Newest Pistons Ish Smith, Jon Leuer introduced
Auburn Hills — NBA free agency for the Pistons has been more about improving by bolstering their bench rather than strengthening their starting lineup.
They ushered in part of the next era of their reserves on Friday, introducing two of their acquisitions in free agency, point guard Ish Smith and big man Jon Leuer, at The Palace.
“We’re pleased to welcome both Ish Smith and Jon Leuer to the organization,” Pistons president Stan Van Gundy said in a statement. “Ish is a player that will give us quality depth at the point guard position. He’s efficient scoring the basketball, posted career-high numbers in assists per game a year ago and rebounds well for his size.
“Jon is a player that adds size and versatility to our roster. His outside-shooting ability gives us offensive flexibility and his ability to guard the post will help from a defensive standpoint.”
After getting 44 wins last season and making the playoffs for the first time in seven years last season, the Pistons were set in the starting lineup. They pursued Smith early in the free agency period, reaching an agreement for a reported $18 million over three years just hours into the opening of the negotiating period.
Leuer (reportedly four years, $42 million) is a low-cost alternative to some of the other big names on the market such as Al Horford (four years, $113 million) and Ryan Anderson (four years, $80 million).
Smith, 27, averaged 14.7 points and 7 assists in 50 starts with the Sixers last season, after being traded from the Pelicans, where he posted 8.9 points and 5.7 assists in 27 games.
He’ll provide a boost from last season, where 36-year-old Steve Blake backed up Reggie Jackson. At 6-feet, Smith is lauded for his quickness and defensive ability since coming out of Wake Forest going undrafted in the 2010 draft.
Leuer, 27, is 6-foot-10, 230 pounds and was a backup power forward with the Suns last season, posting 8.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in about 18.7 minutes. He played in 67 games, including 27 starts, and hit 38 percent on 3-pointers.