Leading up to the home opener Lawrence Frank made it clear that he's interested in using a deep rotation this season. Against the Rockets, Frank used 10 players, including rookies Andre Drummond, Kyle Singler and Kim English. Although Drummond wowed fans in the preseason, besides an early Will Bynum alley-oop feed, Drummond had a standard rookie stat line: 2 points, 2 rebounds and 2 personal fouls. However, the other two Piston rookies put up some eye-catching numbers.
Playing 16 minutes on Wednesday night, Kyle Singler posted 10 points, two rebounds and a block. Coming in for Tayshaun Prince in the closing minutes of the first quarter the scoring didn't start right away, but Singler got comfortable doing the intangibles. Guarding the rim on defense, crashing the boards on his teammates' misses, moving without the ball and making himself available in the offense, Singler was putting himself in position for a productive night. After getting an easy lay-in underneath the basket, Singler's teammates started to find him at the top of the three-point arch. Reminiscent of his Duke playing days, two triples came for Singler in the second quarter. Both were quick spot-up shots, the first with someone right in his face. Singler's second half was less productive, but he certainly showed enough promise to have Pistons fans excited for his development this season.
Kim English played with a lot of guts, just ask James Harden. In the second quarter, English ran the floor on a Piston offensive push and went right at James Harden for the lay-up. With James Harden daring him to shoot in the third quarter, English scanned the floor then spotted up and drained a triple right over Harden's out-stretched arm. The next time down, as Tayshaun Prince pushed the ball off the defensive rebound, English ran the floor, got to his spot and drained a corner three for back-to-back triples before the Houston defense knew what happened. With Rodney Stuckey struggling to find the basket, English found himself in the game during crunch time when Frank decided to go small with three guards. There's a trust developing between Frank and English, and after seeing him fearlessly shoot the triple over James Harden it's a fair assumption that English's three-point attempts will only grow as Lawrence Frank continues to give English the green light. He was 2/3 on Wednesday and while English won't keep that percentage going all season, English could become the three-point threat the Pistons need out of their backcourt.
With six player's on the roster in either their first or second season, the youth on this year's Piston team is no mystery. If the team wants to improve from last season while also sticking with a deep rotation, they're going to need the rookies to step-up regularly. Singler and English aren't going to play the way they did against Houston every night, but opening night was a step in the right direction.
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