After strong Summer League with Detroit Pistons, Jamorko Pickett ‘knows he belongs’

Detroit Free Press

LAS VEGAS — The Detroit Pistons brought a stacked roster to Summer League, headlined by Cade Cunningham, the first overall pick of the draft. He was joined by two of his draft classmates, Luka Garza and Balsa Koprivica. Three of last year’s rookies — Killian Hayes, Saddiq Bey and Saben Lee — also made their summer debuts. Sekou Doumbouya, Detroit’s lone 2019 first round pick, also made the trip.

In the end, a prospect who went undrafted this year ended up emerging as one of Detroit’s best players. Jamorko Pickett, a four-year starter at Georgetown, wasn’t well-known by fans when the team announced its Vegas roster. He had a solid college career as a 6-foot-9 forward,  helping the Hoyas win the Big East championship as a senior — the school’s first since 2007— and earn their first NCAA tournament bid since 2015.

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He’s now positioned himself as someone who could stick around after closing the summer on a strong note. He started the final three games and was one of Detroit’s best shooters, scoring in double-figures in each game while knocking down nine of his 16 attempts from the 3-point line during the span.

Pickett expects to be with the Pistons during training camp. And with the Pistons’ new G League franchise, the Motor City Cruise, kicking off its inaugural season this fall, Pickett could have an opportunity to showcase his talents even further.

“I know I belong here,” Pickett, who scored 14 in Monday’s 79-78 win over the Orlando Magic, said. “Just always having that mindset of knowing I belong, knowing that I should start. That’s what pushed me when I did have the opportunity to excel.

“I feel like I woke a lot of people up with my play over the weekends,” he continued. “Knocking down my open shots. Just playing the right style of basketball. I’m definitely satisfied with the way I played and how I did over the last two weeks.”

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He was a standout shooter at Georgetown, knocking down 36.5% of his attempts for his career. However he looked comfortable creating for himself in Las Vegas, occasionally hitting step-back and sidestep 3-pointers and midrange shots.

For Garza, Pickett’s performance wasn’t a surprise. They’re both from the Washington area. Garza attended Maret School, and Pickett went to Eastern before doing a postgraduate year at Massanutten Military Academy. Garza said they played each other twice in high school.

“You could always see it,” Garza said. “He was long, lanky, could shoot the ball with skill and he was really good at Georgetown for four year. Started a lot of games. They won the Big East championship this year. When you win a championship, you gotta have great players on your team. He’s one of them and I’m excited for him because he’s a guy that no one really talks about. But when you see his frame, you see his ability to read the floor, you see his ability to make shots, he’s really impressive. I’m excited to continue to work with him.”

A strong performance in Summer League is far from a guarantee that his skillset will translate to the NBA, but for the Pistons, there’s a lot to like in Pickett’s game. He’s a good shooter, has the size to defend multiple positions and played huge part in the Pistons winning their last three summer games after starting the week 0-2.

They’re looking forward to seeing what can come next for him.

“Honestly, when you look at his work ethic, you’re not shocked by his results and his performance,” assistant coach JD DuBois said. “He puts the time in, he’s a great person and I was really happy to watch his confidence grow as the week went on. I think he has the talent, and now it’s him being present, not worried about the last shot he may have missed, not being concerned if he’s going to make or miss the next one, taking one possession at a time. Really was proud to watch the results follow the time that he put into his game.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Pistons content. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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