Sunday, June 1, 2014

2014 Season Review: Kyle Singler

Five Pistons players attempted more than 85 threes this season, and only one managed to shoot above 34% beyond the arc.  That would be Kyle Singler, connecting on 94 of his 246 looks, good for 38.2%.  Not only was Singler a sight for sore eyes amongst a team of terrible jump shooters, he was the league's best shooter from one of the game's most important spots: the right corner.  Singler hit 53% of his right corner threes (According to Kirk Goldsberry, Grantland), providing the Pistons with the only floor spacing they would enjoy all year long.  For everything that Singler isn't, he managed a top-20 Offensive Rating (117) and the team's second-highest TS% in an extremely low-usage role.  Kyle Singler quietly had one of the best seasons on the team in 2013-14.

11.8 9.6 57.4% 52.5% 38.2% 7.1% 4.7% 10.4%

Aside from the outstanding TS% and solid eFG%, nothing much jumps out about Singler statistically.  His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) really takes a hit because he doesn't rebound well for his position, and is a low usage player that isn't put in many playmaking situations.  One of those things there would be okay to blame Singler for (rebounding), but it's hard to say that his low usage and assist numbers are his fault.  He's a role player, and he knows that.  If anything he should get credit for not trying to do too much, which is a skill that I wish he could translate to some of his teammates.  One thing that doesn't show in his stat chart is the biggest improvement in his game from his rookie year to his second year; free throw rate.  Singler upped his FTr from .193 as a rookie to .306 as a sophomore.  This was the biggest part of his improvement upon a mediocre 51.7 TS% as a rookie in similar minutes and usage.  He also improved his 2P% nearly a whole three points.  Kyle Singler really upped his physical game as a sophomore.  Your guess is as good as mine as to where this development came from.

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This chart, while not as cool as the one in the linked Goldsberry article above, truly shows "Kyle Singler: Corner Assassin".  He attempted 138 corner threes this season and connected on 68 of them.  That's nearly 50% from arguably the most important spots on the floor, in terms of spacing and points per shot.  Also of note is how few mid-range jumpers that Singler attempted over the course of the season.  Singler attempted 79% of his shots this season from either behind the arc or within three feet of the basket.  To me, that reflects an understanding of the advanced stats movement and an understanding of how to improve scoring efficiency.  I've seen many people on different Pistons sites say that Singler would be a great role player for the Spurs.  While that's true too, I think his shot selection makes him a great fit for the Houston Rockets and their interesting threes-and-dunks/layups strategy.  I would expect this trend to continue for Singler in the upcoming season with Stan Van Gundy taking over.


HEY THAT'S NOT HOW THIS IS SUPPOSED TO WORK!  That stumble backwards into the cameramen is awesome.  It looks like he's in Mortal Kombat and the announcer is saying "FINISH HIM".  Let's give this another try:

That's better.


2014-15 Status: Under contract for $1,090,000 (via Basketball-Reference)

Entering his third year in the NBA, Kyle Singler will be halfway to 27, much older than your run-of-the-mill third year player.  For reference, seven year NBA veteran Kevin Durant is approximately a year younger than Singler.  Conventional wisdom suggests that this means Singler is approaching his ceiling within the next year or two.  How much more development is left in him remains to be seen.  I'm expecting, overall, to see more of the same from Singler going into year three.  The hardest thing to project with Singler is how well he's going to shoot from behind the arc.  Starting with his career at Duke, and including his year in Spain, here is what Singler has done from beyond the arc in each season: 34%, 38.3%, 39.9%, 32.1%, 42.7%, 35%, 38.2%.  Those seasons range from outstanding (42.7% in Spain) to woof (32.1% on 5.2 3PA/g as a Sr. at Duke).  Looking at that, I'm not willing to just assume he's going to be the same marksman that he was last year.  The good thing about Singler is, his willingness to take contact and get to the line will still make him productive even if he is struggling from the outside.  Free agency and/or trades may have an effect on his role, but if the Pistons move Smith, there's a decent chance Van Gundy will start Singler at SF.  I planned on criticizing Singler's defense somewhere in here, but got lost in all of the positive offensive numbers.  So I guess that goes here: Not even an adequate defender, but playing him at SF would be better for his and the team's defense.


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