– Michael Bramos: Bramos is a Greek wing who recently finished his senior season at the University of Miami, Ohio. (It was news to me that there were two Miami’s. Seems unnecessary.) On offence, he’s largely an outside shooter since he does not much dribble in traffic, but he’s not a great shooter, shooting 40% from the field and 36% from the three-point line in his senior season. He’s pretty athletic and very strong for an off-guard (standing 6’5 and 221lbs, which is pretty heavy for a man that height), and he also has a hell of a wingspan that gets about the place on defense. These reasons and more are why Europe is his inevitable destiny; that and the door-opening Greek passport, obviously.
– Will Bynum: Last year was a strange one for Will Bynum. Michael Curry played him and played him and played him and played him for three months, and he struggled. Then, in March, Bynum somehow broke out. He became able to get to the rim at will, and drained 21-footers like he’d never been able to do prior. Eventually, he became a key contributor for the Pistons, had a 32-point 7-assist game versus Charlotte, and averaged nearly 12 points per game for Detroit in the playoffs. And now Pistons fans are grateful that Bynum’s going to be on their roster and earning the minimum salary next year.
– Austin Daye: Detroit bailed out Daye’s decision to declare too early by picking him 15th overall this year, a pick with which I am not overly fond. They clearly see more in this athletic jump shooting specialist than I do. (This is a position that, in the long run, I am willing to modify. I admit that I didn’t see a lot of Daye in his college career. But I also didn’t see a lot in him, either. Yes, he might be the next poor man’s Rudy Gay, but remember something; Rudy Gay isn’t as good offensively as advertised. It’s physical profile rather than plus footwork or moves. To be a lesser version of that might mean to be a shooter only.)
– Ibrahim Jaaber: it’s quite the surprise to see Jaaber on here, in amongst the undrafted talent and regurgitated D-League talent that so permeates summer league rosters. Jaaber has become a star in Europe recently; as a starting guard for Lottomatica Roma last season, he averaged 14.1 points, 2.6 assists and 2.5 steals in the Italian league. But clearly the NBA is on his mind, or he wouldn’t be going to down the summer league route. He is capable of a way bigger stage and way more money than this. Still, good luck to him. It’s the American dream.
Ibrahim Jaaber fact: Ibrahim Jaaber, a Brooklyn native who has never played in Bulgaria, has a Bulgarian passport. So does Olympiacos and former Grizzlies forward Mike Batiste. And Chicago Bulls draft pick Mario Austin was offered one, but gallantly refused it.
– Jonas Jerebko: Jerebko was one of twelve small forwards drafted by the Pistons this year, but since they’re apparently going to sign Deron Washington to a guaranteed deal (which I’ll believe when I see it), then it looks like there’s no spot for Jerebko to come over this season, even if Walter Sharpe is dumped. Jerebko averaged 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds for Angellico Biella last season, but still needs to improve his dribbling and his jump shot. So keeping him overseas seems like the best thing to do. At least give Dajuan Summers the opportunity to flame out first.
– Dwayne Jones: Considering that the Pistons currently only have Kwame Brown at centre, and that Dwayne Jones is NBA calibre-ish, then you have to think that he has a decent chance of making the roster at some point, unless he completely screws the pooch. Jones played 49 minutes with the Bobcats last year, totalling 12 points, 12 rebounds and 6 fouls, and also played seven minutes in Turkey, totalling 1 point, 1 rebounds and 3 fouls for Efes Pilsen. He spent most of the season in the D-League, playing for three teams; the Iowa Energy (1 game, 1 point, 1 rebound, 4 fouls), the Idaho Stampede (12 games, averaging 14.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks) and the Austin Toros (22 games, 17.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 1.2 blocks). He’s never significantly developed his offence on the interior, and is now 26, but he’s a good-enough player through his length and activity to be in the NBA, and he seems to have picked his summer league team wisely. Good chance here.
– Andre Owens: Owens is a former Jazz and Pacers guard who spent last year as one of the two American imports for Crvena Zvezda, the other one being Lawrence Roberts. Those two were also the two oldest players on the team, as the roster outside of them was made up almost exclusively of Serbian and Bosnian youngsters, most of whom will be draft candidates one day soon. (And some of them, including Nemanja Bjelica and Elmedin Kikanovic, are slated to be second-rounders next year. But more on them later.) As the veteran star on the team, a role that he’s never had anywhere before, Owens averaged 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists in the EuroCup, doing a little bit of everything and shooting fairly well from outside the arc. But Detroit might not have the room for him.
– Trent Plaisted: Plaisted playsted with Jerebko at Angellico Biella last year, which may explain why Detroit zoned in on JJ so early. However, Trent only played in two games with the team – both in October – before being injured and missing the rest of the season. I don’t know what his injury was, because I can’t read Italian (although I do know that coglioni = balls), but the fact that he was sent overseas for a year and yet missed almost all of the year due to injury would imply that a second year abroad is on the cards.
– Walter Sharpe: Sharpe barely played for the Pistons last year, totalling 20 minutes, yet spent hardly any time in the D-League. When he did finally play in four games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, he kind of struggled, averaging only 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds. The Pistons drafted three small forwards last year, which also can’t bode well for Sharpe’s chances. But his guaranteed contract for next year might be his saviour.
– Dajuan Summers: Pistons GM Joe Dumars almost picked Summers at #15, and was happily surprised when Summers fell to their second pick at #35. Not sure why, though, since the only obvious plus NBA skill the guy has is shooting. It’s nice to be athletic and strong, like he is, but if you can’t/won’t penetrate, and if you can’t/won’t consistently play defence, then that’s worth a whole lot. Still, Summers has potential, and should make the roster. He will have to improve the defense to make it twice.
– Clay Tucker: Tucker was on the Cavaliers team last year, where he was so keen to demonstrate his scoring ability that he didn’t make one single pass. He started last year with BC Kyiv, but left when the team released all of its foreign players due to bankruptcy. He then closed out the year in Spain, where he averaged 17.5 points per game for Cajasol Sevilla. Despite now being 29 and having had several goes at it, Tucker has still never gotten an NBA contract, and this time might not work out either. He can score, though.
– Deron Washington: Washington, supposedly, has a guaranteed contract lined up for next season, which isn’t something I’m prepared to believe right now. If he does, though, then that’ll be something of a surprise. Washington played in Israel last year, averaging 14.1 points and 7.0 rebounds for Hapoel Holon, but he still can’t shoot well, and, given their recent draft which I’ve kind of overrelied on lately, you can see how Detroit may have had other options at the small forward spot. And Arron Afflalo’s presence negates any spot minutes that Washington might have gotten as a big two guard. And that’s why I don’t really believe it. But I’ll report it if it happens.