Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Season Review: Luigi Datome

LUIGI DATOME - SF - 6'8, 215

For me, Luigi Datome was the second biggest disappointment this season.  His highlight video and the stories of scouts and media told of a guy who could do it all on offense: hit threes, create space off the dribble and find open teammates.  An Italian League MVP that would bring the Pistons an excellent scoring dynamic off the bench.  It became painfully obvious within the first few games of the 2013-14 season that Datome was not what he was hyped up to be.  He struggled to score, struggled to shoot and certainly wasn't a playmaker.  Datome looked lost for long stretches of the season, only managing to score in double figures twice, with both occasions coming in garbage minutes.  With all of the struggles the Pistons had on the sidelines between Mo Cheeks and John Loyer, it's possible that Datome wasn't used properly.  However, the numbers seem to suggest it wouldn't have really mattered:

PER PPG TS% eFG% 3P% TRB% AST% TOV%
8.0 2.4 40.9% 38.7% 17.9% 10.6% 7.0% 9.8%
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Not much to take away from what the numbers say about what Luigi Datome did this season.  His numbers reflect what was already evident for those who watched him play.  He didn't shoot well, didn't score efficiently, was ineffective creating offense for others, and he collected a decent amount of rebounds for the SF position (Smith TRB%: 10.4 Singler TRB%: 7.6, FWIW).  Datome might be as good of a rebounder as he showed this season, seeing as he managed around 5 RPG for the extent of his career in Europe.  Regardless, all of his stats come with a grain of salt because he played a small sample of minutes, and the majority of those minutes were in garbage time.

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Yet another discouraging shot chart for a Pistons player!  Luigi Datome, signed in the offseason to bring shooting to a roster that lacked it, provided absolutely nothing from beyond the arc.  He was 1/8 on corner threes, which are generally the best looks a shooter is going to get.  He's not exactly Ray Allen, I guess is what I'm saying.  Datome did grade out above average around the rim, but I would assume most of those came on the fast break as 56% of Datome's made two-point field goals were assisted and he scored 14.5% of his points on the fast break.  

OUTLOOK FOR NEXT YEAR

2014-15 Status: Under contract for $1,750,000 (via basketball-reference.com)

Things are going to have to change if Datome is going to be a part of the rotation next season.  He should be afforded a fresh start with a new coaching staff coming in,  although his performance this season certainly will still count against him.  According to Vince Ellis, Datome plans on returning to Detroit in May after some time back home in Italy.  If he can put a whole off-season of weightlifting, conditioning and getting shots up to his advantage, I think he can contribute on next year's team.  However, I believe he will be on thin ice regardless of who the new coach is.  He may also find new competition for rotation minutes on the wings if the Pistons decide to draft a SF or sign a sharpshooter in free agency.  Datome faces an uphill battle going into next season, but if his play in Europe is any indication, he may have the talent to earn minutes in Detroit.

2014 SEASON GRADE: D

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