Pistons make a futures bet on Sirvydis, who’ll get a little more seasoning before making the leap to NBA
LAS VEGAS – It might take a while for the Pistons to realize their return on investment for second-round pick Deividas Sirvydis, but if he’s as good as they think he can become it will be a worthwhile wait.
Sirvydis will get a taste of the NBA during Summer League and will work with Pistons coaches throughout the off-season, then after that … well, to be determined. He might return to his pro team in Lithuania or he could spend the season signed to a G League contract and play with the Grand Rapids Drive.
But unless there’s a sharp unexpected turn over the next few months, Sirvydis – who turned 19 only 10 days before the June 20 draft – is unlikely to make his NBA debut in the 2019-20 season.
That’s OK with Sirvydis, who was hoping to be picked by the Pistons after initially just hoping he’d be picked at all after making the decision to enter the 2019 draft despite his youth.
“At first I wanted just to be drafted, but there was a lot of talk around that I should be here,” said Sirvydis, who speaks English confidently and clearly. “I want to be here and I got drafted here, so I’m really happy to be here.”
Dwane Casey had a firsthand source within Sirvydis’ Lietuvos Rytas team in Lithuana in part owner and general manager Linas Kleiza, who played for Casey in Toronto during a seven-year NBA career. At 6-foot-8 with deep shooting range and the promise of an off-the-dribble playmaking game, Sirvydis needs to mature physically but there’s nothing wrong with his frame.
“The first thing everybody talks about is my body,” Sirvydis said. “I need to be stronger, bigger. After that, you need to improve every skill, all the shots, defense, all that stuff.”
“Pretty good skill, got a good shooting touch and he’s got the ability to move the ball,” said Sean Sweeney, Casey’s assistant and coach of the Summer League roster. “So you would think he can probably see the game pretty well as he keeps going.”
Sirvydis, who was drafted with the 37th pick when the Pistons traded up from 45 by using two of four future second-rounders obtained from Cleveland for trading out of the 30th pick, came to the United States to prepare for the draft in early June, upon completion of his season in Lithuana. He’ll return to Los Angeles after Summer League where a number of Pistons make home base and their development coaches take up residence to accommodate off-season workouts.
Sirvydis said he’ll primarily play small forward during Summer League, where second-year player Svi Mykhailiuk will also get minutes, as could undrafted rookie Louis King of Oregon, whom the Pistons have signed to a two-way contract. Even No. 1 pick Sekou Doumbouya could play some at small forward.
Sirvydis admitted to a few butterflies before Tuesday’s first Summer League practice.
“It’s a new thing in my life,” he said. “I was a little bit nervous before the practice because all the new guys, all the new stuff. But I’m excited and it’s a pleasure to be here.”
“Here” might require Sirvydis to spend a little more time “there” before it becomes a permanent thing, but if the Pistons are right about Sirvydis’ potential they’ll be cashing dividends for years.