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Vernon Macklin impressed Pistons in workout vs. Bismack Biyombo and Tristan Thompson

Vernon Macklin‘s name was farm from the most well-known one called on draft night, but it turns out that Macklin attracted the attention of the Pistons by performing well against first round talents the team allegedly coveted. From Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Macklin got a chance to work out for the Pistons and go against touted big men Bismack Biyombo, Tristan Thompson, Markieff Morris and others.

The Pistons were still doing their due diligence for the eighth pick and Biyombo and Thompson were in the mix.

But Macklin impressed.

“He was a warrior during the workout — just an absolute warrior,” Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said two days after the draft. “He was physical, strong, defended well, scored the ball in the low post, and he’s a guy that fits Detroit basketball.

“When he came in and showed the way he did, we looked at him and said if he’s on the board at 52, if he’s still there he would be an excellent pick for us.”

Workouts, rather than on-court college production, seemed to be the biggest factor in how the Pistons evaluated upside in players they drafted this year. It will be interesting to watch this group of rookies next season for that reason. The team believes they can succeed based on what were reportedly impressive workouts or evaluations of individual skills. The advanced stats community has been very underwhelmed by the Pistons draft based on the levels of production of Macklin, Kyle Singler and Brandon Knight in college. Whether the draft picks are successful or not, either upside proponents or stats proponents are going to give the other side a big ‘I told you your evaluation methods don’t work!’ at some point.


  • Jul 5, 201112:56 pm
    by Quick Darshan


    Because of their age and experience, I think Singler and Macklin are in a better position to contribute right away then most rookies.  I’m not sure they were thinking upside when they picked Macklin.

    • Jul 5, 20111:15 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      I agree with you. I think Singler and Macklin certainly have less upside than some of the other second rounders on the board with those picks. But if you factor in the lockout and the fact that it’s hard enough for second rounders to make the team even without a lockout, they went with more experienced, physically mature players with those picks. I’m not convinced yet on how wise the Singler pick was, but Macklin at 52 isn’t a big gamble. At his size, he can at the very least be six fouls a game at the end of the bench when the Pistons play physical big men.

    • Jul 5, 20113:21 pm
      by RandomGuy313


      I am with you PH on Macklin. Worst case scenario he gets in there for 10 minutes and uses all fouls. As long as he is able to box out this pick will hit the mark for depth.
      Singler is definitely iffy. If he can
      –Get confidence in putting a couple dribbles down and pulling up
      –Get his nose dirty a la JJ’s rookie season
      then Singler can contribute limited minutes. If not he will not get the confidence of the coaching staff.
      His numbers at Duke do not peak to a reliable spot up 3 pt shooter, so he needs to build a niche in the mid range as Daye and JJ at the three do not provide that consistently.

      • Jul 6, 20115:51 pm
        by Dan Feldman


        I’d say 10 minutes per game is closer to Macklin’s best-case scenario. Worst-case, and reasonably likely, scenario is he doesn’t make the team this year.

  • Jul 5, 20111:03 pm
    by RyanK


    If he can be a rotation player off the bench he will be considered successful in my book.  I’m not sure why he has such weak rebounding numbers.  A man his size should be able to do well in the paint.  Hopefully he’ll pick up on that and become a valuable asset to the team.

  • Jul 5, 20112:30 pm
    by Laser


    it’s not really new news, but no news is new news with this lockout.

    on a lockout note: is there any precedent for an extremely limited CBA? take things one season at a time, see how the money works out, and adjust accordingly?

    thing is, both sides are probably assholes. i’m more aligned with the players right now, but i hope they’re willing to make a serious concession or two. they’re going to leave a lot more money on the table by not agreeing to anything and having their contracts lapse.

    there’s probably a nice middle ground to be found somewhere (maybe an even heftier luxury tax, that would serve not only to penalize the “haves” but to help the “have-nots” more significantly), but it’s not the players’ fault that owners agreed to a “bad” CBA and offered all these players so much money. if i signed a contract and someone wanted to reneg on it later, i’d have a fit. it’s not fair.

    but the owners can’t pretend the system is broken beyond repair based solely on the fact that 22/30 teams lost money last year. there are a lot of outside factors, including a shitty economy. the percentage of teams losing money is staggering, but i bet maybe as many as half of those teams are personally responsible for their misfortune (the pistons being a prime example, since i’m 100% sure they’d be profitable if not for abysmal personnel mismanagement). the whole thing puts a bad taste in my mouth, but i think the owners need to suck it up and deal with the contracts they agreed to (at least for the most part).

