This guy has more than proven his worth on the floor right now. No offense to James Young, but Luigi (or Gigi, as he prefers it) Datome clearly is more ready to make an impact on the floor, every second of it when he was out there against the Orlando Magic.
Watch this play in the first quarter, where he notices Aaron Gordon helping to cover Olynyk. Datome promptly runs to a passing lane, Pressey notices and dishes the ball out. Open three, swished.
Or this one, where Evan Turner was forcing Oladipo to make a move. Gigi was anticipating the drive, and got there in time to take a successful charge. Watch the little fist pump when he was still down, guy is hyped.
Datome ended the game with only seven minutes of play, with 3 points (1/3 FG), 1 rebound and 1 turnover, nothing you would call staggering. His minutes have been spotty so far (from 2-21 minutes), but it’s not unimaginable to see him getting a consistent 10-12 minutes per game, and even be kept on the team in the next season. Gigi is not the most athletic player out there, and isn’t exactly the next incarnation of Vinsanity. He is smart, knows to put in effort when he’s out there, and is a fair shooter from deep. All of these are qualities coach Stevens would be looking for, when evaluating candidates for our pace-and-space system.
All that can be said for right now? Datome’s staying ready, and getting rewarded for it.
Related reading: Who is Luigi Datome? via Basketball Insiders