Since he was drafted nearly two years ago, Deividas Sirvydis has been something of a man of mystery for Detroit Pistons fans.
The franchise traded three second-round picks to select Sirvydis 37th overall in the 2019 NBA draft. A draft-and-stash player, he played in Lithuania, his home country, and Israel last year before joining the Pistons ahead of training camp last fall.
A 6-foot-8 sharpshooter, Sirvydis shot 38.2% from 3 on 3.2 attempts per game for Rytas last year. He has mostly played garbage time minutes this season, appearing in 16 games for 49 minutes. But Pistons coach Dwane Casey has liked what he has seen.
“He’s a shooter. He can shoot the ball in time and space, he can shoot it. The young man has an excellent basketball IQ. … He’s done a good job in practice and he’s gotten in the weight room, gotten stronger. Not going to say when he’s going to be, but he’s going to be an NBA player at some point.”
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Sirvydis, who turns 21 in June, learned the game from his father, longtime overseas veteran Virginijus Sirvydis. Virginijus played nearly 20 seasons in Lithuania, Russia, Czech Republic, Germany and Cyprus from 1993 until 2012, and is an assistant coach for BC Pieno žvaigždės, a Lithuanian men’s basketball club.
Deividas’ mom, Lina, also played basketball in college.
The Free Press spoke with Deividas recently about his rookie season, growing up the son of a professional basketball player and his expectations and goals with the Pistons.
What was it like traveling across Europe as the son of a professional basketball player?
“That was awesome. I was a little kid, like five, six, seven years old, maybe. When he played overseas in Czech Republic, in Germany. I don’t remember a lot, but it was a great experience. I was going with him at every practice. He teach me how to shoot the ball, how to dribble. Basically I was just being with him, practicing with him. That was huge for me.”
Did you live in all of the countries he played in?
“Not really. I spent some time in Czech Republic and Germany, as I remember. We visited him in a lot of those, in Cyprus for example.”
What position did he play?
“He was a shooting guard.”
Did you know you wanted to play basketball when you were a kid?
“Yeah, for sure. He was my idol. When I was born, I saw him playing. My mom played basketball for a little while and I was watching him as a little kid in every game. He was my idol, and he still is.”
Your mom played too?
“Yeah. She played in university and maybe a couple years, I wouldn’t say pro, but a little bit.”
What did you learn from your dad about basketball?
“A lot. He was watching, and he’s still watching every game I play. He’s waking up at midnight in Lithuanian time to watch my games. He’s doing small scouting reports after each game and he shows what I did wrong, what I did good and trying to help me. And I appreciate that a lot.”
Did he do that when you were playing in Lithuania and Israel?
“Yeah, after every game. He just calls me and tells me what I did wrong. Basically after each and every game.”
You were named MVP of the Adidas Next Generation tournament with the Rytas Vilnius U18 team in 2018. What was that experience?
“That year was kinda tough. I was skinny, didn’t have any strength. That was hard, playing with all those guys. Since I’ve been drafted, I’ve started working on my body and still working on it. Those year with Adidas Next Generation was a cool experience. I’m glad we won that championship. To be named MVP of the tournament is nice, but (it was more) about being on a team that won a championship.”
You became the youngest player in Rytas Vilnius history at the age of 16 when you made your debut in 2017. What was that like?
“That was fun. I passed another NBA player, Jonas Valanciunas, with that record. That’s cool. My family was really happy, my friends were happy. I just kept working from that moment. That was cool.”
How would you describe your rookie season with the Pistons so far?
“Still working on a lot of stuff to be a player here. I work on my body every day here, working with the skill development coaches every day, a couple hours before practice, after practice. Just working and waiting for my chance to prove that I can play here, and that I can be here.”
What feedback have you gotten from the coaching staff as far as what they want to see you do with your game and your body?
“My weight is like 240 pounds, or something. Maybe I could gain a couple more pounds, but I think right now it’s enough. I’m trying to learn how to strengthen my body right now. As I said, I don’t have a big role right now. Just trying to prove that I can play here.”
Troy Weaver brought in a lot of young players with Killian Hayes, Isaiah Stewart, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee. What has it been like being surrounded by so many fellow rookies going through the same thing as you?
“We have a lot of young guys and it means we’re building something different, building a championship team. It’s really nice to have all of the young guys here in the same moment. We’re just practicing every day very hard and we’re building.”
Has there been any surprises living in the United States compared to Lithuania and Israel?
“It wasn’t that hard for me. Detroit is pretty much similar to Lithuania, where I live. Weather is pretty much the same. That was not a big surprise for me. At the beginning I thought it was going to be really hard here without my family, but the team is really nice, helping me, the coaches and players. I feel like I’m here and everything is cool. Probably the biggest difference is just the buildings.”
What are your offseason goals?
“Probably just to be prepared for the next season, to be prepared for summer league, if it happens. Just want to work on my body again, and just keep getting better at my shooting and other skills. Probably take a couple days off and keep working every day.”
Contact Omari Sankofa II at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.