25-year-old forward Luigi Datome will be playing his first season in the NBA this year with the Detroit Pistons. The pistons signed the 6’8” Italian to a two-year $3.5 million contract this summer, making Datome another solid addition among several more high profile additions the Pistons made this summer with guys like Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings.
Datome has played professionally in Italy since 2003, when he was just 16 years old. As he plays for Italy’s National Team at Eurobasket 2013, it’s pretty clear that he has picked up a great deal in his already relatively long professional career in Europe.
Through eight games with the Italians, Datome has been arguably their most impressive and consistent player. He’s averaged 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 0.8 steals in 29.9 minutes per game while shooting a solid 48.8 percent from the floor and a nice 41.7 percent from beyond-the-arc. Datome has finished in double figures in all but two games, one of which was against Turkey where he struggled and the other against Sweden where he played only 13 minutes.
On Monday against a favored Spain squad, Datome pulled out the biggest play of the game. Down 70-68 with time running out, Datome split a double team on the wing and knocked down a short runner to send the game to overtime, which ultimately led to Italy knocking off the Spanish side.
Datome undoubtedly has the skills to make some waves in the NBA. He’s a fantastic offensive player that has solid rebounding skills on the wing and is far from a liability defensively. Playing behind a totally different player like Smith in Detroit will allow him to make defenses adjust to his style of play, which could lead to him having a lot of solid opportunities. He might not have the workload to have a chance at winning Rookie of the Year, but it’s apparent that he has the skill.
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