Glenn Robinson III

Pistons: Leuer, Brown, Robinson, Kennard

Injuries have sidetracked Jon Leuer‘s career but the Pistons will likely need him to provide minutes at both frontcourt spots during the upcoming season, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in his latest mailbag. The Pistons have only two true centers and three power forwards on the roster, including Leuer, Langlois notes. He missed most of last season with an ankle injury that required surgery in January, then underwent a knee procedure this summer for a meniscus injury that occurred during a workout. He is expected to be ready by opening night.

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Bruce Brown, one of two second-round picks from this June’s draft on the roster, will have a successful season if he proves he can play multiple positions, Langlois writes in a player profile. Brown will likely spend most of the season playing for the G League’s Grand Rapids Drive, where he could develop his skills at both wing positions and point guard. Offensively, he needs to improve his perimeter shooting and become a better finisher in the paint, Langlois adds.
  • Glenn Robinson III will soon have lunch with Dwane Casey to discuss his role at length but the former University of Michigan standout has a pretty good idea what his new coach wants, Langlois reports in a feature story. Robinson signed a tw0-year, $8.35MM contract with Detroit after an ankle injury wrecked his 2017/18 season with the Pacers. “We’ve got a spread offense,” he said. “My ability to shoot and help our big guys, Dre (Andre Drummond) and Blake (Griffin), my ability to defend, those are the main things I’ve been focusing on this summer – really knocking down that shot for us, being able to make plays for others, but also defending.”
  • Robinson and second-year wing Luke Kennard are the team’s most likely breakout candidates, Langlois opines in his mailbag posting. The timing could be just right for Robinson to emerge as an above-average wing, given his skill set. Kennard shot 40% from the 3-point line as a rookie despite his rotation spot being in flux. Casey’s penchant for spacing and ball movement should play to Kennard’s strengths, Langlois adds.

Central Notes: Parker, G. Robinson, Bullock, McMillan

Signing Jabari Parker away from the Bucks was a low-risk, high-reward move that could significantly raise the Bulls‘ talent level, writes Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders in that site’s season preview for Chicago. Parker got a two-year, $40MM deal that Milwaukee elected not to match. However, only the first season is guaranteed, so the Bulls can treat it like an expiring contract if things don’t work out.

Parker provided some reasons for optimism last season after returning from ACL surgery on his left knee. He averaged 12.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG in 31 games while shooting 48% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. There are still questions about his defense, which may improve after a summer off to rest the knee, and he will have to adjust to the small forward spot in Chicago.

In the same preview, the Basketball Insiders crew tabs rookie Wendell Carter as the Bulls’ best defensive player and states that Fred Hoiberg is finally getting to coach the style of team he envisioned when he took the job.

There’s more today from the Central Division:

  • Glenn Robinson III’s 3-point shooting may help him win a starting job with the Pistons, Keith Langlois of NBA.com notes in a mailbag column. Robinson and Stanley Johnson are the only natural small forwards on Detroit’s roster, and while Johnson is the better defender, Robinson has the size and athleticism to help on that end of the court. New coach Dwane Casey plans to emphasize 3-pointers, which gives Robinson a chance for significant playing time, whether as a starter or reserve.
  • The Pistons could have a tough time keeping Reggie Bullock next summer without making some roster moves to free up cap space, Langlois adds in the same piece. Bullock and  Johnson are both headed toward free agency, but Johnson will be restricted if Detroit makes a qualifying offer. Bullock will be seeking a raise from this year’s $2.5MM salary, and the team already has nearly $105MM committed for 2019/20.
  • Nate McMillan became just the second coach in Pacers history to receive a contract extension when his new deal was announced this week, observes Mark Montieth of NBA.com. McMillan far exceeded expectations last year in leading Indiana to a 48-win season after the team traded away Paul George.

