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Archive → November, 2012

Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight combine for 13 turnovers in loss to Memphis

Detroit Pistons 78 FinalRecap | Box Score 90 Memphis Grizzlies
Jason Maxiell, PF 31 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 5 PTS | -2Maxiell struggles defensively against a lot of bigs, but Randolph is the perfect type of player to match him up with. He’s strong enough to hold position and he’s not at a huge height disadvantage, so he’s athletic enough to bother Randolph’s shots. He’s always adequate from a technical standpoint defensively, but tonight, he was good and he helped force Randolph into a 3-for-8 performance.
Tayshaun Prince, SF 35 MIN | 6-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 4 AST | 15 PTS | -11Prince had his best all-around game of the season. He was efficient offensively and had his best defensive performance in ages, harassing Rudy Gay into a 6-for-17 shooting night.
Kyle Singler, SF 39 MIN | 3-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | -7A month ago, I would’ve considered this a fine game for Singler, but to his credit, he’s significantly raised expectations. Also to his credit, he didn’t shoot well, but he still impacted the game in other ways, particularly with his rebounding and defense.
Greg Monroe, C 31 MIN | 7-15 FG | 3-3 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 17 PTS | -10This frontcourt was a tough matchup for Monroe. To his credit, he was physical, he fought for shots in the paint despite not being as strong as Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph, he rebounded and he came up with two steals. But his seven turnovers were a killer.
Brandon Knight, PG 27 MIN | 3-9 FG | 4-5 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 10 PTS | -3Listen, Knight has done some positive things of late. This game was a gigantic step back for him. He had six turnovers, he was careless with the ball, he shot poorly, he had no assists (and most of his teammates shot well, so the excuse that he made plays for guys who just missed shots doesn’t hold in this game) and Mike Conley put on a clinic. Like I said, Knight has done some things better this season, but this was an awful performance.
Charlie Villanueva, PF 15 MIN | 3-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 9 PTS | -3Villanueva had his worst shooting game since he was inserted into the rotation, but — surprise! — he doesn’t get that poor a grade. Ordinarily, if Villanueva’s shot isn’t falling, he’s not helping. Tonight, he battled defensively. Villanueva got back on defense on a breakaway by Darrell Arthur in the second half, stripped the ball from Arthur, Arthur got it back, then Villanueva blocked the shot. I’m harder on Villanueva than most players because he’s just been too bad a player for too long in Detroit to get much benefit of the doubt, but he’s definitely headed in a more positive direction than he’s been in years over the last few games.
Corey Maggette, SF 15 MIN | 0-3 FG | 3-4 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 3 PTS | -3Maggette came to Detroit with a reputation for being a get-mine type of player. Tonight, he didn’t make a shot, but he had three assists, a steal and got to the line four times — his trademark — in 15 minutes. I think he’s past the point of helping a team much in a rotation, even a bad team like this one, but I still haven’t minded his presence on the team. He’s seemed like a legitimately positive veteran presence, and to be honest, this team hasn’t had a lot of those in recent years.
Andre Drummond, C 19 MIN | 2-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -9I will go into more detail on Drummond below. No, I’m not giving him a good grade for his performance tonight, but that’s kind of a positive at this point — he, like Singler, has advanced to the point where a game with respectable numbers is sub-par for him because of the standard he’s already set for that. He hurt the Pistons on the court at times tonight, but I still can’t give him enough credit for how ready he’s been to contribute meaningful minutes this season.
Rodney Stuckey, PG 28 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 4 REB | 3 AST | 6 PTS | -12Stuckey had an awful shooting game, continues to take a baffling number of 3-point attempts despite his awful percentage and he didn’t get to the line at all tonight, usually a huge part of his game. But all that aside, he was still by far the best point guard the Pistons put on the floor tonight.
Lawrence Frank, Coach | True to his word, Frank has shortened his rotation. He stuck with Drummond for 19 minutes tonight despite some fairly noticeable mistakes Drummond made, so that’s a positive. With the team struggling shooting the ball, it would’ve been nice to see a bit of Kim English tonight, but considering that Prince and Singler were playing strong defensively, it’s hard to get too worked up about that.

Drummond’s pluses and minuses

If you put Drummond on the court for any amount of time, he’s going to block shots and he’s going to rebound. Those are extremely valuable skills, ones that should be earning Drummond more minutes and skills that the Pistons sorely lack. But because his readiness is such a surprise, there’s also a tendency to overlook his liabilities. Three plays, in particular, stood out for me against Memphis. Both cost the Pistons cheap baskets near the end of quarters.

