Darrun Hilliard knows that nothing will ever be handed to him, including a spot on an NBA Roster.
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The 6'6" Villanova grad put in the grind in May and June traveling all over the country to participate in over 15 team workouts, and was ultimately drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round with the #38 selection.
Next, would be to prove himself as a solid team player while emphasizing his defense and distance shooting, during the "gonna-get-mine" NBA Summer League in Orlando.
That second stage has completed.
Through his four games in Orlando the left-handed Bethlehem native average 10 points and 3.25 rebounds per game for the Piston. Hilliard was perfect from the charity stripe in those games and shot 40% from 3-Point Range (4-10), which was 8 percentage points better than his 31.8% shooting from the field (14-44). According to Detroit Bad Boys, if Hilliard would become more assertive, he may get even better shot opportunities.
Hilliard did get off to a slow start scoring 5 points in his first game. He told AXG that the NBA Summer League, "is a lot different than college. I struggled the first couple games, just trying to adjust and such, but now I feel like I’m coming into my own."
The steal and jam by Darrun Hilliard #NBASummer http://t.co/gyUmF3KIGL— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 8, 2015
One of the items that Pistons head coach Steve Van Gundy has identified as an area for improvement for Hilliard is to better exploit his shot fake. Van Gundy told Piston Powered, "Darrun’s got a great shot fake, but he’s not using it to draw fouls the way he could."
The second-round pick has also shown a tendency to get hot and then disappear (he scored all 12 of his points against Miami in the first half).
As time went by, his confidence and number grew. Overall, Hilliard met or exceeded expectations.
14 points, 5 boards, 2 assists and 2 steals for Hilliard. #Pistons going to leave ORL feeling pretty good about draft night.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 8, 2015
But what's next for Hilliard? We'll find out soon. A spot with the Pistons isn't guaranteed, but the lowly-rated shooting guard out of Liberty HS knows this. If Hilliard has to spend time with the Grand Rapids Drive in the D-League, he will put in the work to do so in an effort to fight for a spot on the NBA roster.
Darrun Hilliard NBA Summer League Stats
|L- Orlando, 76-87||19:51||2-10||1-3||0-0||-27||0||3||3||1||0||0||2||0||1||5|
|W- LA Clippers, 77-69||18:19||3-10||1-2||2-2||-5||2||1||3||1||1||1||2||1||1||9|
|L- Miami, 73-78||22:37||4-9||2-4||2-2||-1||0||2||2||0||2||1||1||0||1||12|
|W- Pacers, 90-65||23:59||5-15||0-1||4-4||+21||1||4||5||2||0||3||1||0||1||14|