Staring down the task of making a standstill 15-foot set shot with no one distracting you but Cleveland fans has symbolized the strides Andre Drummond has made since joining the Pistons.

Quietly, and perhaps apropos, fellow rookie Khris Middleton has gone under the radar with his steady improvement, but it may have been just as solid as Drummond's.

In the playing time he's received in the waning weeks of this season, Middleton is not only earning the trust of his teammates but he's also making himself a candidate to get real playing time next season.

Middleton, 21, has had five double-figure scoring games in the last month and, in all of them, he has shot over 50 percent. More importantly, though, he doesn't seem like a rookie on the floor; he almost seems nonchalant.

His demeanor is so even-keel Greg Monroe calls him Sleepy.

"I think he has a really good feel. You wouldn't know if he were rattled or not," Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said. "He can really score and have a lot of qualities that are going to help him in this league."

His teammates appreciate his approach. Monroe said, "He lets the game come to him; he's a good decision-maker," and Brandon Knight said, "He's a solid player. He can score in a variety of ways, solid defensively and makes open shots."

He couldn't get on the floor much earlier in the season because of the Pistons' depth at the position and because he hasn't been completely healthy since being drafted in the second round.