Meet Dwight Buycks

Meet Dwight Buycks, the two-way player who is likely taking over backup point guard duties for the immediate future.

With Reggie Jackson out, the Pistons point guard situation becomes strained in a big way. Initially, the assumption was that Ish Smith would start and Langston Galloway would take the backup minutes, but against the Spurs, the Pistons used two-way player Dwight Buycks in all the backup point guard minutes. If he is about to be a regular member of the rotation for a while then I think it would be a good time to get to know him more.

Who is Dwight Buycks?

Dwight Buycks (pronounced "Bikes" as in a bike that you ride) is a 6-3 190-pound point guard hailing from Milwaukee Wisconsin who is 28 years old. Buycks was a high school star at Bay View High School in Milwaukee becoming the first playing in school history to reach 1,000 career points (he finished with 1,312) and lead them to the state championship. In college, he started out at Indian Hills Community College in Centerville Iowa for two years where he was hugely successful and was a first-team junior college all American his sophomore year. After two years at Indian Hills, he transferred to Marquette college, where he had minor success in two years, spending his junior season mainly as the 6th man and becoming the starter his senior year averaging 8.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game in 28.1 minutes.

Buycks was undrafted in the 2011 draft and then began a true journeyman career. He has bounced around the G-Leauge, had a couple of stints on NBA teams, and also played in China, Spain, and Belgium. His most notable NBA stint was when he got a 10-day contract with the Lakers in the 2014-2015 season (the one where they had tons of injuries and whatnot) and played 20 minutes per game for 6 games before injuring his hand. For his part, he played pretty well in those 6 games. Altogether he played in a grand total of 20 NBA games coming into this season and had not played in the NBA the previous two years. He has found the most success as a pro in China.

He came to the Pistons after spending the Summer playing for the Dallas Maverick's Summer league team. Hardcore Pistons fans may remember him as the guy who slaughtered the Pistons in the Orlando Summer League championship game this past summer. Following that impressive performance, the Pistons signed him to a two-way contract which allows free movement between the NBA and G-League. 

What kind of player is Buycks?

He is listed at 6-3 but I don't really buy that, he doesn't look that big. Regardless, as far as I can tell he is a bit undersized but fairly capable all-around point guard. It is entirely unclear if his skills will transfer effectively into NBA play, but he has a pretty tight handle, a fairly reliable jumper, and enough tenacity to finish inside with some consistency. In 10 games with the Grand Rapids Drive this year he averaged 22.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.8 assists while shooting 43.5% from the field and 35.7% from deep. He tends to be shoot first but has put up bigger assist numbers at various stops. He is mostly a lightning quick waterbug type of point guard on offense, the biggest question is going to be if he can consistently create looks against NBA defenses.

As far as his own defense is concerned I don't really have a clue how he will hold up long term. Most of his playing time has been in the G-League or China, neither of which are exactly bastions of great defense. He seems to generally compete and has the quickness to stay with guys. And in the game against the Spurs, he battled pretty consistently. But who knows really. 

How does he fit?

He will be the guy who will hopefully bridge the gap until the Pistons get a starting point guard again, whether that be Reggie Jackson's return or perhaps a trade of some sort. I don't know if he will remain the backup the entire time, but he will at least be a "break in case of emergency" 3rd guard until further notice. 

The Good

The biggest advantage he brings to the bench mob over Ish Smith is that he is a fairly competent shooter. Not a sniper by any means, but he has shot 34.9% from deep in his G-League career on sufficient volume and shot similar percentages in college and overseas. His shooting abilities are probably about on par with Reggie Jackson as a guy who can hit threes but is not a sniper. Tied directly in with that is that he does not figure to be as ball dominant as Smith is. Due to the fact that Smith is totally useless off the ball he kind of has to dominate the ball when he is on the floor, with Buycks the bench mob can more freely run the motion offense and get others involved.

The last good thing for Buycks is that this is probably his best chance to earn a spot in the NBA long term, playing real minutes on a playoff team is a great chance for a guy who hasn't played an NBA game in two years. He is likely to fight every moment he is on the floor and put forth tremendous effort and fight when he is playing, and that was pretty evident already against the Spurs. Regardless of skill level, it is never a bad thing to have guys on the floor who are hungry and can smell blood. 

The Bad

We have no idea if he is capable of success on the NBA level. Once again, the dude has 20 NBA games to his name coming into the year and some of those are garbage time. The sample size is nonexistent. He has been a very good high volume ball handler in lower leagues but he has not always been overly efficient and if his efficiency drops much against NBA competition then he may be tough to have on the floor. Simply put, it may well be that he is not an NBA caliber player and it is always scary to give minutes to a guy like that. 

Best case scenario

Buycks is fully capable as an NBA rotation player who plays hard on defense and has the occasional burst of scoring offensively. It isn't always pretty but the bench mob holds together with him at the helm and he at the very least is never the guy causing problems. He plays well enough that He goes on to get a proper contract next year and is a nice feather in the cap of the Pistons front office for pulling him out of the bargain bin as a contributor this season.

Worst case scenario

He just isn't an NBA player. He misses shots when forced to create for himself, isn't a good enough athlete to keep up on defense, and the bench mob becomes a total mess with him leading. After a few games of futility the Pistons go and pluck some other random guy to try in the spot, and to make matters worse Jackson's ankle takes long to heal and never returns and I begin to question my life choices. 

The Verdict

I have no clue. He looked perfectly fine against the Spurs and if he can replicate that it will be hard to complain. He really impressed me with the way he competed defensively and he seemed to know how to pick his spots to attack on offense. He clearly is a guy who is a veteran despite such little NBA experience and he knows how to play, it is just hard to put much faith in a guy who is 28 and has so little in the way of NBA experience.

What do you think? Can he keep up with NBA players? Should he stay the backup until a proper starter is found?

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