Auburn Hills — Monday wasn’t an easy day for Zach Lofton.
The clock seemed to move slowly, and he knew the roster deadline was approaching at 5 p.m. Lofton, an undrafted rookie wing, wasn’t competing for a roster spot with the Pistons — he was just hoping to be promoted to a two-way contract that would enable him to play with the Grand Rapids Drive in the development league.
About an hour after practice, he got the good news in coach Dwane Casey’s office.
“They sat me down and explained to me what was happening. I didn’t shout in there — I shouted on the inside,” Lofton said. “I smiled and listened and they were telling me what to do and how to go about things. I was just saying, ‘Yes, sir.’
“I had a smile through it all — I try not to smile but I couldn’t hold it in.”
Lofton, 25, said he couldn’t sleep Sunday night or Monday night and passed the time by talking to his best friend, Jamie, on the phone.
After a solid Summer League and preseason, Lofton earned the spot through his skillful play but also with hard work.
“When he came in against Brooklyn and knocked down a couple shots, we knew the young man was an efficient scorer,” Casey said. “He’s a professional scorer who knows how to score and the one thing that’s impressed us as a coaching staff is his defense.
“He’s an impressive young man from an offensive standpoint and just needs experience and he’ll be good for our program.”
To celebrate, Lofton didn’t get too wild, choosing moderation over splurging.
“I went outside my diet and had some pizza,” he said.
The next steps are continuing to work and hone his craft. He’ll likely spend most of the season with the Drive, where he can earn $35,000 this season, in addition to the bonuses he got from signing an Exhibit 10 contract.