Singler, Daye team up to lead Pistons to 2nd straight Summer League win
ORLANDO – Day Two of the Orlando Pro Summer League was return-on-investment day for the Pistons: Kyle Singler’s return from Spain and the return from mothballs of Austin Daye’s jump shot paid off with a win.
Daye scored 24 points and showed flashes that his NBA future really could lie at power forward in a 79-74 win over Orlando that gives the Pistons a 2-0 record with three games left. Singler, for his part, proved himself the immovable object – or at the least the unremovable player.
He played all 20 second-half minutes and 36 for the game. And that after the Pistons came into Summer League with the intention of monitoring his minutes, since Singler was coming off a 10-month season in Spain.
“It’s hard to take the guy out,” Pistons coach John Loyer said. “The guy does a lot of good things. I rested him a pretty good stretch yesterday and he still was our leading guy at 32 minutes. Today I thought I left him out a pretty good stretch and I looked up in the first half, I guess he played all but a few minutes. He’s just a good basketball player. He can do multiple things.”
“Great all-around player,” Brandon Knight said. “He does everything well. Defends, he’s good on the offensive end, great teammate. Like he said, it’s tough to take a player like that out.”
Singler scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, showing his scoring versatility again by producing from the outside and off the dribble, but most impressive about Singler is the way he picks his spots. The game can often appear too fast for young players at Summer League, but Singler always appears in full control. And not to worry about his minutes, he said.
“I feel fine,” he said. “I’m lucky, I guess, since I’ve been playing. If I hadn’t been playing, I think it would have been tough (to play the entire second half). But my body feels fine. I’d much rather be out on the floor than being on the bench.”
“He’s just being really efficient,” Daye said. “He’s not making any turnovers. He’s doing what a Duke Blue Devil kind of does.”
Nobody was more efficient than Daye on Day Two. His 24 points came on just 10 shot attempts. He made eight of them, including a perfect 3-for-3 from the 3-point line.
“Austin is a very skilled player,” Singler said. “He’s capable of knocking down shots, making plays and he played very well today. He’s a stretch four – a lanky guy you have to pay attention to.”
“This is what we envision in Austin,” Loyer said. “He’s a good stretch four shooter. Austin knows how to play the game. I think it’s a little bit of confidence, so hopefully he can build on this. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Austin Daye.”
Knight finished with 11 points, six assists and four rebounds, content for much of the first half to defer, especially with Daye sizzling.
“He spreads the defense out when he’s making shots like that and I’m finding him,” Knight said. “It definitely helps me out a lot and it’s tough on the defense. Guys get timid about leaving him and going to help, so it helps all around. I know he has a hot hand, any situation I’m trying to get it to him where I know he’s comfortable and where I know he can knock down shots.”
“It felt good,” Daye said. “I knew they were going to fall eventually. I’ve been working really hard this summer just to get my technique back and I just shot the ball well today. Just another day.”
As happy as Daye was about his jump shot’s return, he had to be privately just as delighted with his six rebounds in 23 minutes, including the way he snatched a key defensive board in traffic in the final minute.
“I told them I wanted to get 10 rebounds every game if I’m playing the four, at least,” he said. “I didn’t play the whole fourth quarter. It could’ve happened, but I was happy with the six I had and I think there’s more to come.”
Daye had plenty of company on the bench in the fourth quarter. Loyer rode a second unit of Vernon Macklin, Yancy Gates, Khris Middleton and Casper Ware – along with the unremovable man, Singler – after they seized control of the game in the first minutes of the final quarter. They outscored Orlando 15-2 over the first five minutes with Gates giving the Pistons eight points and four boards and Macklin five points and two boards.
“The second unit of Vernon Macklin at the five and Yancy Gates at the four and Casper Ware at the point really stepped up and did a good job for us,” Loyer said. “And that’s what it’s about – winning every night, having guys come in and contribute.”
“They just dug in and got stops,” Knight said. “They did a great job of limiting the other team to one shot and getting good shots on the other end.”