DeAndre Liggins had 20 points and seven assists in the Pistons' final summer league game on Friday. (John Raoux / Associated Press)
Orlando, Florida — The Pistons’ summer league team finished up with a 3-2 record after a 96-87 loss to the Orlando Magic Friday at Amway Center.
The team looked sluggish from the start, almost dead-legged from the two-a-days of practice followed by the summer league schedule, as they fell behind by 24 in the third quarter before cutting the lead to seven with two minutes left in the fourth.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who led the summer league in scoring entering Friday’s game, scored just 12 in 26 minutes, shooting 4-of-13 from the field.
Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins made cases for training camp invites in two months, with Harper scoring 16 with eight rebounds and Liggins leading the Pistons with 20 points and seven assists.
Liggins played mostly point guard although he’s a natural small forward, and led the comeback that came up short.
The Magic backcourt of Victor Oladipo and rookie point guard Elfrid Payton ran circles around the Pistons with their aggressive play, while Detroit native Roy Devyn Marble (Iowa, Southfield-Lathrup) looked to be quite a find at the bottom of the draft with 16 points and five rebounds.
Oladipo scored 22 with five rebounds and four assists, while Payton showed excellent court vision and feel for the game with 18 points and eight assists.
Pistons summer league coach Bob Beyer felt, despite the result, the tone for how training camp will be run when it jumps off in late September. They ran through several two-a-days, essential considering the lack of continuity and the fact Caldwell-Pope, Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell were the only summer league players with Pistons experience last season.
“Coming in, Stan gave me a lot of freedom to run the practices. I really wanted to simulate our system for how coach Van Gundy wants to do things during the regular season,” Beyer said. “Andre Drummond being here, Kyle Singler being here for practices, really helped them and will help our team. For the other players under contract, it helped them as well.”
Now to Monroe
Turning the page to the future after LeBron James decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the rest of NBA business began to flow fast and furious Friday afternoon.
The Pistons now truly have to figure out their Greg Monroe situation, as the restricted free agent is likely going to have real suitors and possibly an offer sheet coming his way.
The Pistons privately and publicly keep insisting they’re ready for any contingency, and things could get sticky if Monroe actually signs a maximum offer sheet from another team.
The franchise likely would want to keep Monroe in the $12 million annual range, with the deal signed by Wizards center Marcin Gortat being used as a baseline.
The Pistons have around $8 million in cap space figuring in Monroe’s cap hold, so they can attempt to take care of other needs before officially signing minimum-salaried acquisitions Cartier Martin and Aaron Gray to their two-year deals.
Van Gundy will return to Detroit in short time, where prized free-agent guard Jodie Meeks will come to town Monday.