In the 2012-2013 NBA season, the Detroit Pistons saw some solid individual performances, but that never amounted to any team success. As they missed the postseason, though, the went into this summer with the plan to load-up and potentially change their fortunes while building around Andre Drummond and, to some degree, Greg Monroe.
As most NBA fans know by now, the Pistons were able to land both Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings in free agency this summer. Though there are obvious questions about how this team will gel, there’s no denying the talent and potential of those two players. However, it’s the signing of 25-year-old rookie Luigi Datome that has me the most interested.
After playing professionally overseas for almost a decade, the Pistons were able to lure Datome to the NBA. Datome showed off some of his skills at Eurobasket 2013 when he was one of the stars for Italy, averaging 13.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 0.8 steals in 31.2 minutes per game while shooting 47 percent from the floor and a terrific 42.9 percent from the floor.
As Datome comes to Detroit, though, he will have to compete for minutes, most likely with Kyle Singler at the backup small forward position. Singler was a starter for Detroit much of last year, but didn’t look too impressive, though he had some good moments. Overall he finished the season as he averaged 8.8 points, four rebounds and 0.7 steals per game while shooting only 42.8 percent from the floor and 35 percent from long-range.
As Singler and Datome are the same age heading into this season, their potential for development is irrelevant in this situation. Essentially, it only matters who can contribute more this season. Personally, I think Datome has the potential to take over the backup small forward role from Singler. He’s a better overall shooter and has the ability to affect the game in more ways than Singler does.
Datome is a prospect that I am high on heading into this season, which heavily influences my opinion on this subject. However, from what I have seen, I think Datome will be able to come in and give the Pistons more productive minutes off of the bench than Singler can. The Pistons, if everything goes right for them this season, could potentially make the playoffs. Datome seems like the better player to help them get there.
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