Summer Camp Roster: A look at the hopefuls
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ORLANDO – It’s one of those rare years where the Pistons won’t have a drafted rookie suiting up for their Summer League team. The focus, instead, will be on the three second-year Pistons – Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, Tony Mitchell and Peyton Siva.
Caldwell-Pope figures to be fighting for a rotation spot entering his second season, perhaps even the starting shooting guard job. Mitchell’s contract for his second season is guaranteed, but he understands that he needs to make an impression on Stan Van Gundy over the next week. Peyton Siva, drafted 56th last year, also will be under pressure to perform. The Pistons hold an option on Siva’s contract and Summer League could be the deciding factor.
Beyond the three Pistons under contract, here are the rest of the players who’ll be looking to earn an invitation to an NBA training camp or win a contract outside the NBA with their Summer League performances:
Brian Cook – The 24th pick in the 2003 draft – Cook played for the Lakers in the 2004 NBA Finals won by the Pistons as a rookie – Cook has been out of the league since last playing for Washington late in the 2011-12 season. He was waived by the Wizards in 2012 and by Utah in 2013 at the end of training camp.
Tim Ohlbrecht – A German native who played three games with the Houston Rockets last season and finished the season winning the D-League championship with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In six playoff games, Ohlbrecht averaged 7.5 points and 6.0 rebounds a game in 21 minutes for Fort Wayne. Ohlbrecht, 25, is 6-foot-11. He played in the 2013 D-League All-Star game, his first year in the league after playing professionally in Germany. He was a member of the 2008 German Olympic team that included Dirk Nowitzki.
Justin Harper – Harper, a stretch four, was the 32nd pick in the 2011 NBA draft by Orlando – one spot ahead of Kyle Singler, taken by the Pistons. Like Singler, Harper signed during the lockout to play overseas. He returned to Orlando when the lockout ended and played in 14 games. The Magic waived him late in training camp entering his second season. He’s played in the D-League and in Israel’s Super League since then. Last season, he averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 32 percent from the 3-point line for Hapoel Tel Aviv.
David Lighty – A 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward who most recently has played professionally in France, Lighty is probably best remembered as a part of Ohio State’s No. 1-rated 2006 recruiting class headlined by Greg Oden, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook, all of whom became first-round draft choices after one season in the Big Ten. He was viewed as a glue guy and a terrific athlete and defender. Some felt Lighty’s future was brightest in football coming out of high school. He sat out one year at Ohio State with a knee injury and left undrafted in 2011, first playing in Italy. With Nanterre last season, Lighty was second on the team in minutes played at 26 a game, averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.
DeAndre Liggins – A teammate of ex-Piston Brandon Knight at Kentucky for one season, Liggins entered the 2011 NBA draft after his junior year and was taken 53rd overall by Orlando. He spent his second season with Oklahoma City and last year got two 10-day contracts with Miami, spending most of the season in the D-League, where he was an All-Star and D-League Player of the Year while being voted to the All-D-League second team. He can play either shooting guard or small forward.
Christian Watford – Watford went undrafted out of Indiana in 2013 and played for Hapoel Eilat in the Israeli Super League last season. He averaged 9.8 points and 5.2 rebounds while playing 26 minutes a game. At 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, Watford, like Harper, is a stretch four.
Jordan Heath – A four-year college player out of Canisius, Heath went undrafted, which wasn’t unexpected. He averaged 10.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 28 minutes a game as a Canisius senior. Heath, at 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, might also be auditioning for a role as a stretch four. He took 3.2 3-point shots a game as a senior and made 42.1 percent of them.
Tristan Spurlock – Spurlock started his college career at Virginia but transferred and spent his last three seasons at Central Florida. At 6-foot-8, 230 pounds, Spurlock has solid perimeter skills and an ideal NBA frame. He averaged 11.0 points and 5.5 rebounds as a senior and shot 33 percent on 4.5 3-point attempts per game.
Markel Starks – Starks, a 6-foot-2 point guard, was considered a borderline second-round prospect but went undrafted out of Georgetown despite a standout senior season in which he averaged 17.3 points and 4.1 assists per game. The Hoyas suffered gutting frontcourt losses and Starks had to carry the offense, rarely leaving the floor. That might explain the dip in his 3-point shooting from 42 percent as a junior to 33 percent last season.
Damion James – The 24th pick in the 2010 draft after four seasons as a cornerstone of a then-rising Texas program, James’ career was derailed by a broken foot suffered as a rookie that eventually required surgery to insert a screw. As a result, he’s played only 39 games over four seasons, including five last season with San Antonio. At 6-foot-7, 225 pounds, James projected as a physical small forward who played above-average defense. If his foot is healthy, he’s an intriguing prospect.
Ian Miller – A four-year product of Florida State, Miller is more a combo guard than a pure point at 6-foot-3 and nearly 200 pounds. He hit 40 percent of his 3-point shots and 87 percent of his free throws as a senior, when he averaged 13.7 points and 2.8 assists.