language of greater summer fun, that means that in Las Vegas we could see the Pistons playing their two incumbent starters (Saddiq and Killian), one almost surefire starter (Cade Cunningham) and two players looking to make strong cases to be in the rotation (Sekou, Saben). The team will also offer up a chance for our first look at a couple second-round big men (Balsa and Garza) as well as a couple of hoopers who could be heading to the Motor City Cruise. So it’d be like watching Pistons regular season games, especially those from the second part of the season when the youth took over the team.
Mentioned Motown’s youngsters will be deep into their summer regimes, or even about to catch their form for the next season as the training camp will be a few weeks away. So the glimpses of their summer work should be on display. This mean even more fun. Just imagine the excitement of watching Saddiq with improved finishes around basket, Killian with health, strength and better conditioning, Saben with some shooting, Dave with all it takes to make his 16 points in the first half against Denver Nuggets in one of the last games of the ending season a norm, and the rooks we’re about to select showing already that they belong. Also, Cade Cunningham in a Detroit Pistons (Summer League) uniform!
This easily could be one of the best Summer League teams in history, a Dream Summer Team, if you will. And if all will go according to the plan this summer, its members could then become crucial contributors on up and coming NBA franchise. The youngsters are fully aware of this: “We want to win Summer League. We want to go undefeated. We want to gel. I want everyone feeling like they left Summer League a better and bigger piece to the team”, said Cunningham.
Let’s get to work.