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How will one-time rookie starters Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler fit with more-talented Pistons?

Me at the Detroit Free Press:

My eyes tell me Jerebko and Singler started as rookies for two reasons:

1. They were pretty good.

2. The Pistons were pretty bad.

Now that the Pistons have added Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Chauncey Billups and Luigi Datome, “pretty good” might no longer cut it for Jerebko and Singler.

And that’s OK.

As much as Jerebko and Singler started because they were on bad teams — Jerebko especially stood out because he played hard on a team that didn’t — they also contributed to the teams being bad. Jerebko’s forays into trying to be more than a hustle player have gone poorly, and Singler excels at nothing.

Sure, there’s virtue in Jerebko’s effort and Singler’s balanced competence, but as the Pistons have made the necessary step of upgrading talent, Detroit probably can do better than what Jerekbo and Singler contributed as rookies.

In other words, Jerebko’s and Singler’s heavy minutes were a product of their proficiency and the Pistons’ lack thereof, but I think the Pistons’ bleakness played a larger role. Put Jerebko and Singler on even slightly better teams, and they probably don’t start as rookies — and maybe never in their careers.

However, historical precedent indicates that my eye test might be off.

Since 1980, just four other second-round picks (indicative of lesser players) have started at least 70 games as a rookie on a losing team: Marc Gasol, Nick Van Exel, Grant Long and Hot Rod Williams.

All four turned out pretty well. Gasol and Van Exel made All-Star Games, and Long and Williams had lengthy careers that included starting roles.

Of course, it’s a small sample, but this group greatly surpasses an average sample of second-rounders.

Starting 70 games as a rookie, apparently even on a bad team, indicates a high aptitude. Plus, all that playing time surely helps a player improve during his first year.


  • Sep 20, 201311:49 am
    by labatts


    I would be okay with Jerebko turning into Grant Long.

  • Sep 20, 20132:04 pm
    by danny


    think both players end towards end up being 10 and 11 on the roster list, depending on the game and who we are playing their time will either increase or decrease from around 10 mins.

    • Sep 20, 20133:17 pm
      by tarsier


      10th and 11th men rarely get off the bench. They certainly don’t tend to get 10 minutes or so most games.

  • Sep 20, 20132:49 pm
    by Max


    I think Singler is the 6th or 7th man this year unless Datome beats him out.  Jerebko is a bit lost in the crowd though but should get some time unless Mitchell beats him out.  Hopefully Charlie V never appears on the active roster this season.  

    • Sep 20, 20133:22 pm
      by tarsier


      So let’s see: Smith, Monroe, Drummond, Jennings, Pope.

      You only expect 0-1 of Billups, Stuckey, Villanueva, Mitchell, Jerebko, and Middleton to be ahead of Singler?

      • Sep 20, 20134:47 pm
        by Max


        Only Stuckey is a good possibility.   Even if Billups starts or comes off the bench first he’s not playing more than 20 minutes.  The point guard spot is especially deep this year so I don’t expect Billups to get many minutes and I’m not going to project that he plays a full season anyway.  I expect Smith to play a lot of power forward and Monroe to play a lot of center.   I don’t even think it’s a given that all of the big men off the bench combined see significant or consistent minutes or even anything other than garbage time.   Singler could get the most minutes off the bench of anyone if Datome doesn’t work out quickly because he’s a more natural small forward than Jerebko and the three is probably the spot with the most backup minutes available.  If Cheeks is smart, Charlie V won’t even be on the active roster.  Mitchell is a rookie so who knows if he’ll play?  He could be in the d-league for all we know.  As for Jerebko: didn’t Singler beat him out last year as a rookie?  And Middleton is no longer on the team.  

        • Sep 23, 201312:59 pm
          by tarsier


          Billups may only play about 20 mpg, but that could easily be more than Singler. Singler beat out Jerebko last season for playing time because Jerebko appeared to be in Frank’s dog house. When he got a chance to be on the court at times late in the season, he looked better than Singler.

          • Sep 24, 20132:14 pm
            by Max

            Singler looked his best towards the beginning of the season and steadily declined.   Maybe that’s because he was out of position and unexpectedly playing a ton of minutes as a rookie.  In any case, I don’t think it’s much of an argument to look at two players where one outplayed the other 90 percent of the season and focus on the 10 percent of the season where the other player played better and especially when the one who played better throughout was a rookie.  

  • Sep 20, 20133:29 pm
    by Kamal


    Jerebko and Singler are both bums.  They should never get any significant burn for the Pistons again.

    • Sep 23, 20131:01 pm
      by tarsier


      Datome is a huge wild card. But, assuming he’s nothing special, who do you think should be playing SF?

  • Sep 20, 20134:06 pm
    by GVSU Wrecking Ball


    ^^^ Middleton???

