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The reality of being in the NBA came quickly to Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza.
The San Antonio Spurs had the forward from Iowa fly to Texas Friday morning after selecting him with the 41st pick of the NBA Draft late Thursday night. Garza was in Detroit Friday afternoon for a press conference introducing the Detroit Pistons’ draftees of the night before.
Summer league play for Spurs rookies, undrafted free agents and invited others starts soon. San Antonio will have a team in the Aug. 3-6 Salt Lake City Summer League and the Aug. 8-17 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
The NBA will return to a more-traditional schedule for 2021-22, which means training camps open in October.
Center Luka Garza of Iowa, taken with the 52nd pick Thursday by the Detroit Pistons, also will jump into the fire. The Pistons start Summer League play in Vegas on Aug. 8 with a 7:30 p.m. (CT) game against Oklahoma City on ESPN2.
NBA rosters for next season won’t fill until the free agency period ends. For now, Wieskamp and Garza can’t know how much competition they’ll have for playing time at their positions.
“Some key targets we wanted to hit with versatility, shooting,” Spurs General Manager Brian Wright said, talking about Wieskamp and first-round pick Joshua Primo, “and we think we hit with both of those tonight.
“The game is played in the NBA now on the perimeter.”
Garza joins a very young Pistons team. Detroit had the first pick of Thursday’s draft and took point guard Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State. The Pistons grabbed Michigan forward Isaiah Livers ahead of Garza in the second round and 7-foot-1 center Balsa Koprivica of Florida State after Garza.
“The common theme,” said Pistons General Manager Troy Weaver, “is Cunningham, Garza and Livers are all 40-percent shooters from 3. Adding shooters was key.”
Detroit traded veteran center Mason Plumlee to the Charlotte Hornets Thursday, leaving it with 2020 first-rounder Isaiah Stewart and veteran Jahlil Okafor at that position.
Every 2020 second-rounder that wasn’t a foreign player who played overseas last season had an NBA contract and played in the league in the 2020-21 season.
Eleven second-rounders signed two-way contracts, something that could face Garza or Wieskamp. Two-way players typically spend most of the season in the NBA G League, but remain under the team’s control and can’t be signed away by another team.
Pistons guard Saben Lee was the 38th pick of the 2020 draft and signed a two-way contract. NBA teams are limited to a pair of two-way players.
Many other second-rounders spend some time in the G League during the season while on their NBA team’s roster. The Spurs’ G League affiliate is in Austin, Texas. The Pistons’ is in Detroit. Theoretically, Garza could practice with the Pistons in the morning and play for the Motor City Cruise that night.
Former Hawkeye forward Tyler Cook also will be trying to earn a spot with the Pistons this fall. He played in 28 games for Detroit last season.
Most second-round picks become NBA footnotes. But there are those who became much, much more. Here are some who are currently in the league:
Nikola Jokic. Draymond Green. Jordan Clarkson. Jerami Grant. Lou Williams. Goran Dragic. Danny Green. Malcolm Brogdon. Paul Millsap.
The NBA Finals featured three prominent second-rounders in Khris Middleton and P.J. Tucker of the Milwaukee Bucks and Jae Crowder of the Phoenix Suns.
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