Detroit Pistons fans got a good look at the team’s 2022 draft class during summer league in Las Vegas.
Well, most of the draft class.
Gabriele Procida, selected 36th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers and then traded to Detroit, is a man of mystery. The 20-year-old Italian wing isn’t on the Pistons’ Summer League roster, but he joined the team in Vegas and has been practicing with his potential future teammates.
A draft-and-stash pick, Procida will play overseas for at least next season. But he’s excited about his new opportunity with the Pistons and has appreciated being able to acclimate himself with his new team during the last week.
“Amazing because I can understand the organization, all of the people around Detroit,” Procida told the Free Press after the Pistons’ practiced in Vegas on Monday. “It’s amazing to see a new reality.”
Procida averaged 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds and shot 38.3% from the 3-point line in 18.5 minutes per game with Fortitudo Bologna, a Lege Basket Serie A team based in Bologna, Italy, last season. Rather than for his raw production, Procida was drafted because of his inherent upside.
At the 2022 draft combine, he measured at nearly 6 feet 8 with shoes on and tested well athletically. Procida recorded a 35-inch max vertical leap and a 3.07-second three-quarter sprint, the fastest among all of the forwards who tested, and tied for the fastest among guards. Also among guards, he was tied for the highest standing reach (8-10) and had the second-tallest height without shoes (6-5.75).
Couple that with his outside shooting, and he has the tools to be an effective NBA rotation player.
“I have to improve everything, for sure, but at the moment I would say the 3-point shot and finishing at the rim with an athletic play,” Procida said of his strengths.
Outside shooting has long been Procida’s best attribute. During his first two professional seasons with Pallacanestro Cantù, he shot 50% from 3 on 0.9 attempts per game, and 38.8% on 2.9 attempts. The rest of his game is a work in progress, as he hasn’t made much of an impact as a rebounder or passer.
But he’s also an above-the-rim finisher in transition, and he hopes to showcase that aspect of his game more next season. Earlier this month, he signed with Alba Berlin in Germany. He’ll be much further away from his hometown of Como, Italy, but he said he’s excited for the opportunity.
Vegas has given him his first taste of how NBA basketball differs from European basketball. There are more big bodies, he said, and more of an emphasis on reading plays. Procida was listed at 193 pounds next season, and intends to put on more weight.
“We’ll do a stash for this year,” he said of his expectations with the Pistons. “I will be in Germany next year and every year after that they can sign me from EuroLeague. We’ll see what happens.”