    • Sep 20, 20135:48 pm
      by CityofKlompton


      Oh, hey!  So this what you’re doing with your time now….

    • Sep 23, 20131:00 pm
      by tarsier


      Yeah, my mistake.

  • Sep 20, 20135:17 pm
    by Windy


    Singler will find time on this team forsure…he is a nice piece when no one is paying much attention to him…when he is going up teams first lineup he looks weaker but I find him a solid everything man coming off the pine…Jerebko I think is on his way out…CV is a better shooter an our rebounding should be sound with our three bigs…I wish Jerebko turned into the player I hoped but hasn’t been the same since the injury…Datome i could see making his way into steady minutes after about 15-20 games, he needs to see NBA speed and athletism before he gets comfortable…he very well could be the X factor on this team, his shooting alone is a major major plus

  • Sep 20, 20138:24 pm
    by gmehl


    I like Jerebko and Singler but the are players we should be trying to offload for future assets. I say we also let Stuckey and CV’s contracts expire so next season we can look at contending.

  • Sep 20, 20138:51 pm
    by Windy


    Singler is dirt cheap…odds are your not going to find the quality, young type player in a trade straight up…as part of a package maybe…he will sweeten the pot forsure…I would much rather try to dump JJ…I guy like Singler can play the 2.3.4…and like said he is on a solid deal…he is the type of player good teams have, not starting but the guy that could see 10-14 min a night on a winner 

  • Sep 21, 201312:26 pm
    by frankie d


    i just think both JJ and singler were victims of the team’s organizational incompetence and its total inability to use and develop young talent appropriately.
    JJ went from being a SF who could physically overwhelm other SF’s because of his size and hustle and willingness to bang around the basket to a undersized PF who was standing out near the 3 point line shooting spot up jumpers.  that was by design, as crazy as it seems.  and now that they’ve jerked him around for 2 years and totally screwed up his game and his head, is there any wonder that he is not the same player he was as a rookie, when he made his mark in a simple but effective way: hustling, hitting the boards, running the floor and scrambling on defense.
    singler?  all anyone needs to know is that singler started a fairly long stretch at SG.  SG? are you freaking kidding me.  i like singler and think that he is, at worst, a good rotation cog on a team that could go a couple rounds deep into the playoffs.  if he develops, he might even be a starter, the 5th player, on that same team.  but he surely isn’t a SG and the fact that the team put him out there to be torched is not his fault.
    same old story.  draft decent young guys…keep them around for a couple of years…fail to use them correctly or develop their skills…dump them for nothing because they ultimately lose whatever value they had.  the list is long and sorry over the last 6 or 7 years.  unfortunately, both singler and JJ might be added to that list. 

    • Sep 23, 201311:00 am
      by Huddy


      Jonas was “physically overwhelming” opposing SF’s?  Hes a hustle guy that crashes boards, but he wasn’t overwhelming a large percentage of other SF’s in the league.  How much of his increased shot attempts outside are coaching and his choice isn’t as clear cut as you make it seem, but even if its mostly coaching he isn’t a stud.  He is not a strong offensivee player by any means and he isn’t a lock down defender…hes a off the bench hustle guy.  This is even more obvious the way the Pistons are currently assembled.  Since he obviously isn’t much of an outside threat how much value does his hustle and rebounding to the team when Monroe/Drummond/Smith are on the floor (in some combination)?  The organization probably handled him pretty poorly since IMO he should have been played just to see where he could go rather than focusing on veterans that weren’t taking the team anywhere.  That being said with the addition of talent to the team that makes JJ’s skill set less useful he has no place on the team.
      Singler isn’t a SG, but he isn’t a rotation cog at worst.  At worst he is a non rotation guy, because even when in proper position he isn’t wowing anyone.  He is not fast enough to match up with most SF’s today and adds little on the defensive side of the ball.  He could become a good spot up shooter, but didn’t have a great shooting year.  He is pretty all around average.  I agree playing him at the 2 is a bad move, but I don’t think thats a free pass that means his performance can’t be evaluated. 
      I think the talent level of the Pistons factors in quite a bit.  A second round pick just doesn’t have the time and room to develop when a team needs them to contribute like they were picked much higher.  Would Jerebko be a better player on the Spurs?  Probably, lots of guys would.  He could do what he does best with lots of support around to fill in any holes.  Same goes for Singler, but whether he is in the game at the 2 or the 3 he was going to be exposed as an average player being asked to play  big minutes without a lot of talent around him.  On a different team we would be evaluating these guy’s per 36 stats from the 10 mpg they were getting, but on the Pistons we are evaluating how they did starting as rookies because of a lack of options.  Hopefully this is the last round of young guys that are asked to do too much since the team has at the least a much more established starting line up with the ability to focus on specific need off the bench.

