(photo – NBA.com)
In his first game action since his marquee performance in the national championship victory over Michigan, former Card Peyton Siva more than held his own in his professional debut for the Detroit Pistons. After being selected with the 56th overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, Siva still needed to earn a roster spot. While it is an honor to just be drafted at all, being selected in the late 2nd round is really the equivalent of a team inviting a player to a tryout. Siva has drawn serious interest from the Pistons and Team President Joe Dumars, but he still has to prove worthy on the court. He is off to a great start after posting a stat line of 6 points, 6 assists, 4 steals, 4 rebounds and just 1 turnover in a summer league opening win over the Brooklyn Nets and first year coach Jason Kidd.
In 26 minutes of playing time, he played very strong against his counterpart Tyshawn Taylor, who is in his second year out of Kansas. Taylor is a bigger, stronger guard than Siva, but that is what he will see on a regular basis in the NBA. While Taylor did manage 17 points, Siva helped force him into 6 turnovers to just 1 assist. According to many who watched, Siva could have easily had several more than just 6 assists, but his teammates could not hit water if they fell out of a boat. One of those who had a rough shooting night was 1st round pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who went just 1-10 from the field. Siva also had a +6 +/- rating, and while he missed on both shot attempts, he was 6-8 from the free throw line. Many will remember that a common criticism of Siva over the past year was his inability at times draw contact and get to the free throw line. If he continues to play like he did in his debut as well as get to the free throw line, he is in very good shape to earn that roster spot.
The main criticism of his game came from Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News, who claimed Siva was a little shaky at times and picked up his dribble too much.
In other Cards in the NBA news, former Cards sharpshooter Kyle Kuric had a nice debut for the Oklahoma City Thunder summer squad as he had 8 points in just 9 minutes of playing time. He hit 2 threes and was 2-2 from the foul line. I would still say he is a long shot to make a roster at this point, but that is certainly an impressive debut. Kuric’s former Cards teammate Samardo Samuels is also aiming for a return to the NBA after being cut loose by the Cavs this past year. He will be playing for the Los Angeles Clippers summer league team starting this Friday after posting a stat line of 12.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in Israel this past season.
Good luck to Siva and the other former Cards as they continue to go to work in hopes of earning an NBA uniform.