NBA teams can have 15 players on their regular season roster but they can only suit up 12 of them as active players on game night. If you have a full roster, like the Detroit Pistons do, you will have to leave three guys in as street clothes at the end of the bench for every game, barring injuries of course.
So with the Pistons’ full 15-man roster, who will be spending time choosing their wardrobe, and who will be anxiously waiting to tear off their warm-ups on game night?
It’s easy to point out a few of the players who probably won’t make the rotation or the 12-man roster right off the bat. Josh Harrellson appears to have some desirable traits for an NBA player, but he’s clearly the lowest man on the totem pole of Pistons’ bigs. He’ll likely be showing off the clothes in his closet more than anything else this season.
Peyton Siva likely won’t see much playing time either. Taken at the tail end of the second round of the draft, Siva wasn’t a lock to make the team, let alone the rotation. It wasn’t until the Pistons shipped enough players out in the Brandon Jennings deal that there was even room for Siva on the roster, and he hasn’t looked good in his small amount of preseason playing time thus far either.
That leaves only one man left to be tailored. We have yet to see Luigi Datome this preseason, but he is apparently battling a nagging hamstring injury. Even so, Datome possesses something the Pistons may sorely need this season: shooting. Datome’s potent jump shot is among the best on the team, if not the best, so it’s hard to see him sporting a suit coat simply in case the Pistons find themselves in a position to hit clutch free throws or nail down a game-tying three pointer late in the game.
Charlie Villanueva could be playing himself out of a rotation spot, but he also possesses a shot and a large expiring deal that the Pistons will probably be looking to trade at some point. Unless he plays so incredibly bad or becomes such a locker room frustration that the Pistons can’t justify putting him on the floor at all, Villanueva will probably be ready to play at a moment’s notice every night. Rodney Stuckey’s contract puts him in the same situation, and he isn’t playing poorly enough to fall completely out of the rotation anyway.
That leaves Will Bynum, rookie Tony Mitchell and Jonas Jerebko. Of these three players, only one of them stands out to me. Tony Mitchell has a lot of potential and intrigue surrounding his game, but much like Siva, the fact remains he is a second-round draft pick with some seasoning to go through before he is ready to contribute regularly. The team has a lot more financially invested in Bynum and Jerebko as well. Unless Mitchell outperforms Jerebko and Villanueva by leaps and bounds, he will probably be watching from the sidelines in his finest garments.
This doesn’t mean that Harrellson, Siva and Mitchell won’t have their opportunities to see the court this year. An NBA season is a long, 82-game marathon filled with injuries, illnesses, trades and team rules violations. Although they may not be one of the top 12 to start the season, there is no telling what might happen that could thrust them from being suited up with loafers to suited up with sneakers.