He may be known for his array of wild trick shots but Detroit Pistons rookie, Kyle Singler, has more to offer than just YouTube videos.
Drafted 33rd overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons, 24 year old Singler made a bold decision in his first year, turning his back on the NBA and choosing instead to ply his trade in Spain where he eventually ended up helping Real Madrid to a 91-74 win over FC Barcelona to lift the Copa Del Rey, the first trophy the club had won since 2007.
Explaining his reasons for moving to Spain after being drafted by the Pistons, the former Duke player told the Huffington post in January 2012, that he would have ‘more opportunities to play’. It was a decision that current team-mate, Jason Maxiell, feels has helped the Oregon native adapt to the NBA much quicker than otherwise expected.
“He was overseas last year for a whole year and he played solid over there, so he’s come in and fitted into the starting line-up no problem at all,” Maxiell said
Fellow rookie, Khris Middleton, agrees that Singler has had a strong start to his NBA career and believes he has a lot more to offer, saying “Kyle has improved a lot. He’s doing great so far. We keep expecting big things from him.”
‘Big things’ may await 6’8 Singler but the man himself is far more modest when it comes to discussing his impact on the Pistons. Entering the starting line-up with the team win-less after eight straight losses to open the season, Coach Lawrence Frank’s side has since compiled a 14-16 record with Singler starting.
“We did start off slow,” admitted Singler, when talking about the Pistons start to the season. “As of late we’ve been playing really well as a team.
“My role on the team is to bring energy [and] just be a consistent basketball player that can make plays on both ends of the court. I just have to keep doing that to help the team win.”
When the title ‘Rookie of the Year’ is mentioned moments later, Singler looks visibly uncomfortable, daring not to add himself to a group of players that includes Damian Lillard and number one pick, Anthony Davis. But to help a team to a near .500 record since his introduction into the starting five, the Pistons’ rookie has to be given consideration … or at the very least, credit.
“I do consider myself one of the top rookies in the league from what I can bring to a team. What I do is very important,” said Singler. “[But] I wouldn’t put myself in there because those guys have been playing well, scoring a lot of points.”
With a humble attitude like that, the reserved British public who attend the O2 on Thursday night will grow very fond of Kyle Singler. Not that he’ll ever admit it.