[Ed. Note: Carter Bryant covered this year's NBA Draft in New Jersey and has previously contributed to Truth About It.net; check him out further at his Twitter account: @CarterthePower. Below, his words accompany some post-draft video I shot of Chris Singleton talking about his defensive mentality and playing with John Wall. Singleton will be introduced to Washington at a press conference today at 2:30 pm. -Kyle W.]
We can all appreciate a good wingman. You’re at the bar, a chance encounter and great conversation have already been initiated. But the third wheel, friend of your target, can’t help but make their presence known. Cue the wingman to help save the day, jumping in to defend from distractions. If he succeeds, then you have a teammate for life. Great wingmen are vital to success, an idea that clearly translates to the basketball court.
The Wizards nabbed the steal of the NBA Draft when they selected Florida State lockup artist Chris Singleton 18th overall. For John Wall’s Wizards, he can be the wingman in more ways that one. I spoke to Singleton briefly in Newark last Thursday. The guy has long arms — a 7’1″ wingspan — and sounds hungry. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.
Even team owner Ted Leonsis sang Singleton’s praises at the press conference to introduce sixth pick Jan Vesely on Monday. Speaking of Singleton in the same breath as Kevin Seraphin, Leonsis said, “I saw him in the workouts. He just looked tough, he just looked mean. And adding that kind of bulk and strength, along with great talent, is what we promised John Wall.”
The 6’9’’ Seminole was Defensive Player of the Year in the ACC twice. That is a quite an accomplishment considering he plays in a BCS conference. Singleton can guard multiple positions, but his offensive game isn’t bad either. He averaged 13 points and just under seven rebounds per game. Parsing analysis on Singleton from DraftExpress.com, he’ll be most effective if he never, ever tries to create off the dribble. However, the numbers show promise as a catch-and-shoot player, an area the Wizards coaches will surely drill Singleton on with repetition.
Unlike last year’s draft, the Wizards made a pick at a position that usually translates to championships. Great defensive wingman make title teams, especially when the need to contain guys like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony will arise. This year, the Dallas Mavericks had Shawn Marion, last year the LA Lakers had Ron Artest and the year before, Trevor Ariza. The Boston Celtics had James Posey, and so on and so forth.
Draft grades for the Wizards from experts have been generally aces across the board. Vesley has the highlight capabilities to bring fans to the arena, and second round pick Shelvin Mack is used to coming up big when against the odds. Though Singleton struggled with injuries at the back end of last season (he missed FSU’s last six games due to a broken foot before returning to play in the NCAA tournament), I expect him to be the most productive Wizard draftee. On draft night, Singleton said he was 100-percent.
Jon Barry believes Washington won the 2011 NBA Draft. Since we’re judging on paper, I can’t disagree. John Wall will gladly have guys like Singleton be his wingman on the break, now the Wizards must hope that other players will be wingmen to him when it’s time to defend.