In the final minute of the first quarter, Drummond got an offensive rebound. That’s good, and part of what makes him so valuable. But you know how Ben Wallace used to get an offensive rebound, then almost in one motion, toss it out to someone on the perimeter to reset the offense? That was instinctive to Wallace, a part of the play that was as vital as the rebound itself. Drummond hesitated. He didn’t immediately know where to go with the ball, then he brought it down low and it was stolen by Memphis. The Grizzlies went to the other end and Jerryd Bayless hit a jumper to give the team a 22-21 lead.

Late in the third quarter, the Pistons forced a Memphis miss, Drummond was in position to get the rebound, he grabbed it but didn’t do it aggressively, it slipped out of his hands and the Grizzlies kept the ball. Bayless again hit a shot that gave the Grizzlies a 76-66 lead. The Pistons would’ve had time to cut the lead to six heading into the fourth and instead went in down by double-digits because of something as little as failing to secure a rebound.

Drummond also had a play in the second half where he grabbed an offensive rebound, was positioned far under and away from the basket, jumped in the air like he was trying to attempt a shot, realized he couldn’t get one off and then threw a week wrap-around bounce pass toward the 3-point line that was easily stolen by Memphis.

Pointing those things out are not my attempt to pick on Drummond. Like I said, despite his shortcomings, he’s way too productive to not play significant minutes. But if you closely examine the mistakes he does make, they are the types of mistakes that tend to drive any coach at any level crazy. I don’t agree with the way Frank has used him to this point, but looking closely at Drummond’s mistakes at least makes it easier to understand that Frank is not necessarily crazy for having a quick hook at times. Drummond is supremely talented, he’s still arguably the second best big on this team, but he also still has a long way to go before he’s close to a finished product.

The missing Kim English

I alluded to it above, but I was hoping to see English get a few minutes tonight. English has played well in his limited time this season and seemingly disappeared from the rotation. But buried in this column by David Mayo at MLive was an explanation:

Specifically, it was English’s defense against Jimmer Fredette that was the issue.  The Pistons took a tough loss that night in Sacramento, in a winnable game, and it was because of their defense, not because they didn’t score enough.  It’s no coincidence that English hasn’t played a meaningful rotation role since.

Fredette scored 12 points off the bench in that game. Not sure what, specifically, English did or didn’t do defensively, but the Pistons as a whole were awful on D in that game. I’m still a huge English fan and wish he were playing, but at least that’s an explanation.

The Pistons were legitimately in this game

Don’t let the largely poor grades above fool you. The Pistons did some great things in this game. Overall, the defense was very good, led by Prince and Maxiell. They out-rebounded the Grizzlies and shot a little better. Sloppy games by Knight and Monroe were legitimately the difference. The Pistons were competitive most of the way despite an awful performance taking care of the ball from Monroe and Knight. The Pistons are not good enough to beat anyone, let alone one of the best team’s in the league, while making unforced errors. Tonight reinforced that, but everyone should feel a little positive that the defense was strong enough to keep Detroit close most of the way. That’s a significant improvement from just a couple weeks ago.

Going to the Grindhouse

Essentials

  • Teams: Detroit Pistons (5-11) at Memphis Grizzlies (11-2)
  • Date: November 30, 2012
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

Entering the contest, the Memphis Grizzlies have the best record in the NBA and own victories over the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder; which happened to play in the NBA Finals this past June. Make no mistake, the Grizz are an upper echelon team.

Lionel Hollins’ crew ranks in the top five for both offensive and defensive efficiency and are a force to be reckoned with quite frankly.

Their one weakness has always been perimeter shooting, and that became even more glaring with the departure of O.J. Mayo.  And yet, the Grizzlies simply brought in a few pieces to help space the floor, which has made them a more dangerous team.

Their strength will always be the bruising tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, that simply dominate most teams on the interior with their scoring and rebounding. Indeed, for all the talk about how the pairing of Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard would produce the most destructive interior force in the NBA, it’s actually the Memphis duo that has made life a living hell for the other teams in the NBA.

Memphis scores 44.8 points in the paint per game, and has the third best offensive rebounding rate in the Association. Their collective assault of the paint against opponents results in them manufacturing 24.6 free throw attempts per game (seventh in the NBA).

