Whenever a team is rebuilding it is common for coaches, owners and general managers to preach patience and to tout the importance of stocking up on talented young players. This has been the mantra of Joe Dumars since the day the team was sold to Tom Gores, and Gores has backed up the approach.
And looking at the contracts his recent crop of rookies have signed, particularly his trio of second-round draft picks, shows that Dumars is letting his money back up his words (note: both Storytellers Contracts and Sham Sports have extremely reliable salary data).
While there are very rigid rules about first-round pick compensation based on a rookie salary scale, second-round picks are much more like the wild, wild west. Teams usually hand out multi-year deals but often only guarantee one season and sometimes even that first-year salary is unguaranteed for high second-rounders.
The Pistons, however, have guaranteed three years to Kyle Singler, two years to Khris Middleton and one year to Kim English.
Singler, last year's 33rd overall pick in the 2011 draft, has signed for $1 million this year, $1.045 next and $1.09 in 2014. For comparison's sake, the player selected just above Singler, Justin Harper, signed a two-year minimum deal with Orlando and the player selected just below Singler, Shelvin Mack, only got a one-year guarantee from Washington, as did this year's No. 33 pick, Bernard James, with the Dallas Mavericks.
Obviously, there were other considerations with Singler, including the fact that they had lure him away from a successful first year playing overseas. Still, a $3 million, three-year commitment to a second-rounder is the kind of under-the-radar deal that could pay big dividends for the team.
While handing out two-year guarantees is less rare, it is a slight surprise that the Pistons made such a commitment to Middleton considering he is returning from an injury and didn't have much leverage. The Pistons, obviously, are confident they made the right selection at No. 39.
And if Piston Powered is to be believed, and I have no reason to think otherwise, the Pistons even dipped into their mid-level exception in order to give Middleton his deal. This isn't really surprising considering the Pistons weren't going to spend the MLE anywhere else this year and won't need it next year because they will be under he cap.
The fact that English, selected just five picks after Middleton, only got one guaranteed year just means he is one step closer to that big pay day that comes with being the first guard off the bench in Detroit.