While it wasn’t the most flashiest move the Detroit Pistons made last summer, it was one that was supposed to upgrade their shooting, especially from beyond the arc.
With the likes of Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings headlining the Hail Mary pass that former president Joe Dumars threw out, bringing in the reigning Italian League MVP, Luigi Datome was the cherry on top to their aggressive offseason.
However, Datome’s talent was rarely showcased last season during the team’s horrendous campaign in which they missed out of the playoffs for the fifth straight year as a result of a 29-53 record.
While only seeing the floor for an average of seven minutes, Datome averaged 2.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and .3 assists in 34 games played.
His three-point percentage of 17.9% and field goal percentage of 35.1% was a steep decline during his first year in the NBA, compared to 48.1% from downtown during last summer’s EuroBasket competition.
Spending most of the time sitting on the bench while watching his statistics falter clearly wasn’t the year that Datome expected, which was why FC Barcelona felt that there was an opportunity to take the Italian away from the United States.
According to Italian news outlet La Gazzetta dello Sports, the 26-year old declined an offer from the Spanish club and has decided to stick it out with the Pistons for another year.
“I want to play at least one more year in the NBA. This is the reason why I have signed for two seasons with the Pistons because several players have difficulties during their rookie seasons” said Datome. “It is great to know that one of the most important basketball teams in Europe is interested in me. They did not offer me and we did not have any negotiation but I talked with my agent and we decided together to remain in NBA”
If Detroit didn’t clean house this offseason by getting rid of Dumars, Maurice Cheeks and John Loyer and replacing them with Stan Van Gundy, I truly believe that Datome would be back competing in the Euroleague.
It was obvious that both Cheeks and Loyer weren’t convinced that Datome could help them win basketball games. But considering that Van Gundy loves to space out the floor and have shooters by his side, Datome could very well find a role as an everyday contributor behind Kyle Singler and Smith.
Luigi’s first attempt in the NBA was less than stellar, far below the expectations that were originally put on him. However, with Van Gundy holding the reins, Datome’s career in the league should take off in a positive direction.