  • Jul 5, 20113:55 pm
    by khandor


    Brandon Knight [i.e. future "star" player, PG] and Kyle Singler [i.e. future "role" player, SF] are going to turn out to be solid contributors in the NBA at their respective levels of ability … because they are that good, as basketball players, in comparison with their peers, not because of their individual “game stats” or their “perceived upside.” They should not be put into the same category as Vernon Macklin [PF] when it comes to player talent evaluation.

    • Jul 5, 20114:02 pm
      by Patrick Hayes


      Uh … who put them in the same category as Macklin?

      • Jul 5, 201110:39 pm
        by khandor


        A number of different people whose opinions I;ve read thus far have a suggested that the Pistons’ 3 picks this season are in the “iffy” category, based on how their “advanced stats” project them to perform in the NBA.
        In contrast to those opinions …
        When you consider the ability level of the Pistons three picks in each of their respective tiers of talent in relation to their peers, what you should be able to see is that each one is a very good bet to develop into a solid player in the NBA … with Knight becoming a highly capable elite level player, Singler becoming a highly capable role player and only Macklin being in the “iffy” category based on how he eventually gets used by the team that eventually gives him legitimate minutes to develop as a reserve player, or not.
        At his size, with his skill-set, and his level of NBA athleticism, in all ikelihood, Kyle Singler is going to develop into a very good/sound rotation player for a 10 year period, in the mold of Shane Battier. If this happens and Brandon Knight develops into the type of “star” player who I believe he will eventually become, then, it is likely that Joe Dumars did as well in this year’s Draft as he could have hoped to have done, given where the Pistons where slotted and the resources at their disposal.

        • Jul 5, 201110:47 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          I agree that Knight’s stats don’t do his upside justice.

          I’m skeptical that Singler shoots or moves his feet well enough to ever be a Battier-level role player, or to ever play many minutes as a wing at all. He frankly just did not shoot the ball that well at Duke, save for his junior season, and he doesn’t have much lateral quickness. I think he was drafted too high, but I hope I’m wrong obviously.

          And if Macklin can just give hard fouls and grab a few rebounds in limited minutes, he’ll hang around on a NBA bench for a while.

          • Jul 6, 201111:09 am
            by khandor

            While it is certainly true that Battier was better 3PT-shooter during his days at Duke, if you look at the set of stats for him and Singler as a Blue Devil it isn’t beyond the scope of likely possibility that he, too, is able to improve his shooting accuracy once he becomes a full-time professional basketball player, given the other characteristics which he has in common with Mr. Battier.
            FYI …
            <a href=”http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/player/profile?playerId=36156″>Kyle Singler</a> at Duke; Kyle Singler in the NBA? <a href=”http://statsheet.com/mcb/players/player/duke/shane-battier”>Shane Battier</a> at Duke; <a href=”http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/battish01.html”>Shane Battier</a> in the NBA

          • Jul 6, 201112:26 pm
            by Patrick Hayes


            This is the problem a lot of Pistons fans have when it comes to looking at young players. Battier is way, way, way to good of a player to fairly compare Singler to. There’s a reason Singler was a second rounder. Guys who are comparable to Battier talent-wise just don’t often fall to the second round. Singler is Singler. He’s scrappy, tough and smart. He has average athleticism for a wing and he’s undersized for a four. He’s an average shooter for a wing, average shooter if he’s a stretch four. He’s not a good rebounder if he’s considered a four.

            That’s not to say he can’t have a solid NBA career, but Battier was a longtime starter who played big minutes on playoff teams in Memphis, Houston then Memphis again this season. Battier has a legit position he plays full-time, Singler doesn’t. Battier was a lottery pick in a better draft. Singler was a second round pick in a weak draft. Let Singler find his niche in the league. Upping the expectations by comparing guys to really good, proven players is always a losing proposition, but we do it all the time with Detroit’s young players.

            Amir Johnson was a poor man’s Bosh. Austin Daye is a poor man’s Durant. Stuckey is a poor man’s Billups. Now Singler is Battier.

            Singler could absolutely become a rotation player in the NBA, but he has nowhere near the skillset Battier does, and certainly nowhere near the defensive ability. Battier was a top three or four wing defender in his prime. Singler will be lucky to provide passable defense at that position against the league’s best wings.

