Auburn Hills — Selecting a guard with their lone draft pick wasn’t a surprise, but taking a point guard seemed to raise a few eyebrows among Pistons fans, especially considering there’s no definitive timetable for when Spencer Dinwiddie will take the floor.
Dinwiddie, a second-round draft pick from Colorado, is recovering from a torn left ACL he suffered in mid-January, an injury that caused him to miss the rest of the regular season — and subsequently costing him numerous draft spots and lots of cash.
“I talked to the coaching staff and they don’t want me to set a direct timetable for my recovery,” he said minutes after being drafted 38th on Thursday. “That’s all I can say right now.”
Dinwiddie will accompany the team to Orlando for Summer League, but will not participate. ACL injuries typically take nine months for full recovery, although every player in every sport handles it differently.
The time it takes for a player to get to full speed also is immeasurable, which is why the Pistons are taking such a cautious approach so expectations aren’t unfairly tabbed upon him.
The Pistons had to like what they saw, to not only in taking a player who won’t hit the floor upon his arrival, but also in resisting the urge to move up into the first round to take a shooter or swingman — two qualities desperately missing from the roster.
“His ability to move the ball, pass the ball and his instincts,” general manager Jeff Bower said, assessing Dinwiddie’s strengths. “He’s got outstanding size for the point-guard position (and) strength. A very good feel for moving the ball, as well as his scoring ability and ability to shoot. He can make plays for people. His instincts are that of a point guard. He has the size that gives him the flexibility to do different things.”
With free-agency approaching, perhaps the Pistons feel they have a good shot at the “nine or 10” free agent targets they’ll dangle a portion of their $13.5 million in cap space.
Considering Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Singler have a combined three years of NBA experience, taking a “shooter” could be too much of a risk because there’s no exact science to how spot-up shooters translate to the pros. And the Pistons aren’t exactly trying to build slowly.
Dinwiddie has the size of a shooting guard, at 6-foot-6, and he was listed as a combo guard in college. But he considers himself “a true point guard.”
“I showed that in college,” Dinwiddie said, via teleconference after the draft. “At the same time, I bring defensive versatility with my size and my shooting.”
There’s a silver lining in this for the Pistons, at least from an evaluation standpoint. It gives them further time to decide on the future of Peyton Siva, their second-round pick last year.
The Pistons have until July 12 before Siva’s contract is fully guaranteed for next season, so Summer League will be big. He came on toward the end of last season when he received extended playing time, but Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy intimated Summer League likely would decide Siva’s future.
Counting Dinwiddie, the Pistons have four point guards on the roster, including Siva, Will Bynum and starter Brandon Jennings. Bynum has one year remaining on his contract and is likely available via trade, having an affordable $2.9 million deal.
Dinwiddie is the tallest of the group, and given his standing as a selection from the Van Gundy-Bower regime, he’ll likely be given every chance to succeed.
Now a game of musical chairs should ensue, as Dinwiddie’s selection probably will produce a domino effect that will play out over the next few weeks.