Internal Improvement: Kyle Singler

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 Kyle Singler.

3-point shooting

Patrick has mentioned this many times, but the Pistons could use another outside shooter in their rotation. Here are Singler’s 3-point percentages:

  • 34.0 (Duke freshman)
  • 38.3 (Duke sophomore)
  • 39.9 (Duke junior)
  • 32.1 (Duke senior)
  • 42.1 (Spain)
  • 42.9 (Pistons preseason)

Those last two numbers are pretty encouraging, but I’m not sure they’re a large enough sample to be convinced Singler is a good 3-point shooter. After a solid first few years at Duke, his senior year was subpar. So, Singler has a bit more work ahead to prove he’s a good outside shooter.

Luckily for him, he’ll get a chance to do just that. Singler is line to begin the season as Detroit’s backup small forward while Corey Maggette is battling injury. If he keeps shooting well from beyond the arc, Singler will probably deserve to stay in the rotation. — D.F.

Perimeter defense

Dan noted the biggy with Singler. The Pistons just simply need guys who make shots from the perimeter, so if Singler can do that more consistently than he did in college (and indications so far are good that he can), he’ll get minutes.

Long-term though? Lawrence Frank has made it know that offensive potential or contributions alone are not enough to earn minutes. Exhibit A is Austin Daye. Daye has certainly struggled shooting the ball too, but reasons he’s been yanked from the lineup also have something to do with his shakey defense. I don’t now if Singler is strong enough to play significant minutes at power forward, so if he’s going to primarily be a small forward in the NBA, he’s going to have to prove he can stay in front of wing players at this level. His shooting right now is too much of a necessity to not play him. But hopefully, the Pistons add more shooting to their roster over the next year or so. Defense will keep earning him minutes whether the Pistons are dependent on his shot or not. — P.H.

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