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Kyle Singler staying in Spain is good for the Pistons

The NBA has two limits on a team’s ability to improve itself that draw frequent discussion: the salary cap and the luxury tax. But a third limit exists, and that’s the roster limit of 15 players.

For the rebuilding Pistons, that means they get just 15 chances to find a future contributor. Every player they acquire means another they can’t.

Thankfully, Kyle Singler has decided to play next season in Spain, and that means the Pistons can hold the rights of one additional player. Singler won’t count against the roster limit, but because the Pistons drafted him, they’ll retain the first right to sign him whenever he joins the NBA.

I have no idea whether the Pistons wanted Singler to play in Spain this year. There’s certainly an argument to be made that, in addition to Detroit getting an extra roster spot, Singler will benefit more from playing in Europe than sitting on the Pistons’ bench. But given how rarely the Pistons used the D-League to give young players game experience, my guess is they’d prefer Singler spent every day practicing with the Pistons and learning their routine.

To me, though, that’s inconsequential. Every player is different, and it’s futile to project which system would help Singler more in the year.

I’m concerned about that last roster spot.

Despite reports of Singler’s improvement, I doubt he’d push the Pistons into the playoffs this season. If he’s really becoming a valuable player, he’ll help more in future years – but he’ll certainly need help, and his absence will help the Pistons find it.

With that extra roster spot, the Pistons can try out one more player – regardless of his age – to see whether he can help them compete for a title. For that, I say to Singler, gracias.

Vernon Macklin and Rodney Stuckey corollaries

The same logic explains why I didn’t like the Pistons drafting Vernon Macklin (unless he agreed, as previous Pistons second rounders like Trent Plaisted and Deron Washington have, to play overseas for a year). Maybe he’ll emerge as a rotation-caliber player in a few years, but I don’t think that slim chance justifies using a precious roster spot on him in the interim. Drafting a foreign player not set on joining the NBA immediately, even if his odds of becoming a rotation player are slightly lower, comes with less opportunity cost.

This logic also explains why I was hoping Rodney Stuckey would sign in China. The Pistons wouldn’t have lost the right to match his NBA contract offers, and they could have used the upcoming rebuilding year to assess their team without him.


  • Nov 30, 201110:24 pm
    by ryan


    I see what you mean about the rosters spots but at least Vernon Macklin could fill a big need. If he’s a solid defender and rebounder off the bench that’s a huge value from a late draft pick and a good value form his roster spot.

    It seems like you’re possibly in favor of tanking this season in order to develop younger guys and in order to have another high pick, is that the case?

    • Dec 1, 20117:05 am
      by Murph


      “It seems like you’re possibly in favor of tanking this season in order to develop younger guys and in order to have another high pick, is that the case?”

      Tanking the season is not a bad strategy.  It’s only a 66 game season anyway, and we probably won’t make the playoffs regardless.  This will be the deepest NBA draft since 2004, and Lawrence Frank will get a free pass on the team’s performance in his first year. 

      If ever tanking a season makes sense, this is the year for it.

  • Dec 1, 20117:51 am
    by detroitpcb


    I believe you are wrong. Singler would have contributed this year with the Pistons. But getting 30 minutes a game in Spain is probably better than getting 15 minutes in the NBA at this point in his development so it should all work out.

    I am more concerned that we are not going to use our amnesty to clear up the mess at shooting guard. Hopefully that means some trades are going to be made. I do not want to watch Ben Gordon play for another season.

  • Dec 1, 20117:54 am
    by Adrià


    I don’t understand one thing: what is useful for to have some free agents instead of our own guys? Maybe with Singler takes sense, ’cause Tay will probably leave, so we need some experienced guy at forward (maybe only to make Daye compit with him and play better), but we need a big man, and this signing free agents period is going to be crazy, so we need Vernon to fill the gap.
    The benefits of not having Stucey is that Pistons could sign a TRUE point guard and see how the team works with it, to see if the better option is to trade Stuckey for a good true point guard. But, by now, Stuckey is one of our better players (PPG and Asists give him some credit); ok, he’s not great, but we now need him. And, of course, if he can get to his best level, he will be our reference, so not having him in China is either good or bad. It’s just as before: mediocre and poor.

  • Dec 1, 20118:18 am
    by ryan


    I wouldn’t like to see us tank necessarily but I would like to see us purposefully play our young guys heavy minutes because I think we need to see what we have in Austin Daye and Brandon Knight, how much Jonas Jeberko has come back and how Greg Monroe has developed over the lockout. Those guys should be on the floor most of the time and Terrico White and Vernon Macklin should also get heavy minutes.
    I expect that a side effect of this will be that we’ll lose quite a few games but that makes sense too because as Murph mentioned it’s a good year to be in the draft. I’d love it if we could move some of the garbage (Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva) and former greats (Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton) for additional picks.
    In the draft itself I’ve got a lot of love for Jared Sullinger. He has his limitations but my gut feeling is that we’ll be saying the same thing when he’s being inducted into the hall of fame. The guy is just a ball player. Of course it’d be nice to have a rim protector to pair with Greg Monroe…
    I also feel like Terrence Jones could be our guy at small forward. I view Jonas Jeberko as a power forward and Austin Daye as a mistake (Jrue Holiday anyone???) so I think we’ll have room for him.

  • Dec 1, 20118:21 am
    by ryan


    “I do not want to watch Ben Gordon play for another season.”

    I feel the same way. I didn’t like Ben Gordon at UCONN, I didn’t like him in Chicago and I can’t stand him in Detroit I really want to see him gone but I hope we’re patient enough to re-inflate his value and trade him instead of using the amnesty thing on him.

  • Dec 1, 201111:55 am
    by tarsier


    I understand the argument for roster spots, and there have been years when that seemed reasonable. But this year, who would you put in that spot instead? Granted, I am assuming that neither Prince nor McGrady comes back and that Dumars doesn’t do something pointless like sign Dunleavy. Those are big assumptions, because they imply that Dumars is more interested in building a good team than in how many wins he can squeeze out this year.

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