Maurice Cheeks faced a quandary. He needed more shooting in his lineup, he knew that much, and he was pretty sure that nobody offered more of it than Gigi Datome. But how to find minutes for him?
Josh Smith was the prize of Pistons free agency over a transformational summer and his ability to affect games across the spectrum – scoring, playmaking, defending, rebounding – puts him in line for major minutes. Kyle Singler endeared himself to Cheeks from the first day of training camp with his sheer hustle, basketball IQ, size at his position and defensive temperament.
That didn’t leave many minutes – or any, really – for Datome, who came to the Pistons from Italy pigeon-holed as a small forward.
So it was more than a little noteworthy when Cheeks summoned Datome late in the first quarter of Tuesday’s loss to Indiana and sent him back out to start the second along with Singler and Andre Drummond up front. Even though Singler played shooting guard as a rookie until the trade of Taysha...