Anthony Tolliver, a player highly respected by everyone throughout this Pistons’ roster, was brought back by Stan Van Gundy this offseason after the team showed a lack of effort and focus this past season without a steady veteran presence in the locker room. However, the 32-year-old and 10-year NBA veteran is coming back to Detroit for more than just a veteran presence. In his lone season with the Sacramento Kings, Tolliver showed that he can still contribute on the court as well, putting up seven points and nearly four rebounds a contest while shooting a very respectable thirty-nine percent from long range. While not being the stoutest defender, as he lacks the athleticism and foot speed to become one, his 6’8, 240-pound frame grants him the versatility to guard both forward positions, a huge positive in this switch heavy NBA.
Just as he was in his first stint with the Pistons, Tolliver will slide back into the backup forward spot, playing time at both forward spots behind two of Tobias Harris, Stanley Johnson, and Jon Leuer. He comes back as virtually the same player as when he left, possibly even getting slightly better with age, shown by his uptick in scoring and shooting percentages last season. He’ll provide some much-needed shooting off the pine for Detroit this season, as that was one of the many abilties this Pistons team lacked a year ago.
While Tolliver won’t be vital to the Pistons’ success on the court, although his floor spacing is definitely important, it will be his presence off the court that should give this team a boost where they needed it most. Evidenced by being named “best teammate” for the team in 2016, it’s not hard to tell that his fellow Pistons are ecstatic to have him back, where he proved to not only be a leader for the team, but also a favorite among fans in his two seasons in Detroit.
As for expectations, I’m expecting Tolliver’s role to fluctuate based on the performance of his teammates, specifically fellow forwards Johnson and Leuer, albeit the former struggled mightily all-around in his sophomore season while the latter failed to provide what he was brought in to do. For both players, however, I’m expecting a jump in production, especially Johnson. With that being said, I expect Tolliver to play around fifteen minutes a game, while contributing around five points and three rebounds a game, along with the aforementioned leadership role.
Everyone rejoice, the Tolliver Effect is back in full swing!
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