Player Profile: Chris Singleton

Our Wiz of Awes Player Profiles are slowly winding down, but for now, Chris Singleton’s rookie season is in the spotlight.

To breakdown the former Florida State Seminole we have Tommy Glasgow and Christopher Cook.

Tommy Glasgow

Around this time last year, I nervously watched the Wizards’ draft night with apprehension. Using the 6th pick on the raw and athletic Jan Vesely irked me more than a little. I was sick of players with upside. I wanted a player who could contribute immediately and give the team something they didn’t already have. So imagine my elation when “3-and-D” specialist Chris Singleton fell to us at 18. “Steal of the draft!”

For the first couple games of the season, Chris lived up to expectations. He came off the bench playing tough perimeter defense, staying within his role and making timely jump shots. Fast-forward a few months later and Singleton was a starter by name only. His minutes had dropped off and he lost time at small forward to Vesely and D-league call-up, Cartier Martin. It had to be tough on the rookie to be asked to guard the opponent’s best player night in and night out in a shortened season and still be able to run in transition and have an offensive impact. His 34.6% shooting from three wasn’t terrible, but all too often it felt like Chris was missing wide-open looks. That and he couldn’t find easy buckets because he only rarely cut to the basket.

Brought in for his defense, Singleton showed some holes in his game going against NBA competition. His lack of strength was evident against the likes of Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony, who would routinely beat him off the dribble or bully him in the paint. With the draft less than a month away there are those who are pushing for another defense-first small forward in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Count me in the Bradley Beal or Thomas Robinson camps because I’m still not bailing on Singleton. A full offseason, training camp, and summer league; I expect a Kevin Seraphin-like jump in productivity next year.

Chris gets a C for this season.

Christopher Cook

As a rookie, Chris Singleton played in all 66 games in the lockout shortened season. That is pretty much the only remarkable thing about Singleton’s rookie campaign.

The only other Wizard to appear in every game was John Wall. Other than that, Singleton had a fairly average year. His defensive numbers aren’t quite what they were at Florida State, but who expected them to be? Singleton is a player that clearly needs to find his role as an NBA player. Singleton scored over ten points just seven times this past season, and all seven of those games were in Wizards’ losses. His best game of the year was a 16 point outing against the Pacers where he hit 60 percent of his field goal attempts and three of his four three-point attempts. However, he only grabbed one rebound in that game. He failed to grab ten or more rebounds in a single game all year.

He was touted as one of the better defensive prospects in the 2011 NBA draft and he’s only showed Wizards’ fans a little of that so far. His 100 combined steals and blocks put him behind John Wall for second on the team — if you ignore JaVale McGee who was traded to the Denver Nuggets — but he never really showed us that he could lock down the wing and take the other team’s best scorer out of the game. In reality, our expectations may have been a little too high for the rookie. Sure, he was the 18th overall pick, but the 2011 draft class was one of the worst in recent history. There really wasn’t a player selected after Singleton that produced much in their rookie season besides Kenneth Faried and Chandler Parsons.

This year will probably be a good gauge of what to expect from Singleton going forward. The numbers will get better, but Singleton will likely be a solid defensive player going forward who is going to knock down a couple of shots here and there and likely have some rough stretches where he just can’t find the hoop. Hopefully when the shots aren’t falling, Singleton is still able to contribute with his versatile defensive skills. Singleton didn’t show us everything we expected to see from him in his rookie year, but there were a couple of flashes, and for that I give him a C-.

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