Detroit Pistons NBA Summer League: These three players may surprise you this season

Detroit Free Press
Anthony L. Schulte |  Detroit Free Press

Intertwined with the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip was the gritty NBA Summer League. The Detroit Pistons finished 4-1, good for a tie for third place in the league.

Several players had strong performances. Ausar Thompson showed his star potential, Marcus Sasser glowed with a 40-point game, and returnees Jaden Ivey, Jalen Duren and James Wiseman played well in their brief appearances.

Separate from the big names, some lesser-known players provided positive contributions to the Summer League’s bronze medal finishers. Here are some under-the-radar Pistons prospects who stood out in Vegas:

Tosan Evbuomwan

Although Summer League head coach Jarrett Jack did not play Evbuomwan the first two games, his play in the last three may make the final two-way roster decision a tough one for for Pistons general manager Troy Weaver.

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The 6-foot-8 former Princeton forward showed good driving ability, defensive potential and some interior savvy on the offense end. The native of the United Kingdom forced a lot of ball pickups. His dribble drives to the basket were impressive as well, making many Pistons fans optimistic about what he can become.

Evbuomwan averaged seven points per game along with a 50% field goal percentage. In those three games, he had a 12-point performance against the San Antonio Spurs, in which he knocked down 50% of his field goals and the only 3-pointer he attempted.

He also had a plus/minus of plus-52 in Las Vegas, leading the team in that stat respectively. He was a difference maker and had a quiet-yet-convincing campaign.

Evbuomwan helped lead Princeton to the NCAA tournament in March. The Tigers reached the Sweet 16, the furthest in program history. During his senior campaign, he averaged 15.1 points along with 4.9 assists and a 51.5% field-goal percentage. The undrafted free agent was signed to an Exhibit-10 deal shortly after the draft.

Malcolm Cazalon

Weaver signed Cazalon to a two-way contract earlier this offseason, filling one of three available slots. Cazalon played with current Piston Killian Hayes on the France national team, which won silver in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.

A 6-6 combo-guard, Cazalon provided a solid mid-range game and strong finishing tendencies at the basket. He also has potential on defense with a 6-11 wingspan.

In 17.3 minutes a game, Cazalon averaged 7.8 points while showing off midrange, 3-point and playmaking promise. He tallied 16 points against the Spurs, along with four rebounds and a steal. While many players come into Summer League trying to prove themselves, Cazalon flowed with the game. He has a chance to be a two-way contributor for the Pistons.

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Before signing with the Pistons, Cazalon played in Serbia for KK Mega Bemax. He averaged 12.9 points a game, along with 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals.

Jared Rhoden

Another player already signed to a two-way contract with the Pistons, Rhoden showed signs of potential in four games. Rhoden played 14 games for the Pistons last season, bringing experience and leadership to Summer League.

He showed that experience with an impressive bounce-back performance against the Raptors on July 12. After scoring just two points against the Houston Rockets, he had 18 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block against Toronto. An impressive showing, he scored the first nine points for Detroit in the win.

Rhoden averaged 8.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, one assist and one steal while shooting 52% from the field and 33.3% from the 3-point line.

He spent most of last season with the Motor City Cruise, the Pistons’ G League affiliate. In 24 games there last season, he averaged 18.1 points a night along with 7.2 rebounds, two assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 46.9% on field goal, 37.4% on 3s, and 85.1% on free throws.

With what Rhoden brings to the organization, he has a chance to build on his Summer League performance during this upcoming season.

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