The Detroit Pistons open up the 2017-2018 NBA season on October 18th, when they’ll debut their new arena against the Charlotte Hornets. Stan Van Gundy will open up the upcoming year with a much different roster compared the one that posted a dreadful 37-45 record last season. The team has five new players, including Eric Moreland, the player I will highlight today in the beginning of our season preview series here at Palace of Pistons. Moreland is a 6’11” big man who last played in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.
Stan Van Gundy decided to sign Eric Moreland to a multi-year contract after a very impressive Summer League performance in Orlando with the Pistons’ Summer League roster. Alongside a talented group of players which included current Pistons Henry Ellenson and rookie Luke Kennard, Moreland stood out amongst the group as a workhorse on both sides of the floor and a 250 bound protector at the rim.
In the 10 days he spent with the Pistons in Orlando, the 25-year-old center displayed an impressive style of play as he averaged 7.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game. He was still able to make a major impact while Ellenson and Kennard held the spotlight.
Eric Moreland with the swat! pic.twitter.com/xiR2uDAhu8
— Palace Pistons (@PalaceOfPistons) July 6, 2017
Throughout Summer League, Detroit was planning on offering Moreland a two-way contract, which would only allow him to be up with the Pistons from the G-League for only 45 days. Once the tournament’s close was nearing Detroit decided they needed to lock him up to a more mutually beneficial deal.
The season ahead for Moreland will most certainly be an interesting one. Andre Drummond controls the starting spot on the center depth chart and the very efficient Boban Marjanovic has Piston fans enamored by his tantalizing size. This means Moreland sits behind both of them as the third center on the depth chart.
While Moreland will struggle for playing time, his skill set could make him very playable, especially under Stan Van Gundy. Moreland prides himself and flourishes on the defensive end of the floor. His abilities vary much differently than Boban, which means in certain situations Moreland could be the center on the floor.
When looking at the potential of Moreland, he most definitely is an interesting case. He suffered multiple injuries early on in his career, including injuries to his foot and shoulder. While he spent two seasons with the Kings, he managed to play in just 11 games over his first two years in the league.
The Pistons have Moreland under control until 2020. What lies in his contract are multiple trigger dates throughout the length of it, meaning the Pistons will have opportunities to waive him and not lose money if they decide to do so. With Moreland’s injury history, having the trigger dates will be beneficial to the Pistons.
Depending on how much Moreland plays, which likely won’t be much, his hard working and gritty demeanor could instantly draw him praise and fandom from fans in Detroit. He’ll get dirty and make impact plays on the defensive end, something Detroit fans grew to love watching the Bad Boys and the Going to Work Pistons.
The amount of impact Moreland will make in the upcoming season is hard to gauge, but he provides Detroit with depth and toughness at the center position.
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