This may be particularly troubling for a Detroit Pistons team that is in the bottom tier of points allowed in the paint and that allows teams to generate 24.8 freebies per game. Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond will be asked to match the physical toughness of Gasol and Z-Bo tonight, and that will be an incredibly tough task.

Further exacerbating issues for the rest of the league, the Memphis Grizzlies play hard. Really hard.

Their defensive energy is impressive to look at, as they play physical and challenging defense. They get into the face of opponents and dare them to either put the ball on the floor or execute a seemingly easy pass. No matter how easy or simple a play might look at first glance against the Grizzlies, it’s important to understand that they are constantly baiting their opponents and just waiting to force a miscue to get out in transition.

Memphis players are always on high alert defensively and ready to pounce on any ball handler or post player trying to get inside the lane to create a scoring opportunity. They will swipe at the ball, get into passing lanes and bump players to throw them off course and generate turnovers. It’s worth noting that because they are so aggressive and physical defensively that referees tend to swallow their whistles because Memphis’ consistent in your face style defense sets the tone for how the game is called.

Consequently, Grizzlies’ games are typically quite physical because the officials allow for more contact than the average NBA game.

In order for the Pistons to be victorious tonight, it will be of utmost importance that they play through their mistakes, but that they also keep them to a minimum. In addition, they will have to match the intensity of the Grizzlies and challenge their frontline in order to have a shot to win it late because Tony Allen may very well simply completely take out one of the Pistons perimeter players with his superb defense.

Read about the Grizzlies

3 Shades of Blue.

Kyle Singler, with his confusingly good production, has become more intriguing than Andre Drummond

Me at the Free Press:

Using win shares, a decent measure of a player’s contributions, Portland’s Damian Lillard leads all rookies. No. 2 and No. 3? Singler and Andre Drummond. To call the Pistons’ first-year players pleasant surprises would be an understatement. They’ve been so good, they have a chance to give Detroit multiple all-rookie first-team players for the first time since Isiah Thomas and Kelly Tripucka in 1981-82.

With Drummond, the main question is: when? Nobody doubted Drummond’s potential. Many questioned how quickly he could reach it or whether he would get there. But nearly everyone could at least imagine a day when Drummond was a significant contributor. Possessing a 6-foot-10, 270-pound frame and incredible athleticism will do that.

But with Singler, the main question: how? Or more accurately: how in the world?

It can be tough to articulate exactly what Singler does so well, but while we’re trying to describe it, he’s turning around the Pistons’ season (from historically bad to regularly bad, but still).

Singler, with or without the ball, is constantly doing something to help his team score on each possession. That’s really valuable in a league with a shot clock and on a team with so many players prone to dribbling the life out of the offense.

Pistons activate Slava Kravtsov

Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News:

Slava Kravtsov is active tonight vs the Grizzlies…Austin Daye is sick and could be inactive

The Grizzlies have a few quality big men, so Kravtsov could definitely see a role tonight. Not sure whether he will, but it would at least make sense matchup-wise.

Moving to downtown arena is the least of the Pistons worries

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press:

The allure’s gone. Every home game with three quarters of the Palace empty represents another harsh reminder that the Pistons must get out of there and return to downtown Detroit in a shared new arena arrangement with the Red Wings as quickly as possible.

Why would playing downtown make any difference?

It’s about habit. It’s about familiarity. The market the Pistons court is now more comfortable spending their time and disposable entertainment dollars downtown than they were 20 years ago — even if Auburn Hills is a closer destination.

I love Detroit. It would be cool to see the Pistons play downtown … if they didn’t have a great facility that is paid for and still one of the best in the league (and getting better, considering the upgrades being made there). This country has gone crazy with stadium-building, many of them at significant cost to taxpayers. I can’t speak for the Red Wings because I don’t follow hockey and, other than going to Monday Night Raw a couple of times when I was a teenager, don’t really know much about Joe Louis as a facility. But the Palace is completely fine. A new arena for the Pistons would be an unnecessary extravagance.

Poor attendance at the Palace has zero to do with where the arena was located. It has everything to do with a bad, boring product being put on the floor over the last four years. As the Pistons organization proved not too long ago when they were perennially among the league’s attendance leaders, if you put a good product on the floor, the building will be full every night.

Corey Maggette, general manager?