Pistons Notes: Leuer, Griffin, R. Jackson, S. Johnson

Jon Leuer‘s knee surgery this week gives the Pistons a reason to worry about their frontcourt depth, suggests Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Leuer had a procedure done on his right knee Wednesday after suffering a medial meniscus injury. Although it’s considered minor, the team isn’t sure that he’ll be ready for camp, saying his condition will be re-evaluated in late September.

New coach Dwane Casey was counting on Leuer to be his primary reserve big man, backing up Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. But if Leuer’s recovery takes longer than expected, that gives greater responsibility to Henry Ellenson and free agent addition Zaza Pachulia. Ellis notes that Johnny Hamilton, a rookie from Texas-Arlington who was with the Pistons for Summer League, could also be in the mix if he performs well in training camp.

Injury misfortune continues for Leuer, who missed 74 games last season with a left ankle issue that also required surgery. The 29-year-old will make slightly more than $10MM this season and $9.5MM in 2019/20.

There’s more today out of Detroit:

  • There’s reason for optimism about the health of Griffin and Reggie Jackson heading into the new season, Ellis writes in a mailbag column. Neither player had injury issues this summer and they were able to keep up a full workout schedule. The switch to Casey may also help as former coach Stan Van Gundy was known for long, often draining practices. Griffin appeared in 58 games last year between the Clippers and Pistons, missing time with knee and ankle injuries, and hasn’t played more than 67 in the past four seasons. Jackson had a platelet-rich plasma treatment before the start of last season and managed just 45 games.
  • The Pistons may have plans to use free agent addition Glenn Robinson III and Stanley Johnson in the lineup together, Ellis adds in the same piece. Power forward could turn out to be Johnson’s best position, and there will be an opening if Leuer’s injury is worse than expected.
  • Former New Mexico State guard Zach Lofton is excited about the opportunity to join the Pistons for training camp, relays Mark Rudi of The Las Cruces Sun-News. Lofton confirmed the agreement today on Instagram. “I want to thank the Detroit Pistons for the amazing opportunity to be a part of the organization,” he said in a news release. “I also want to thank the amazing support system I’ve had through the years. I’m excited to start this new chapter.”

Pistons Sign Glenn Robinson III

JULY 7: The signing is official, the Pistons announced on Twitter.

JULY 1: The Pistons are finalizing a deal to bring Glenn Robinson III to Detroit, according to Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The pact will be for $8.3MM over two seasons with only the first year guaranteed.

Detroit will be using part of its mid-level exception to accommodate the deal. The franchise is over the cap, committing approximately $115.7MM in salary for the 2018/19 season before factoring in Robinson’s deal.

The University of Michigan product showed some promise during his time with the Pacers over the past three seasons, though injuries robbed him of consistency. He played in just 23 games during the 2017/18 campaign.

The 24-year-old is a career 38.1% marksman from behind the arc. That figure that includes shooting 41.2% on 34 attempts last season. He should be able to compete for a spot in Detroit’s wing rotation, an area that proved to have its issues after the team traded away much of its depth in the Blake Griffin deal.

2018 Free Agent Stock Watch: Indiana Pacers

The Pacers are in an enviable position mere months after it seemed like they were doomed to a long and challenging rebuild. The breakout seasons enjoyed by Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis have helped distract from the absence of Paul George while the all-around contributions of an unheralded, cohesive veteran lineup has put Indiana firmly in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Pacers didn’t make a major splash at the trade deadline and were even asked specifically by players to avoid tinkering with the chemistry in the locker room. While it’s hard to argue that the franchise made the wrong call standing pat with a roster that’s punched above its weight on a nightly basis, the Pacers have a long road ahead of them before they’re considered serious challengers, even in the East.

It’s refreshing to see a team build anew without bottoming out. Solid drafting and some responsible payroll management will help them climb to the next rung on the ladder.Cory Joseph vertical

Cory Joseph, PG, 26 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $29.9MM contract in 2017
Joseph has thrived as the younger half of a point guard tandem charged with the task of helping the Pacers play a faster style of basketball. While he’s ceded the majority of the starts so far this season to Darren Collison, Joseph is a solid rotation piece and possible future starter. It’s likely we’ve already caught a glimpse of his ceiling, so the former Raptors probably won’t draw major money on the open market. That being said, it’s hard to imagine he couldn’t procure a raise if he turns down his 2018/19 player option worth just less than $8MM.

