ORLANDO – There are 300 or more hopefuls every July who go to Summer League with NBA teams and about a handful wind up with anything more than an invitation to fall training camp.
Count Eric Moreland as one who beat those long odds.
At the conclusion of Thursday’s Summer League title game – the Pistons lost 83-81 to Dallas in overtime – the team announced that Moreland had been signed to a contract.
Moreland slots in as the No. 3 center behind Andre Drummond and Boban Marjanovic. His skill set – a mobile big man who can run the floor, block shots and defend in the paint and out to the 3-point line – figures to complement the mix given the matchup problems the Pistons will occasionally encounter with the 7-foot-4 Marjanovic.
“I think he’s an active big that really understands pick-and-roll defense,” Pistons associate head coach Bob Beyer said after the Summer League finale. “He has size, he plays with good energy, he’s active on the glass. When you’re looking for someone at the center position that has the activity that he has, especially on the defensive end, it’s something that we are lacking and is something that he certainly brings to the table for us.”
Moreland, who nearly accepted an invitation to Pistons training camp in 2015, spent the 2014-15 and ’15-16 seasons with Sacramento after going undrafted out of Oregon State in 2014. At 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wing span, Moreland’s length and quickness give him value at the defensive end, but he also impressed the Pistons with his screening and activity at the offensive end.
It was apparent early in practices before Summer League play began that Moreland was opening eyes and that was confirmed once games began.
Moreland averaged 7.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots in 30 minutes a game in Summer League.