[NOTE: Truth About It.net 2011-12 Player Reviews continue, where we take a look at the past, present and future of those players who have touched the Wizards franchise during the 2011-12 lockout-shortened season. Now, from D.C. to China and back again... That's right... James Singleton. TAI's Ryan Gracia and Adam McGinnis try to deem worthy James' 12 games with the Wizards. -Kyle W.]
Player Review Index: Morris Almond (we’d like to) | Andray Blatche | Trevor Booker | Brian Cook (maybe) | Jordan Crawford | Maurice Evans | Rashard Lewis | Shelvin Mack | Cartier Martin | Roger Mason Jr. | JaVale McGee | Nenê | Kevin Seraphin (coming soon) | Chris Singleton | James Singleton | Ronny Turiaf (meh) | Edwin Ubiles (we’ll see) | Jan Vesely | John Wall | Nick Young
James Singleton: DC Council Ratings
Singleton didn’t start any games for the Wizards, but he received 8 of 36 possible ‘sub of the game’ nominations in his 12 games off the bench.
Best Games: Game 57 at Charlotte Bobcats; Game 60 vs Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington’s late-season run partially coincided with the return of James Singleton. After “Big Game James” (with all due respect to James Worthy) played in 32 games for the Wizards in 2009-10 and spent the last two seasons playing ball in China, his second stint with the Wizards can certainly be seen as successful. Singleton averaged 8.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game as the Wizards finished 8-4 in his 12 appearances. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact: Singleton put up 12 points and nine rebounds in his second game, against New Jersey, then got 18 and 12 in his third, against Charlotte.
Singleton continued to display tough interior defense and ferocious rebounding. The difference this time was his improved offense; his outside shot has become a threat. Singleton credits his time in China:
“In the NBA, I was more of a slasher, rebounder, hustle player, defender; but in China they pack the lane and it is more physical, so you learn how to be smarter and develop a jump shot—and develop more offensive tools, which I have done… The NBA is way easier for me now. It is like the game has slowed down for me.”
The numbers provide the evidence:
2009-10 Wizards FGs: 97-254, 38%
At The Rim: 44-for-84 – 52%
3-9 Feet: 10-for-32 – 31%
10-15 Feet: 12-for-24 – 50%
16 Feet to the 3-Point Line: 24-for-77 - 31%
3-Pointers: 7-for-37 – 19%
2011-12 Wizards FGs: 41-75, 55%
At The Rim: 25-for-30 – 83%
3-9 Feet: 0-for-5
10-15 Feet: 3-for-8 - 38%
16 Feet to the 3-Point Line: 11-for-23 - 48%
3-Pointers: 2-for-9 – 19%
—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
Sure, Singleton is undersized for the power forward position, but he sure doesn’t lack any confidence:
“I’m just out there having fun. Everyone acts so surprised what I am capable of. I have always been capable of this. I just needed the opportunity … Team leaves me open, I am going to make them pay for it. The ball is in my hands, I am going to make them pay for it … I don’t have any doubt that I am a NBA player and belong in the NBA. It is just other people’s thought process—that is on them.”
Singleton would like to stay in Washington and had seemed to instantly rekindle chemistry with his teammates.
“I would love to stay in D.C. I love the guys. I gelled with them as soon as I got here. They welcomed me in. I feel comfortable. I feel like at home.”
Many fans would like to see Verizon Center become Singelton’s home in 2012-13. But more importantly, the Wizards need a player of his ilk in training camp, on the practice court, and perhaps beyond.
—Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
With the backing of franchise point guard John Wall, it’s very possible that the Wizards will take the necessary steps to have James Singleton at training camp for the upcoming season.
And here’s to hoping they do.
Singleton impressed in his second stint with the club, complementing his typical hard-nosed, rugged style of play with a newfound shooting ability. And if he were to be back with the Wizards next season, he wouldn’t be expected to show much more than the stats he put up this season with the Wizards. But his value to the team moving forward isn’t (nor should it be) measured by huge statistical production. Singleton is a 30-year-old veteran who enjoys setting screens, hitting the boards, and doing the dirty work needed to make life easier for the rest of his teammates.
In his 12 games, Singleton posted the Wizards’ second-best Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 19.6; Nene led Washington with a 24.2 PER in 11 games, while JaVale McGee put up a 19.6 PER in 41 games. Another impressive stat: Singleton led the Wizards in Total Rebound Percentage, grabbing 17.4-percent of all rebounds while on the court. The Wizards certainly could put that type of production to use.
Before deciding on playing with the Wizards following the end of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) season, Singleton drew interest from the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. His work in D.C. since has surely increased interest from around the league. This summer could be Singleton’s last significant NBA pay day.
The Wizards getting a jump on retaining someone like him should be a no-brainer. They need a guy who they can rely on to be tough, to not back down from any challenge, and to put opposing players on their ass if need be. That and Singleton’s well-travelled, veteran experience should be enough to convince management to keep him around next season.
—Ryan Gracia (@rgracia2378)
“All The Way To China”
James Singleton’s professional basketball career has taken him to places near and far in this world. His first shot in the NBA with the L.A. Clippers in 2005 was sandwiched between stints in Italy (2003-05) and Spain (2007-08). In his ensuing return to the U.S., Singleton found himself with the Dallas Mavericks in 2008 before being traded to the Wizards in 2010, only to find himself leaving once again for a more lucrative market in the CBA for the past two seasons, where he says he developed his game by working on his jump shot with assistant coaches to add balance to his game. He averaged nearly 18 points on 57.6-percent shooting on 2-pointers and an impressive 53.7-percent on 3-pointers and 12 rebounds in more than 31 minutes per game this past season with the Guandong Southern Tigers.
Who else but Andray Blatche was able to deliver some Blatche-like reasoning as to how Singleton was able to improve his game:
“He went all the way to China and came back with a jumper. … You can buy anything in China.”
Well, at least the first part was true.
Though Singleton’s 12 games with the Wizards is a small sample size, the improvement seems to be significant enough. This season with the Wizards he upped his Effective Field Goal Percentage to 56-percent; he only mustered 38.9-percent during his 32 games with Washington in 2009-10. Singleton’s career eFG% stands at 48.5-percent.
According to 82games.com, Singleton attempted nearly the same percentage of jump shots with the Wizards in 2009-10 (62-percent of all of his FG attempt) as he did this past season (63-percent). However, the difference in eFG% on those jumpers is huge. In 2009-10, Singleton’s eFG% was just 29.7-percent with 71-percent of those baskets being assisted. This season Singleton had an eFG% of .404 on his jump shots with 89-percent of those being assisted.
So what does this prove? Singleton’s work in China has provided clear-cut results: that 18-percent jump in assisted jumpers shows that he’s improved as a spot-up shooter, perhaps making teams re-write the scouting report on him. If teams have to respect his shooting game, Singleton can pull opposing big men out of the paint, freeing space for John Wall and teammates to slash to the hoop with one less giant to encounter along the way.