The Detroit Pistons announced on Thursday that they have assigned their two second-round draft picks, Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell, to the D-League to play for their affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The two rookies were in town on Thursday to take in the Mad Ants' game against the Bighorns, which they won handedly, but they didn't happen to suit up until Saturday for a matchup against the hottest team in the D-League, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Through three quarters, the Mad Ants were smooth sailing, thanks in large part to the efforts of Siva and Howard, who combined for 35 of the team's 85 points. It was good enough to give Fort Wayne a 14 point lead heading into the fourth quarter, yet with Siva on the bench, they quickly saw that lead evaporate, as the Vipers outscored them 36-17 in the final 12 minutes to win the game by five.
In 28 minutes of game time, Siva tied Ron Howard for team-high honors with 24 points on 9-for-15 shooting. He also had five rebounds, three assists and two steals. The only downside to his performance were the five turnovers he committed, but given his +7 (the highest of any starter on the Mad Ants), I'm sure we can overlook that.
Siva did most of his damage through the opening three quarters, scoring 19 of his 24 points in those periods, and would have likely finished with more had he not sat the opening 10 minutes of the final quarter, which just so happened to be when the Vipers made their run. The former Cardinal nearly won the game for the Mad Ants, anyway, scoring five points in the final 37 seconds, yet it wasn't enough, as the Vipers calmly knocked down their free throws to give them their 12th win of the season.
According to NBA.com, the Pistons only expect Siva and Mitchell to be in the D-League for two weeks, so they may only be in Fort Wayne for five more games. Yet seeing how Maurice Cheeks, the Pistons' head coach, is a firm believer in the D-League being a useful place to build confidence and improve player's weaknesses, this may not be their only stint with the Mad Ants.