          • Jul 6, 201112:51 pm
            by khandor

            I have not compared:
            Rodney Stuckey to Chauncey Billups;
            Amir Johnson to Chris Bosh; or,
            Austin Daye to Kevin Durant.
            Just because Battier was a Lottery selection and Singler was a 2nd Round selection has nothing to do with their respective abilities to play the game of basketball effectively in the NBA. e.g. It could well be that Battier was selected too high and Singler was selected too low.
            I’m suggesting that Kyle Singler actually has the ability to develop into a very solid, if unspectacular SF, in the NBA, like [i.e. similar] Shane Battier, if he’s given the opportunity to do so by a coach who actually knows what he is doing … in a similar way to what Hubie Brown was able to do with and for Shane Battier in Memphis.
            If, OTOH, Singler is unfortunate enough to play for a series of coaches who do have the same [i.e. similar] type of basketball acumen as Hubie Brown, then, it is most likely that he will not be able to develop in a way which is similar to Battier … since their skill sets, athleticism, aptitude and Leadership are not the type which will jump out and say, “Wow!” relative to their peer group based on simple stat analysis from their time in college, or the eye test when conducted by non-elite level evaluators of actual NBA talent.
            As a Pistons fan … you should not be surprised at all if/when Mr. Singler develops into a Battier-like player who can succeed as a SF, in the NBA, who can also step into a part-time small-four role when the situation dictates.
            If this happens, or not, will be determined to a large extent by the person who Joe Dumars eventually selects to become Detroit’s next head coach.

          • Jul 6, 20115:58 pm
            by Dan Feldman

            Khandor, Kyle Singler’s closest statistical comparison is Brian Cook, not Shane Battier. Plenty of players each year enter the NBA with close to the raw skills of Battier. What separates Battier is an elite mental toughness and sharpness. There’s only one Shane Battier for a reason: few players with physical limitations to Battier’s* can match his mental game. Odds are Singler can’t either.
            *And I’m not saying Battier is unathletic. He’s plenty athletic. But he’s not an elite athlete by NBA standards.

        • Jul 6, 20115:54 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Khandor, simply, what convinces you “the ability level of the Pistons three picks in each of their respective tiers of talent in relation to their peers” is substantially higher than those players statistics suggest?

        • Jul 6, 20116:03 pm
          by Dan Feldman


          Khandor, the biggest determinant of Singler’s success will be Singler, not his coach.

  • Jul 5, 20114:16 pm
    by RandomGuy313


    Interesting read from Kevin Pelton on ROY candidates. Don’t know how much I can put in comments, but it is not favorable for Knight supporters although Pelton indicates that Coach Cal’s players outperform their projections.
    Need ESPN Insider http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/insider/news/story?id=6738663

  • Jul 6, 20117:56 am
    by detroitpcb


    as always, i think patrick’s nuts. Singler has a solid shot. Good motion, good release, good leg strength and range. He had two decent shooting years at Duke percentage wise and two so-so years. (And once he gets to training camp, if there is a training camp, let’s ask him how Knight compares to Irving). Singler’s lateral quickness is not bad. I saw him check smaller players sucessfully many times in college and he held up down low against bigger players too. This kid knows the game and will be a solid role player off the bench.

    I do not really know how good Knight will become. He was less than spectacular at Kentucky. He had turnover issues. Physically he is slender. While he is fast, he does not have the gear John Wall has. He certainly does not have Derrick Rose’s strength and athleticism. What he does have going for him is that he can shoot. With range. I mean, this pick was almost forced on the Pistons. They had to make it or trade down. There is no way you could justify taking a second tier forward over Knight at the #8. Let’s hope he turns into a Chauncy or a Jason Terry. Obviously the new coach has to spend a lot of time developing this kid. That has to figure in the hiring decision now. The coach needs to be someone who develops guards.

    Macklin is a physically mature player. At 52 he was a good pick. Because of the lack of big men on the roster i think he will make the team if there is a season. The real question will be is he on the team two years from now? Still, who else would you have picked in that slot given the obvious need for a physical big?
    You can still make a case for picking Tyler instead of Singler because of need, but the Pistons just did not want any potential head cases on board.

    • Jul 6, 20118:52 am
      by Patrick Hayes


      Cool story bro.

      The fact is, Singler regressed as a shooter last year, shooting 32 percent from 3-point range, and he took the second most attempts in his career last season. Yes, he was OK as a soph and junior, and honestly, if he were a legit four, I’d have no issue with his shooting numbers. But he’s projected by most, including the team, as mostly a three.

      Furthermore, the commenter I was responding to compared him to Shane Battier, who shot 41 percent or better from three his last three seasons at Duke. Comparing Battier to Singler as a shooter is a big enough stretch. But comparing them as defenders is just ridiculous. So yes, compared to Battier, Singler is nowhere near quick. And I’m sorry, your “eye test” is not enough for me. Your eyes also tell you that Austin Daye is the next Kevin Durant.