Corey Maggette hasn’t made much of an on-court contribution with the Pistons this season, but there are plenty of stories chronicling his quickly becoming a respected voice in the locker room. That quality might be a good omen for his future career plans. Via David Mayo of MLive:

Maggette, in his 14th NBA season, was non-committal Wednesday when asked if he might play a 15th.  With his contract expiring after this season and his next one not likely to have the same value, retirement is a strong possibility.

Just in case, he has an idea of what he might do next.

“Who knows what will happen?  Who knows?  I might be a guy that might be in a front-office position,” Maggette said.  “I’m already preparing myself for that as I finish this career.

“The biggest thing is to worry about what’s going on now and let the future take care of itself.  We don’t even know if we’re going to wake up tomorrow.”

Mayo also noted that Maggette, who played one college season at Duke, has nearly completed his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Arizona State.

Pistons finally play like a true team, win big over Suns

I didn’t plan to make player grades the sole component of so many game reviews this season, but for the most part, once I analyzed each player individually, I had nothing left to add about that game.

The Pistons haven’t been a team as much as they’d been a collection of players.

Guys like Corey Maggette, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell and Will Bynum seem to be just taking up space until the Pistons dump them this summer. And players who appear integral to the franchise’s futures – Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond – barely play together. Both groups constantly share the court, and there’s no point drawing meaningful conclusions about how they play together.

It’s worth watching the veterans to assess their trade value, and it’s worth watching the young players to track their development. But how the Pistons worked together? Who cares. Half will be gone soon, and the other half will – hopefully – improve a great deal before it’s important to worry about fit.

Tonight, though, the Pistons played like a team. They had 28 assists. Eight players scored at least eight points. Everyone who played more than five minutes was at least +10.

It all added up to a 117-77 victory over the Phoenix Suns – the Pistons’ first 40-point win since 2007.

The Suns, playing their third game in four nights in three different road cities, certainly helped the cause. They trailed the final 34 minutes and by at least 15 points the final 21 minutes. Somewhere along the way, Phoenix gave up and let the Pistons pad their numbers.

But make no mistake, it got that way only  because the Pistons played like a team while the game was in reach. The jumbled mess finally came together, and it did in a big way. For one night at least, all the parts fit.

Afterward, the Pistons huddled at midcourt as Corey Maggette spoke. I don’t know what he said, but it probably involved some of those clichés that all teams use – emphasizing the value of teamwork, unselfishness and belief in each other.

Tonight, those words aren’t a plea. They’re reality.

Phoenix Suns 77 Final
Recap | Box Score
117 Detroit Pistons
Jason Maxiell, PF 22 MIN | 4-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +12

Steadily efficient.

Tayshaun Prince, SF 30 MIN | 3-5 FG | 5-6 FT | 2 REB | 3 AST | 12 PTS | +23

Using assist-to-shot ratio, admittedly a crude measure, Prince had only one game this unselfish last season.

Kyle Singler, SF 32 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 12 PTS | +19

Who would have thought Singler could score 12 points in what feels like an off game for him?

Greg Monroe, C 28 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 9 PTS | +15

The ball didn’t go through Monroe as much as usual, which means it went through him far less than I’d usually like. But with four turnovers, Monroe wasn’t sharp, and there were better options tonight. Still, he had a fine game overall.

Brandon Knight, PG 24 MIN | 5-11 FG | 6-7 FT | 1 REB | 6 AST | 19 PTS | +24

I don’t think Knight has turned a corner yet, but here’s another excellent game to support the theory that he has. I don’t know whether I was more impressed with his 3-of-3 3-point shooting or 6-of-7 free-throw shooting. Six assists and three turnovers, in this context, is definitely acceptable.

Charlie Villanueva, PF 21 MIN | 7-8 FG | 1-3 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 19 PTS | +32

There have been plenty of reasons to not like Villanueva as a player, but you must give him credit for this: When his number was called, he was ready. Since replacing Jonas Jerebko in the rotation, Villanueva has played exceptionally well. He didn’t need to play through rust, and he deserves credit for his preparation.

Austin Daye, PF 7 MIN | 1-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 PTS | +11

The only Piston to play who didn’t make a noticeable positive impact tonight.

Corey Maggette, SF 15 MIN | 3-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 8 PTS | +11

Quiet but efficient.

Andre Drummond, C 25 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-2 FT | 9 REB | 0 AST | 6 PTS | +21

Drummond dunked on a couple alley-oops, but I’d like to point out the one from Rodney Stuckey to star the second quarter. Sure, the dunk was spectacular, but don’t miss that Drummond set a great screen to create the play. Add his usual rebounding and rim protection, and this was a nice night for him.

