Earlier this month the Detroit Pistons agreed to a two-year, $3.75 million contract with 25-year-old Italian League MVP Luigi ‘Gigi’ Datome. Datome, who played for Virtus Roma last season, is a 6-foot-8 small forward known for his perennial sharp-shooting from beyond the arc. Last season for Virtus Roma, Datome averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds. Datome shot a very productive 47 percent from the field and a blistering 41 percent from downtown and 92 percent from the charity stripe.
Datome has played professionally overseas since he was 15. Albeit his 10-years of professional experience, this will be his first year playing in the shark-infested waters of the NBA.
“I want to come here and show I deserve to be an NBA player,” Datome said. Datome has the swagger of a guy who’s itching to prove his ability at the highest level possible and has a perfect opportunity to showcase that talent with the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons were in need of more depth and talent at the small forward spot and they upgraded emphatically this off-season with the signings of both Datome and Josh Smith.
Datome will more than likely go through major growing pains making the jump from the Italian League to the NBA. Datome will have to try and make an immediate adjustment to the speed and physicality of the way the game is played here in the states, especially on the defensive end.
It will be interesting to see how Maurice Cheeks handles his new small forward and how he implements him into the line-up. It seems as if Datome will be competing for minutes off the bench at the small forward spot with second-year forward Kyle Singler.
Snatching up unproven players from Europe always comes with boom or bust significance and this situation is no different.
Can Luigi Datome become an integral part of the Pistons’ future? Of course and all Pistons fans hope so, but only time will tell. If ’Gigi’ can have the success behind the arc like he did last season in Italy, the Pistons will salivate at the idea of having an athletic small forward who can stretch the floor.
But, like all off-season additions, sometimes things just don’t work out. If this is the case, Datome, at the very least, could provide the best ponytail on the end of the Pistons bench since Walter Herrmann donned his own version of the silky blonde-tailed, Fabio-esque locks.
Who can’t get down with that?
Do you think ‘Gigi’ will succeed in Detroit? Why or why not?