Glenn Robinson III, SF, 24 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.4MM contract in 2015
After breaking into Indy’s rotation in 2016/17, an ankle injury put Robinson III’s latest campaign on hold until after the All-Star Game. The Pacers may see some upside in the former second-round pick, and likely won’t have to outbid many competitors to retain his services should they wish to do so. Assuming the swingman’s health holds up in the final stretch of 2017/18, expect the club to lock him in for at least a few more seasons at an affordable rate. At this stage in the game, the Pacers can justify the low-risk, medium-reward lottery ticket.

Lance Stephenson, SG, 27 (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $12.6MM deal in 2017
While Stephenson’s career took a turn for the worse after he flew the coop in 2014, his return to Indiana has helped restore his value as a professional basketball player. The 27-year-old may not be the irreplaceable triple-double machine the Hornets hoped he would be when they poached him from Indiana four years ago, but he’s a solid rotation piece whose contributions to the Pacers franchise are both mysterious and intangible. Expect the club to bring their enigmatic swingman back on his dirt-cheap $4.4MM team option.

Joe Young, PG, 26 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $5.1MM deal in 2015
The Pacers have never seemed particularly intent on working Young into their rotation. While you could argue that a consistently competitive squad like Indiana may be inherently reluctant to throw big minutes at an inexperienced point guard, he only topped the 20-minute plateau four times during his first two years in the league. The 25-year-old has seen an uptick in usage since Collison went down with a knee injury in early February, but the club may be better off turning down his team option and seeing what else they could do with the roster spot.

Thaddeus Young, PF, 30 (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $53.9MM deal in 2015
Young has established himself as a critical component of this Pacers team and fills the role of do-everything veteran forward admirably. While the almost-30-year-old’s services would be welcomed by several other contending teams, it’s hard to imagine Young’s camp being all that confident they’d land more than $13.8MM in a bear market. If Indiana was knee deep in the turbulent rebuild many expected, it would make sense for Young to take that chance, but given that the opposite is true, I anticipate him accepting the 2018/19 player option and returning as a leader on and off the court.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacers Notes: Turner, Collison, GRIII, McMillan

It has been a somewhat disappointing season for third-year center Myles Turner, who was viewed as a strong candidate to have a breakout year for the Pacers following Paul George‘s offseason departure. Instead, Turner has been slowed by health issues and has seen his numbers decline in several offensive categories this year.

Still, as Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star details, Turner has lost the support of “exactly zero” members of the Pacers’ organization, and remains an important building block for the club’s future. Turner will be extension-eligible for the first time during the offseason.

Here’s more on the Pacers, who currently hold the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference:

  • Mark Montieth of Pacers.com has an in-depth feature on Pacers point guard Darren Collison, who says he feels like he’s been underrated throughout his NBA career. Collison, who has played for five teams in nine NBA seasons, also said he’d like to stick in Indiana a while longer. “I love it here,” Collison said. “If you ask me, I would like to be here a long time. We all know how this business works. You do the best you can and hopefully this is the place. Hopefully I can help these young guys grow.”
  • Currently sidelined with a knee injury, Collison will remain out of action for at least another week, tweets Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. The Pacers will get one injured player back though, as Glenn Robinson III is ready to make his season debut after missing several months with an ankle injury. Monteith has the details at Pacers.com.
  • Clifton Brown of The Indianapolis Star lays out the case for why head coach Nate McMillan deserves his share of the credit for the Pacers’ surprising success this season. “Nate’s been brilliant. Our offensive and defensive strategies this year have been terrific,” said president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard. “Without Nate, we don’t have this. We’re not talking about this. He’s overachieved, and more importantly, he’s put our players in a position where every single night they can succeed.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/5/18

