The Detroit Pistons mixed up a number of players as they assessed their final place on the roster. With training camp right around the corner, they made a decision.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday that the Pistons had converted Luka Garza’s two-way contract into a full deal with the NBA. We don’t know how much Garza will win, but the two-year NBA minimum looks likely for Iowa’s 52nd overall pick.
It’s a good deal for both parties. Garza, the 2021 Naismith Male Player of the Year, is the type of big guy who will struggle and, at times, excel in today’s NBA. His cement shoes are going to make him a handicap in defense, but his size as a rebounder and potential as a shooter at 40% of 3-point territory make him a cross that you can deploy in good clashes.
Two-way players were given unlimited time on the NBA roster last season due to the pandemic shortened season. That’s why we’ve seen Saben Lee so much. That would not have been the case this season as the league returns to the limit of 45 days spent with the big club.
So that allows Garza to play in the G League with the Motor City Cruise, but also provides unlimited time in the NBA if he needs it or proves worthy. It also locks him in Detroit for the next two seasons, showing the team views him as a coin with some future value.
I think there is a luck he ends up being a central version of Doug McDermott with a dusty poor man’s Enes Kanterâ¦ or maybe he’s just a Henry Ellenson who can actually shoot? Either way, it’s a low risk bet to lock Garza up and see what happens.
The guy is a HARD worker, and it’s a good culture all his own.
It’s not unrealistic that if / when this season crashes at the end of the year, and the Pistons go super young tanking for another high pick, Garza gets legitimate minutes and shows big (and hollow ) score numbers on the home stretch.
As for places in either direction, I guess it will come down to starting striker Chris Smith, summer league star Jamorko Pickett or recently signed Cassius Stanley.