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 Khris Middleton.
Middleton has an excellent outside shooting stroke, according to the Pistons organization. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate to great 3-point percentages in college. He shot 32 percent and 36 percent his first two seasons at Texas A&M – fine but not special – before regressing to 26 percent last season.
As Patrick has noted many times, the Pistons lack reliable 3-point shooters. If Middleton actually starts making 3s – and he did in the preseason, shooting 6-of-11, though it’s a small sample – that could be his ticket to a playing role this season. — D.F.
Dan really said it all on this one. If Middleton is going to be more than a specialist down the road, he’ll obviously have to work on being a good all-around player. He was a solid passer in college, but his ball-handling and defense need some work to be NBA caliber.
If he can shoot the three at a decent clip as a rookie and do nothing else well, though? He’s going to get minutes right away. — P.H.
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