Internal Improvement: Kim English

Tom Gores said it better happen. Jonas Jerebko guaranteed it. Rodney Stuckey agreed.

The Detroit Pistons can certainly make the playoffs this season, but given how similar the team is to last year’s, it won’t be easy. It appears the Pistons are mostly relying on internal improvement in order to exceed expectations and reach the postseason.

For our 2012 preview series, Patrick and I will each examine one area where we see realistic room for improvement from each Piston. Today, we look at Kim English.

Shot selection

In the summer league, Kim English often put the ball on the floor and drove to mixed results. Maybe that was a product of the environment, or maybe that’s how English plans to play, but I hope and think it was the former.

For now at least, especially on this team, English should be what Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus calls a 3-and-D players, someone who focuses only on spacing the floor with 3-pointers and playing plus defense.

It’s tough to dial back a player’s inclination for shooting, but if English can reign it in, he could be much more valuable to the Pistons, who are already overloaded with players who must dribble to contribute. — D.F.

Just make threes

If the Pistons don’t find some 3-point shooting, their offense is going to struggle. Two veterans they were hoping would provide that shooting — Austin Daye and Charlie Villanueva — have yet to make a three in three preseason games. Brandon Knight shot the three well as a rookie, but he’s passed up threes in the preseason in an effort to attack the basket.  Threes have never been Rodney Stuckey‘s forte. Ditto for Jonas Jerebko and Corey Maggette. Tayshaun Prince can hit them at a respectable rate, but 3-point shooting is not a big part of his offensive game either.

If the Pistons can’t space the floor, there won’t be driving lanes for Stuckey and Knight and Monroe will have less room to operate in the post. I think English has other skills he could potentially bring — he could be a decent defender and he looks good in the open floor. But for now, if he can shoot, he will have to play regardless of how developed his other skills are. The Pistons need it. — P.H.


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