ORLANDO – The look on Kim English’s face on Tuesday said it all.
The second-year guard struggled on both sides of the ball, missing five of eight attempts and being one of the many Pistons’ defenders victimized by Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson late in the 79-75 loss.
He still has two more summer league games this week to get things back on track, but as the struggles mount and the week progresses, the possibility that English’s contract won’t be renewed on Saturday is real.
And he knows what’s at stake.
“I’m just playing. I think I’ll be in this league a long time with my ability to shoot the ball and defend,” English said. “I’m just staying in the moment and (I’ll) keep playing.”
It’s been well-documented here that English — despite his on-court shortcomings — is an enjoyable personality to have. He was a four-year player at Missouri, and he’s a professional. It’s good to have those guys around a locker room, but at the same time, you need to parlay that off-court positive into something on the court, too.
He’s struggled with his shot basically since being drafted — making just 28 percent from 3-point range last season — and through three summer league games he’s shot just 5-for-23 from the field; including an ice-cold 3-for-13 showing from deep.
With fellow 2012 second-round pick Khris Middleton out with a right ankle injury, English had his big chance to impress against the Thunder. Plain and simple, he struggled, openly taking the blame for Jackson’s outburst in the fourth quarter, which wasn’t fully on him.
But he’s still focused on the present — not the future.
“Just going out and playing,” English said. “I don’t really take stock in anything other than this quarter or this possession or this game. Everything else is really out of my control.”
The signing of Italian sharp-shooter Luigi Datome on Tuesday could represent the proverbial writing on the wall for English, but no matter what it means, he’s not shaken by the thought of becoming a free agent in the next week.
“I’m a little different than the average human, I guess,” English said. “If I’m playing great or if I’m playing awful, I’m always thinking about what’s next. That’s the nature of the NBA — next play, next game, what you do next is what makes you.”