Each year, we do a themed preview series to ready for the season. This year’s theme is "Playoff Push."
What is the No. 1 thing Kyle Singler can step up to do to help the Pistons make the playoffs?
Shoot 3-pointers better
It’s no secret the Pistons’ starting lineup lacks shooting, so reserves who stretch the floor will get priority. Singler shot just below the league average from beyond the arc last season, a mark that could very well keep him in the rotation this year. But if he raises that percentage just a bit, it would go a long way on team in need of shooters.
Play fewer minutes.
Nothing against Singler – as a second-round rookie last season, he played well and earned a rotation spot. But the fact that he played 28 minutes per game with serviceable-but-pedestrian production just speaks to how little talent the Pistons had last season. On an upgraded roster, there is still a role for Singler and the many positives he brings as a reserve – shooting, finishing around the basket, craftiness, intelligence, etc. But if he’s once again in a prominent role on this team, something has gone very wrong. The No. 2 thing he can do is to keep having amazing hairstyles.
Help off the bench
Singler started a lot of games last year at small forward and underplayed expectations for a starting wing player. This season, the squad has two more small forwards, Luigi Datome and Josh Smith. Although he might play over Datome, Singler definitely won’t start over Smith, who will be a key piece to the team this year. Singler’s main job this season will be to contribute as a shooter off the bench, taking a much lighter load than he has in the past.
Shoot from 3-point range, consistently.
Singler wasn’t a bad shooter during his rookie season, but consistent probably isn’t the right way to describe that shooting, either. Despite playing a solid 30 minutes a night, Singler went on month stretches of being capable from… and then not. In December, February, March and April he shot 39 percent from deep — excellent, right? Well, during April and January, that percentage dipped to 27 percent. If Singler keeps that percentage closer to 40 than 30, he’ll force his way into the rotation – and stay there.