The Detroit Pistons held a free agent mini-camp on Wednesday. Headlined by Pierre Jackson and Manny Harris, 17 free agents attended the mini-camp. Here’s some quick info on all players who participated.
Pierre Jackson- PG
Standing at just 5’11”, Jackson is a small point guard but can score the ball in bunches. He averaged 22.5 points per game with the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League last season, along with 7.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. He shot 37.2 percent from the three-point line. Jackson earned multiple 10-day contracts with the Dallas Mavericks throughout the season as well. With the Mavs, Jackson averaged 4.4 points and 2.4 assists per game in about eleven minutes per game.
Back in February of 2014, Jackson scored 58 points in a D-League game.
Darius Morris- PG
The former Michigan guard had another impressive season in the D-League last year with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and seems to be on the cusp of making a return to the NBA. Morris averaged 20 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.3 assists per game last season. Morris, 26, said today that his jump shot has improved over the last few years. He shot 33 percent from deep with Rio Grande Valley.
Cat Barber- PG
After going undrafted in last year’s draft, Barber spent a season in the D-League with the Delaware 87ers before being traded to the Greensboro Swarm. With the Swarm, Barber averaged 18.8 points and 5.5 assists per game. Barber is a tenacious scorer despite his 6’1″/175-pound frame. He did, however, average 3.1 turnovers per game last year, the 8th most in the D-League.
Trey Freeman- PG/SG
Freeman went to training camp and played in the preseason with the Detroit Pistons last year before being cut prior to the beginning of the season. Freeman joined the drive, where the Pistons hoped he’d develop his point-guard skill-set.
Head Coach of the Drive, Rex Walters told PalaceOfPistons the following prior to the beginning of the D-League season.
“He’s your picture perfect development guy. He’s a natural scoring guard.He’s learning the point guard role and there’s not a better guy in the D-league to learn it from than Ray (McCallum). We do want scoring from him, but we also want him to develop his pick and roll game, his ability to run the offense. We think that that is really important for him backing up Ray (McCallum). He didn’t get a lot of reps at training camp playing point guard. The only thing he needs is that he needs to get reps playing the point guard position. That’s where he needs the most development right now and it’s just about getting him more reps there at practice.”
Freeman averaged 5.7 points and 2.2 assists per game with the Drive.
Travis Trice- G
The former Michigan State Spartan has spent two seasons in the D-League with the Westchester Knicks and has impressively showcased scoring and playmaking talents. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last year. He also shot a highly efficient 51.6 percent from the three-point line. He also averaged just 1.8 turnovers per game. Trice’s season went somewhat unnoticed, but it was a quality year for the 6’2″ guard.
John Jenkins- G
Jenkins is one of the few NBA veterans on this list, but he is knocking on the door of returning to the NBA. The 6’6″ shooting guard can shoot the lights out of the ball. He shot 38.6 percent from deep while averaging 20.9 points per game last year with the Westchester Knicks. He last played for the Pheonix Suns.
Marcus Thronton- G
Thornton, another NBA veteran, is hoping to stick in the NBA after playing last season with the Washington Wizards. He averaged 6.6 points in 33 games. The career 35.8 percent shooter from deep shot 35 percent throughout the 2016-2017 campaign.
Manny Harris- SG
Harris, in my opinion, was the marquee player out of the free agents at the mini-camp. He averaged 26 points and over seven rebounds per game last year with the Texas Legends. He also earned a 10-day contract with the Mavericks, although he was unable to stick with them. He can score with the best of them, as he was among league leaders in points per game.
Tokoto played with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers last season, where he averaged 13.1 points per game. Tokoto has many tools that will translate to the NBA, such as his freak athleticism and defensive potential, but will need to improve his shooting to earn a NBA roster spot. Last season he shot just 33 percent from the three-point line.
C.J. Williams- SG/SF
Simmons is a bit undersized for a small forward, standing at just 6’5″ but that did not stop him from having a solid year with the Texas Legends last season. He averaged 12.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He shot 38.2 percent from deep. He is 27 years old.
Marcus Simmons- SG/SF
Simmons joined the Grand Rapids Drive mid-season. He came off the bench on a team that was mostly built around sharp-shooting wings. He averaged 5.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Simmons has room to grow as a shooter, as he shot just 30.6 percent from three last year. He is 29 years old.
Rosco Allen F/C
After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft, Allen decided to play professional basketball. The 6’9″ combo big averaged 10.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. The Hungarian is just 24 years old.
Ben Bentil- PF
After being drafted by the Boston Celtics in last year’s draft, Bentil spent time in China before joining the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. With the Mad Ants, Bentil averaged 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Bentil stands at 6’9″ and weighs about 240 pounds. Based on upside, Bentil might outrank everyone else at the camp. He is just 22 years old.
Norvele Pelle- C
Pelle is a bit of an unknown player, spending multiple seasons overseas. He went undrafted in the 2013 NBA Draft after forgoing college. He signed to play at North Carolina State but was unable to meet academic requirements. He is listed at 6’9″.
Jordan Morgan- PF/C
Morgan was the third and final former Wolverine that was a part of the mini-camp today. He played overseas with GS Kymis last season. He averaged 11.6 points and nine rebounds per game. It was his best season of his professional basketball career. It was his third season overseas. Morgan is a bit undersized as a big man, standing at 6’8, but his basketball IQ and toughness help make up for his physical shortcomings.
Eric Moreland- C
Moreland was a double-double machine with the Canton Charge last season, where he averaged 12.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. He also averaged 2.7 blocks and 1.8 steals per game. The former Sacramento King draft pick was extremely impressive and might be the best big man of the group that worked out with Detroit. Moreland will likely be on an NBA roster come next season.
Henry Sims- C
Sims was a member of the Grand Rapids Drive before he was traded to the Salt Lake City Stars prior to the 2016-2017 campaign. Sims, 27, has NBA experience as he has spent time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets. With the Stars, he averaged 17 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Sims needs to improve his efficiency, as he shot just about 46 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from the three-point line.
The Pistons are low in cap space as free agency rolls around this summer and could fill a roster spot cheaply by signing one of these players. Detroit was able to get a good look at some of the cheaper talents at each position with the mini-camp they held.
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