Why the Detroit Pistons Need to Leave Kyle Singler in the Starting Lineup

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Why the Detroit Pistons Need to Leave Kyle Singler in the Starting Lineup
Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE
Singler looks to make a play against James Harden

Kyle Singler made the most of his opportunity to start Thursday against the Philadelphia 76ers.

The rookie led the Detroit Pistons to their first victory of the year. He provided the boost they'd been missing, and for that reason he deserves to remain the starter.

His start came at the expense of Rodney Stuckey, who was ill. Based on his play this season, one might think Stuckey's illness is a chronic affliction. He hasn't looked good, shooting a mere .282 from the field.

At this point Stuckey is a liability and doesn't deserve to be in the starting lineup.

Singler proved his effectiveness and brought energy to a team that had been dragging. Head coach Lawrence Frank should ride the hot hand and keep him as the starter.

It won't happen, though.

According to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com, Stuckey will start Friday against the Orlando Magic and Singler will remain a rotation fixture.

Frank is likely bowing to Stuckey's ego. ESPN's Chris Broussard reports:

"The strange thing is that several people have told me Stuckey worked his tail off over the summer and that he was prepared to come in and have perhaps his best season. Now that he's struggling, they tell me he's a moody person who lets his moods affect his play."

Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Look familiar?

If Stuckey is moody now, imagine what he'd be like if he lost his starting job. The last thing the Pistons need this early in the year is a locker-room cancer.Frank is giving Stuckey, a veteran, another opportunity to prove himself.

Singler is more deserving of another opportunity though, and here's why.

Singler = The Worm?

Joe Dumars should have a talk with Lawrence Frank about how a timely tweak of the starting lineup can have a lasting impact. Dumars witnessed such a phenomenon during the Pistons title-defense season of 1989-1990.

During that year, the Bad Boys, fresh off their first NBA Championship, got off to a decent start. They were 26-14, but something was missing.

They needed an edge to take the next step. On January 23rd, Chuck Daly inserted Dennis Rodman into the starting lineup and the result was magic.

The Pistons rattled off 13 wins in a row and won 26 out of 27 games. The streak propelled them into the playoffs and Rodman was the key. His presence brought energy, attitude and defensive intensity to a team that had taken their foot off the pedal.

Now, I'm not saying that Singler is a mirror image of Rodman, and who knows if he will be half the player the Worm was.

Tim Fuller-US PRESSWIRE

The point is that Singler, like Rodman, gave the Pistons a boost. It was obvious. They were a different team.

That kind of impact should be respected.

Consistency, Efficiency and Energy

Singler might not be Rodman, but he's cut from the same mold.

He's not the best athlete, but he gets the most out of his abilities because he plays hard. He's not a world-class defender or rebounder like Rodman was, but he's good at both things.

More importantly, he gives the Pistons three things they have lacked all year: Consistency, efficiency and energy.

He shoots for a high percentage—.500 from the field and .429 from behind the arc. He's not too shabby at creating his own shot, either.

He also doesn't turn the ball over.

Singler possesses fewer turnovers per game than any Pistons player averaging over 20 minutes of play. He also has the third best Player Efficiency Rating on the team.

Finally, he energizes the team.

It might not be the in-your-face, playing-to-the-crowd type of energy that made Rodman famous, but he's scrappy and makes things happen.

Ultimately, only time will tell if Singler gets another chance to be a starter.

Stuckey could become the scoring threat the Pistons need him to be and it would be a moot point. Yet, there is no denying that Singler made an impact.

One thing is clear, if Stuckey continues to struggle, don't be surprised to see the "Bucket Man" get a second chance. 

* All stats provided by ESPN and basketball-reference.com

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