ORLANDO — Better late than never. More than a year after the Pistons made him the 33rd pick in the 2011 draft, Kyle Singler signed an NBA contract.
“We are pleased to have Kyle Singler join our organization knowing he brings great character and skill to our team,” Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said in a statement.
Of course, the Pistons weren’t quite so pleased when Singler chose to remain in Europe rather than join the club last December when the lockout ended.
“I know there probably weren’t the best of feelings at the time,” Singler said Wednesday after this third outing in the AirTran Orlando Pro Summer League. “That’s understandable. But I did what I thought was best for me at the time.”
The Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four when Duke won the 2010 NCAA championship, Singler originally signed on to the play for Lucentum Alicante in Spain and then moved up to play for Real Madrid, one of the top clubs in Europe. He averaged 7.9 points, 2.7 rebounds and 20.3 minutes in 46 games and shot 50.4 percent from the field for Real Madrid and shot over 40 percent from 3-point range.
One of his considerations for not returning immediately to the Pistons at the end of the lockout was the very short training camp leading to little playing time.
“I’d been told by a bunch of people that in a lockout season like that, the tendency by NBA coaches would be to go with veteran players, since they wouldn’t have much practice time to work with rookies,” Singler said. “You know, at the time I had made the move up to Real Madrid. That’s a top-flight team in Europe. I was playing. I was getting what I thought was very valuable experience. And, well, quite frankly, I was having a lot of fun.”
Now that he’s back in the U.S., Singler will be joining a team that could have minutes for him at the forward spot. Austin Daye took a significant step back in his development last season and Charlie Villanueva also under-performed.
“I don’t know about situations or plans or any of that stuff,” Singler said. “I’m just here to do whatever I can, just like any other rookie. It might be a year later, but that’s what I am, an NBA rookie, finally.”