      • Jul 6, 20111:14 pm
        by khandor


        Although I am suggesting that Singler is likely to develop in a way which is similar to Battier, this does not mean that I am also suggesting Singler is likely to be “as good as” Battier as a starting calibre SF in the NBA.
        Singler’s stats at Duke for 3′s and Ast:TO look like this:
        1st-yr, 3FGs/51-150, .340; Ast-TO/48-75 [-]
        2nd-yr, 3FGs/69-180, .383; Ast-TO/89-92 [-, better]
        3rd-yr, 3FGs/85-213, .399; Ast-TO/96-79 [+, better]
        4th-yr, 3FGs/62-193, .321; Ast-TO/60-70 [-, worse]
        while Battier’s stats at Duke for 3′s and Ast:TO look like this:
        1st-yr, 3FGs/4-24, .167; Ast-TO/40-25 [+]
        2nd-yr, 3FGs/39-94, .415; Ast-To/55-32 [+, better]
        3rd-yr, 3FGs/79-178, .444; Ast-TO/72-44 [+, better]
        4th-yr, 3FGs/124-296, .419; Ast-TO/72-60 [+, worse]
        Based in part on those numbers, there is every indication that Singler could well develop as a poor man’s Battier, once he gets to the NBA … if he, too, is lucky enough to play for an elite level coach like Hubie Brown.

        • Jul 6, 20111:28 pm
          by Patrick Hayes


          So … based on 3 point shooting numbers that weren’t even close to similar (seriously … Battier was an elite 3 point shooter in college, Singler only had two seasons that were good) and based on, for some odd reason, assist to turnover ratio, that shows that Singler could develop into a poor man’s Battier? What does that even mean? How poor are we talking? Are you comfortable with Singler defending Lebron James or Kobe Bryant 35+ minutes a game the way Battier did?

          “Although I am suggesting that Singler is likely to develop in a way which is similar to Battier, this does not mean that I am also suggesting Singler is likely to be “as good as” Battier.”

          Good. I’m glad you’re not suggesting that, because it’s ridiculous. There’s very little that is comparable between the two skill-wise. It’s just not a good comparison whatsoever, even if you’re not saying Singler won’t be as good as Battier. Why even bring up Battier’s name in the first place? Because they both went to Duke?

          Good coaching helps any player, but the fact is, Battier was ready to step in as a rookie and become a key contributor on a good young Memphis team. Kyle Singler might not be able to crack a rotation on a Pistons team that will not be very good. He’ll hustle, he’s smart and he might be able to fix his shot. But to expect much more than that is just asking far too much out of a second round pick.

          • Jul 6, 20116:14 pm
            by khandor

            From a physical stature standpoint … height, weight, shoulder width, hip width, etc. … Singler is similar to Battier, when both players were drafted out of Duke. Although Battier is thought to be an elite level defender today, he did not fit into that category when he was drafted after playing mostly small-four for the Blue Devils, IIRC. In my assessment, both players have a solid understanding of “How to play the game properly” … which is best reflected in a player’s Assist:Turnover ratio, if only one statistic is going to be used as a gauge for overall Bball IQ. If you look at Ast:TO for each player you should be able to see that they trended in a similar way during their 4 seasons at Duke, i.e. 1st-yr/-, 2nd-yr/better, 3rd-yr/better, 4th-yr/worse, which may well indicate that each player was distracted in their senior season after showing gradual improvement during year 2 and 3. If you at their respective 3FG% you should be able to see that both players trended in a similar way, i.e. 1st-yr/<40.0%, 2nd-yr/better, 3rd-yr/better, 4th-yr/worse. Although Singler’s raw numbers were not as efficient as Battier’s, it’s the relative trends that establish the points of similarity. Although I do not expect others to be able to see the similarities between these two players at first glance, I would simply suggest that Pistons fans should not be surprised to see Singler develop into a poor man’s version of Battier, if he’s fortunate enough to find himself playing for a top notch head coach in the NBA, ala Hubie Brown. Top notch practicioners, like H-Brown have the ability to see and then develop skills in this type of player at the NBA level what other less insightful coaches do not have the ability to develop because they are too concerned with: a. How a player looks, or b. What a player’s stats are … in performance categories that are really quite unimportant, in the case of a “glue” player whose main jobs are to lead by example, pass the ball effectively, defend, rebound, screen, pick, and communicate with his teammates [etc.]. If it turns out that I am wrong about Singler’s ability 3-5 years from now, then, I will have no problem acknowledging this fact. If it turns out that I am right about Singler’s ability 3-5 years from now, will you be able to do likewise? For the sake of the Pistons I hope that I am right.

    • Jul 6, 201112:55 pm
      by khandor


      Agreed, on all acounts.

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