Kyle Singler averaged 16.9 points per game as a senior at Duke. - AP

Headed to Motown

How do you cure an NBA team with character issues? Bring in players uniformly known to be "character" guys.

That was the case for the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night, with the embattled but proud program selecting three players carrying such a trait, including Medford's Kyle Singler.

Singler, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound forward, was chosen with the 33rd pick overall in the NBA draft and was the third selection in the second round. The Duke University graduate had been considered a late-first or early-second round selection, and quite possibly got unfavorably caught up in the whirlwind of trades and maneuvers made by NBA franchises to fall into the Pistons lap where he did.

Detroit selected Brandon Knight, a 6-4 freshman point guard from Kentucky, with the eighth pick overall in the first round. The Pistons capped their draft by choosing 6-9, 245-pound senior power forward/center Vernon Macklin of Florida with the 52nd pick overall.

While Singler had to wait three hours to hear his named called during Thursday's NBA draft, the Pistons apparently were thrilled that they were the ones making that call.

In a Detroit Free Press article by Perry A. Farrell, Pistons vice president of basketball operations Scott Perry said of Singler: "Not only is he accomplished on the court, but you're talking about a high-character individual. His record speaks for itself at Duke. He was very well coached, he's a winner and he's tough. He is a competitor. I think that will add to our locker room. You can never have too many guys who are competitors and work at their game as hard as they can and do anything it takes to win."

Winning is something the Pistons have struggled to accomplish as of late, missing out on the playoffs for the past two seasons and being swept out of the playoffs in the first

round by Cleveland in 2009. Last year's team was fourth in the Central Division at 30-52 and had a highly publicized revolt by players who were unhappy with then-coach John Kuester and refused to fully participate in a team shootaround.

Prior to the recent swoon, however, Detroit was a force in the Eastern Conference. The Pistons secured NBA championships in 1989, 1990 and 2004, lost in the NBA finals in 2005 and the Eastern Conference finals from 2006-08.

Singler capped his career at Duke as one of the most prolific — and versatile — players to don the Blue Devils uniform. His hard-nosed play and uncanny feel for the game made him a fan favorite, and he certainly made a favorable impression on Pistons officials during his recent workout for the team.

"He's all about winning," Perry went on to say in Farrell's article, noting that the team had Singler ranked as a first-rounder. "... He's one of those guys who will accept the challenge. He showed the ability in college to guard threes (small forwards) and fours (power forwards). Just like all other players it'll take him some time to figure some things out, but the one thing you know he's smart and he's going to be committed to figuring this thing out and doing whatever it takes to help us win."

Singler comes at a time when the Pistons appear to be in the midst of a transition.

The team has a new owner in Tom Gores, who completed a deal to purchase the team less than a month ago, and is still in the process of filling the vacant head coaching position. Boston Celtics assistant Lawrence Frank, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson, Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Bill Laimbeer — of Detroit's "Bad Boys" fame — have all been mentioned as candidates to replace Kuester.

The roster expects to have a different look for the 2011-12 season, as well, with veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince joining power forward Chris Wilcox as unrestricted free agents. Center Ben Wallace will be 37, Tracy McGrady has struggled to remain healthy and shooting guard Richard Hamilton underwent a tumultuous season under Kuester.

The Pistons do possess a solid nucleus of young players in guards Ben Gordon, Rodney Stuckey and Will Bynum, forwards Charlie Villanueva and Austin Daye and center Greg Monroe. Stuckey led the team at 15.5 points per game last year and likely will be asked to move over to a more natural role as shooting guard with the addition of Knight.

Where Singler fits in remains to be seen, since Villanueva and Daye are more perimeter-based players, but the Pistons seem intent on opening things up and giving Singler and Macklin a chance to break into the rotation if their play warrants such action.

The 23-year-old Singler averaged 17 points and seven rebounds in his senior season at Duke and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2010 Final Four after leading the Blue Devils to the national championship.

His decision to forego the draft following his junior season has been widely questioned given what it may have done to his draft stock in 2011, but Singler held firm to the notion that he wanted to return to school for all the positives one can glean from a senior season. Last month he graduated with a visual arts degree from Duke in four years time, and wrapped up his playing career as the second-winningest player in Duke history (125-23) and its fourth-leading scorer (2,392 points).

The last Blue Devils player to don a Pistons jersey was Grant Hill, who was a first-round pick in 1994.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or email Follow him @Kris_Henry

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