Will Bynum, PG 7 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 0 PTS | +10

Four assists with a usage rate of zero? Oh, my. That had happened only once in each of the last three seasons. Plus, this was even more assists per minute than Bynum’s 20-assist game.

Rodney Stuckey, PG 25 MIN | 4-8 FG | 10-11 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 18 PTS | +22

Look at all those free throws! Add the passing and rebounding Stuckey has shown in past seasons, and I think he’s found the his best role – at least for now.

Kim English, SG 5 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | 0

Made his only 3-point attempt, a reminder that English could still serve a role on this team.

Jonas Jerebko, PF DNP COACH’S DECISION

Didn’t play at all in a 40-point win, and at least one beat writer think Jerebko has shown "displeasure" with his demotion (make that two). I’m not reading too much into this, but Jerebko didn’t appear too happy during the post-game huddle, either. I’ll let you – if my perception is even accurate – decide whether that’s a disruptive problem or just his competitive nature. It is curious that he didn’t play at all tonight.

Does Suns’ offense set in Detroit?

Essentials

  • Teams: Phoenix Suns (7-8) at Detroit Pistons (4-11)
  • Date: November 28, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD

What to look for

After winning in Cleveland last night as part of their east coast swing, the Phoenix Suns will make their way to the Palace tonight to take on the Detroit Pistons in what promises to be an interesting showdown.

Alvin Gentry coaches the offensive side of the ball a little differently than most teams in the NBA and it’s both entertaining and intriguing to look at. Indeed, the Suns aren’t a basketball team that relies heavily on isolations or star power, which is how most teams go about their business in the league.

Instead, the Suns prefer to put five players on the floor that are all scoring threats in their own way and allow them to flourish within the flow of the game.

At first glance, an observer would be inclined to believe that Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat are the team’s two main offensive cogs, but such isn’t exactly the case; it’s a bit more complicated than that. A lot of Phoenix’s offense is predicated on the high screen-and-roll between Gortat and Dragic and then the Suns just take whatever it is the opposition gives them as a result of their defensive rotations.

Thus, Marcin Gortat isn’t your prototypical big man; he is more so a version of the modern NBA center that relies on ball movement to catch and finish at the rim as opposed to post up plays. MySynergySports tells us that only 22.3 percent of Gortat’s field goal attempts come from post ups. And in those situations, it’s often because he caught a defender in a switch and sealed him off for a deep paint catch.

Most of his offense comes as a roller in the pick-and-roll or from cutting to the basket.

Because Gentry preaches ball movement, every player gets to touch the ball and make decisions with respect to where it should go next; whether it’s hitting the open man or taking the shot themselves.

It’s an interesting mix of shoot first players combined with team first guys that make the team function offensively as best it can.

Take Michael Beasley as an example, when he catches the ball he is often looking to put the ball up, either off the bounce for a drive at the rim or via the use of his jump shot. But he meshes well with Luis Scola that loves to take open shots from the elbow or feed cutters going to the basket.

In addition, both Scola and Beasley give the Suns post up options, especially against defenders that fail to pay attention to scouting reports.

Further exacerbating matters for opponents, Gentry likes to play Jared Dudley off the bench — he was a starter earlier in the year — to space the floor but also to keep the flow of the offense going because he understands his limitations and thus rarely forces up bad shots. Dudley either takes the open jumper or swings the ball to the open man.

Conversely, Shannon Brown can be an offense facilitator, but is much more at ease taking the ball to the rack.

This all works because Goran Dragic is a good scorer out of most situations on the court, but also because he is a willing passer. The Suns’ primary ball handler will take the burden of the offense on his shoulders, but he will also consistently get the ball to the wings and allow his perimeter teammates to create for themselves or others; also he will feed his big men where appropriate for them to get easy scores.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Phoenix Suns is that they play at a fast pace (sixth fastest in the league) but are a patient team. They might run multiple pick-and-rolls on the same possession in order to get the best possible shot.

They are truly a fun team to watch execute on the offensive end because they favor team play above all else and find simple and yet effective ways to score.

The Detroit Pistons’ defense will be forced to make some tough decisions tonight about how to defend the Suns, because they’re not quite like anything they’ve seen this season.

Read about the Suns

Valley of the Suns.

Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler both drawing plenty of attention with their play

I can’t remember a time when the Pistons have had two rookies on the roster at the same time making the kind of impact Andre Drummond and Kyle Singler are. As exciting as it has been to watch them (or plead for them to play more in Drummond’s case), the other positive is their play is getting the Pistons national attention that they haven’t been used to in their recent down years. Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated included both players in his rundown of rookies this season.

He included Drummond in his ‘prospects in progress’ section:

The key for players considered to be long-term projects is to find simple ways to stay on the floor. It doesn’t take much; when a team and coach have a vested interest in a player’s development, a few basic skills can go a long way toward validating potential playing time. For some, it may be converting open jumpers. For others, displays of pure effort. For Drummond, his instant validation comes through his rebounding — an area of the game in which Drummond is performing at an elite rate, as evidence by the fact that only two NBA players have posted higher overall rebounding percentages to date. He’s earned his ticket to more playing time through that kind of display alone, and now it’s on Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank to afford Drummond with even more opportunities to play, produce and grow.

And boy, is there a lot of room for growth. Drummond’s about as raw as a reasonably productive player can be, and the few post moves he’s attempted this season have resulted in wild flings in the general direction of the hoop. About a third of Drummond’s field goals have been dunks, and he’s only converted 48 percent of his attempts otherwise — a number that may seem decent until you consider that 96 percent of Drummond’s shot attempts this season have come in the deep paint or the low block. He simply struggles in any situation that requires finesse, and lacks the kind of touch on his interior attempts that would allow him to score over or around defenders. His rebounding and shot-blocking should buy him plenty of time to settle into his offensive and defensive (don’t mistake Drummond’s monster block numbers for defensive nuance) game, but there’s a long road ahead.

Mahoney included Singler in his ‘instant pros’ section (along with one of my favorite non-Piston rookies, Jae Crowder):

Singler doesn’t play at all like a rookie. He genuinely works the perimeter instead of standing around on the weak side, exploits his opponents’ inattention on a consistent basis and already converts his three-point attempts at an incredible clip (47 percent!) thanks to the passing lanes he creates with his off-ball movement. He’s a perfectly decent on-ball defender, does a good job of shuffling to deny dribble penetration and works hard to get over screens and close out on shooters. His game isn’t yet fully developed, but already it holds startling similarity to that of the handyman veteran, capable of filling minutes and actually contributing without giving his team a targetable vulnerability.

He’s far from perfect; as much as I like Singler’s game, he isn’t very quick with the ball and can pretty much only get into the paint off the dribble by way of a very guardable spin move. But he’s exactly the kind of player that the Pistons will be happy to have around in a few years, once Singler’s supporting act is given new meaning within the context of a more effective team.

His analysis of both guys is pretty spot on. No one is rooting for Drummond to play out of a belief that he’ll help the offense. Right now, he’s their best rebounder and shot-blocker. He’s certainly far behind development-wise and skill-wise at the offensive end, to the point where I don’t know that he’ll ever be much of a factor other than a guy who finishes well around the basket, but the rebounding and shot-blocking alone already make him a legitimate rotation player who should be getting more minutes.

As for Singler, as Mike Payne of Detroit Bad Boys wrote about in-depth the other day (a great post that everyone should check out, BTW), he’s simply been easily the biggest surprise on the team this season. He’s emerged from a crowded wing position to not only earn a rotation spot, but a starting spot, and he just keeps improving. It’s hard not to envision him as a long-term member of Detroit’s rotation.

Kim English, Jonas Jerebko and Austin Daye could all be in play for perimeter minutes soon

The Pistons have had an evolving rotation over the last week or so, and Keith Langlois of Pistons.com suggests that the tinkering might not be over:

Other changes could be in store. English could find a way back into the playing group at shooting guard if Stuckey is going to spend more time at point guard. Frank talked about Jerebko or Daye as possibilities for backup minutes behind Prince.

“Anything is on the table,” he said. “Foul trouble, or someone is underperforming. It’s trying to figure out which pieces fit on that night. As long as you’re giving maximum effort, it starts there. Usually you can work things out when you’re playing hard.”

A couple of those moves — finding minutes for the cult of personality that is Kim English and (finally) letting Jonas Jerebko play some small forward — would be incredibly popular moves among fans who have been anxious for both for quite some time now. Austin Daye finding his way into the rotation would probably be less popular, but honestly, as much as Daye has struggled, this team has been way too bad for Daye to not get one last chance at earning a consistent role on the team.