Here are Monday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers assigned swingman Glenn Robinson III to their Fort Wayne affiliate on a rehab assignment and then quickly recalled him, according the team’s website. Robinson has appeared in two G League games and is close to returning after suffering a left ankle injury during the preseason.
  • The Bulls assigned guard Cameron Payne to the Windy City Bulls, the team tweets. Payne has not played for either team this season due to a right foot injury.
  • The Lakers assigned center Thomas Bryant to the South Bay Lakers, according the G League team’s Twitter feed. Bryant has already appeared in 22 games with South Bay, averaging 19.3 PPG and 7.0 RPG.
  • The Blazers recalled rookie forward Caleb Swanigan from the Canton Charge, The Oregonian reports. Swanigan has posted averages of 14.2 PPG and 11.9 RPG in 14 G League games.
  • The Spurs recalled rookie guard Derrick White from the Austin Spurs, according to a team press release. He’s averaged 15.7 PPG, 4.3 RPG and 2.6 APG in 13 games with Austin.
  • The Warriors assigned center Damian Jones to their Santa Cruz affiliate, per team release. Jones has started all 33 games for the G League team, averaging 15.3 PPG and  8.0 RPG.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/4/18

Here are Sunday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Hawks have recalled Tyler Cavanaugh from their G League affiliate, the Erie Bayhawks, according to a press release from the team.
  • The Pacers have recalled swingman Glenn Robinson III from their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, the team announced. He was on a rehab assignment after undergoing surgery on his left ankle in October. Robinson has yet to play in the NBA this season.
  • The affiliate-less Trail Blazers recalled Caleb Swanigan from the G League, the team announced on its website. The big man played 14 games with the Cavs affiliate in Canton and averaged 14.2 points and 11.0 rebounds per game.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/3/18

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers have assigned swingman Glenn Robinson III to their G League affiliate in Fort Wayne, the team announced on its website. He is on a rehab assignment after undergoing surgery on his left ankle in October. Robinson had a career-best season for the Pacers last year, averaging 6.1 points in 69 games. He has yet to play in the NBA this season, but did score 12 points for the Mad Ants on Thursday.
  • The Bucks assigned rookie power forward D.J. Wilson to their Wisconsin affiliate, according to the team website. He has appeared in 18 NBA games, but is averaging just 3.3 minutes per night.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/1/18

Here are Thursday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • Glenn Robinson III continues to work his way back from left ankle surgery, heading on a G League assignment today to play for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers announced in a press release. Robinson played 27 minutes in the day game, picking up 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Rookie Ike Anigbogu joined GRIII on the G League assignment.
  • The Mavericks have assigned Kyle Collinsworth to the G League, per a team release. Collinsworth, who will play for the Texas Legends on Friday, will see his second 10-day contract with the Mavs expire this weekend. Per Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News, the swingman could re-sign with the NBA club after the trade deadline.
  • After racking up 32 points and nailing seven three-pointers for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Wednesday, Troy Williams has been recalled to the NBA by the Rockets, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • The Hawks have sent Tyler Cavanaugh to the G League, according to a press release from the team. If Cavanaugh’s assignment lasts at least through Friday night, he’ll be able to suit up for the Erie BayHawks tomorrow against Long Island.
  • With San Antonio’s affiliate in action tonight, the Spurs have sent Derrick White to the G League, according to a team release. The Austin Spurs have a 9-2 record in games White has played.
  • Rookie center Ante Zizic is headed back to the Canton Charge on an assignment, the Cavaliers announced today in a press release. This will be the ninth G League assignment of the season for Zizic, who has bounced back and forth between Cleveland and Canton all year.
  • The Warriors have recalled Damian Jones from their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz, the team announced in a press release. Jones has started all 33 gamed for Santa Cruz and has made just one appearance with the NBA squad.