July 12, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Vincent Goodwill

Pistons' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope still developing but ready to make his mark

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a bright spot for the Pistons in summer league. (John Raoux / Associated Press)

The Pistons' annual excursion to Orlando for summer league is over, and they likely won't reconvene as a whole until training camp begins in late September.

Besides their sixth-place finish and 3-2 overall record, here are a few things to take away from their time there:

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is ready to compete: Before the soon-to-be second year guard ran out of gas and legs on the last two days of summer league, you could make the case he was the MVP of the 10-team competition.

He got his shot off with regularity, drew attention enough from defenses to earn both trips to the line as well as setting teammates up, showing an aptitude and awareness on the floor that wasn't evident last season.

Former Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks openly scoffed at the prospect of calling plays for the rookie last season, believing lack of touches would lead to more activity on both sides of the floor.

Unfortunately for all parties involved, that didn't happen, and Caldwell-Pope went into a shell, and didn't come out even after Cheeks was dismissed.

Now with the addition of Jodie Meeks, Caldwell-Pope has a teammate and technically, an opponent come training camp.

Despite Meeks' deal, Caldwell-Pope will get just as much of a chance to start as the new guy, and he probably is more dynamic -- even though he's still very much developing.

Greg Monroe is still top of everybody's mind: Monroe and his agent, the powerful David Falk, came to Orlando during the summer league practices, to either observe how Stan Van Gundy's program will work in application or to discuss, in person, how this quiet negotiation will go concerning the Pistons' restricted free agent.

Andre Drummond has repeatedly made public and social media overtures toward Monroe, letting everyone know he wants to make everything work with the super-sized frontline.

Front-office executives from other teams had Monroe on the mind, wondering what the Pistons would do, considering they control the process.

The Pistons have been tight-lipped on the issue, saying all the right things. But the longer this goes without so much a peep from either side, the more doubt begins to grow -- from the Pistons' willingness to negotiate on favorable terms with Monroe, to Monroe's willingness to actually be here long-term.

Training camp will be a bear: Two-hour practices for summer league can only mean training camp and in-season practices won't be anything like a country club.

Van Gundy feels like he has to break bad habits, which is a dangerous proposition considering Lawrence Frank had the same goal during his first season, the lockout-shortened 2011-12. The result of those super long practices and drawn-out shootarounds was dead legs, during the start of both seasons Frank was head coach. It doomed him and unfortunately for the players and Frank's own job security, he never drew the line from instilling discipline and running his players ragged.

Van Gundy is certainly a better coach than Frank, so step one of that will likely be his awareness of knowing when to say when -- otherwise the start of next season could be just as rough as Frank's tenure.

Summer league secured a couple invites for some unlikely players: Justin Harper and DeAndre Liggins, players Van Gundy had in his stable in Orlando when he was coaching, seem to fit what the description of what he's looking for in his wings and bigs.

While he has Josh Smith and Monroe on the roster, he prefers big men who can stretch the floor with their shooting, and Harper can do that, while putting the ball on the floor and being more mobile than the traditional stretch fours, it appears.

In Liggins, people forget he was a first-round talent coming out to the draft a few years ago but off-court issues stopped his path.

He proved his versatility by playing backup point guard when Peyton Siva went down with a hamstring injury, and he got better as the last couple days progressed. As a wing defender, he's long enough to play both swing positions adequately and shot well enough to merit a chance to make the roster this fall.