      • Sep 24, 20139:21 am
        by frankie d


        thanks.  if one simply reads what you say and don’t pay too much attention to your conclusions, you pretty much agree with and buttress exactly what i argued.
        jj not “overwhelming”?
        fine.  use whatever adverb or adjective you like.  fact is, he was getting his points and rebounds through sheer will, hustle and physicality, as he is obviously not a very skilled player.  he was doing the whta he did by simply going over the top of, or through smaller SFs.  hard to imagine why any coaching staff would want to take a guy like that and move him 20 feet away from the basket, which is obviously where he was supposed to be, in most of the offensive sets he was involved in, especially when frank got here.
        singler? again, “all around average” in the nba means you are probably going to be in somebody’s rotation. and good teams most times learn how to take average talent – see the spurs – and make them an effective part of their winning formula.
        bad teams like the pistons put those players in positions where they wont succeed and then dump them for nothing. 

        • Sep 24, 201310:54 am
          by Huddy


          I get where you are coming from.  What I am trying to say is a guy that is capable of “being in someones rotation” is going to look misused or like a scrub pretty much no matter what if he is playing big minutes on a bad team.  Singler is probably still in the Pistons rotation and I would imagine will have a better season being a complimentary piece to the new addition as opposed to being a feature.  Good teams like the Spurs wouldn’t have Singler or JJ starting period.  As far as playing guys out of position goes I am right there with you, but talent of the team is a major factor to be considered.  Bad teams ask for more from bad or average players and have higher expectations from them.  Good teams have the luxury of playing to everyone’s strengths.  Singler should be a SF?  Yeah definitely and IMO if he put on a little weight I would rather him be a stretch 4 than a SG.  That being said on the 2012 Pistons with Stuckey shooting 35% from the floor to start the season and Prince being on the team…whos the SG?  English?  Some FA that couldn’t make another team?  Having no depth makes those decisions less obvious. 
          I don’t agree with everything you say I simply think there is more to it than “same old story don’t use guys right and lose them”.  Good teams that develop their rotation guys well start with a foundation that the Pistons haven’t had for years now.   You are arguing that the Pistons misused and will lose Singler and JJ…I don’t agree because Singler will remain in the rotation, isn’t going anywhere, and will be in a much more realistic and manageable role.  JJ?  I think his skill set is lost on the current line up so he will be pushed out of the rotation.  Could he have been featured more and maybe traded and made into a better asset?  Maybe, IMO he is a strong rebounder with a poor shot that doesn’t get blocks so his value is really up in the air.

          • Sep 25, 201312:34 am
            by frankie d

            imho, jj is a kenneth faried-type player, but the pistons did not know how to use that type of player.  
            my guess is that if faried had been drafted by detroit, he would have languished on the bench because no one would have know what to do with him.
            he is, after all, a poor shot, but a strong rebounder.  and like jj, he is not a good one on one defender.  
            but his strong points more than make up for the obvious weaknesses in his game.
            jj, imho, is the same type of player.  i can live with his negatives, because he brings so much good stuff to the court.  if he is used the right way.
            and in my view, the way detroit just totally botched the chase budinger draft pick is a classic example of what detroit has been doing wrong the last few years.  budinger was a projected lottery pick who slid and houston was smart enough to get dumars to draft him for them with a late second round pick.  they play him, develop his market value and then dump him for a mid first round draft choice.  
            not bad, and something detroit has never done in dumars reign as gm.
            the fact that he was totally blind to the possibilities involved with a guy like budinger – not a star, but someone who had value as an asset – is a huge reason detroit is still digging itself out of its current hole.

  • Sep 23, 201310:30 am
    by Swani


    Love how tarsier disappeared as soon as he realized, how stupid his post was and tha no one agreed with him. Very surprising, seen his name on here a lot. Expected more. Singler will def get some tick this year, JJ not so much IMO

    • Sep 23, 20131:06 pm
      by tarsier


      Yes, sometimes I go multiple days without being on PP. In this case, an entire weekend. Gasp!

    • Sep 24, 20132:23 am
      by ksgchild


      Whats even funnier is the fact that you can’t seem to get enough of yourself. If you can get away with sharing your opinion, then maybe you should give everyone the same opportunity. Seems to me that your a cyber-bully who just enjoys making other people try to look bad. Tarsier had some good points. Lighten up, its not like any of our comments are going to help this team win games in the first place. Honestly, i’m not much of a JJ fan since his injury. However, last season’s coaching debacle prevented him from displaying his high energy play. As for Mr. Buckets (Singler) he will get an opportunity in camp to prove the critics wrong. I believe he and JJ will be 6 and 7 off the bench (both playing 8-10 mpg, or slightly less for JJ)) However, it would be nice to see Datome and Mitchell develop quickly and take over those spots. An athletic team always has more opportunity to steal a win.

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