66 Games With Chris Singleton In A Lockout-Shortened Season: Defense Needs To Be More Doughpe (Meaning Dope)
[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, we go with the Washington Wizards rookie who is tied with Rasheed Wallace for starting the fifth most games as a rookie with the franchise since 1981-82. That’s right… Chris Singleton and his 51 starts in a 66-game season. TAI’s Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie take a look at Chris’ rookie year. -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
Chris Singleton: DC Council Ratings
In 51 starts with the Wizards: 0.94 average Stars out of 3
(Singleton received 8 of 45 possible ‘sub of the game’ nominations in his 15 games off the bench; To note… D’oh! Rashard Lewis averaged 0.98 Stars out of 3 in his 15 starts for the Wizards.)
Best Game: Feb. 28, 2012 – Game 29 at Milwaukee Bucks
Worst Game(s): Feb. 22, 2012 – Game 33 vs Sacramento Kings
Last in the Green Room on NBA Draft Night 2011, Singleton later said he was making a list of the teams that passed on him. By season’s end, only two rookies started more games than him: Detroit’s Brandon Knight and Houston’s Chandler Parsons; Parsons was drafted 20 spots after Singleton. With the Wizards, his 51 starts (77-percent of the games in a lockout-shortened season) tied the amount of starts by Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving. Now here’s the rub: of the 101 NBA rookies who have started at least 61 games (around 75-percent of an 82-game schedule) since 1990-91, Singleton’s 8.3 rookie PER would rank tied for dead last with Denver’s Mark Macon. [source: Basketball-Reference.com]
But hey, if the Wizards were targeting a defensive stopper, a good PER from Singleton (and it will improve over his career) will be less relevant; Bruce Bowen’s career PER stands at 8.2, after all. Singleton’s offense as a rookie, we know, was pretty horrendous. Although, you can’t knock his 34.6-percent from 3-point land. For someone whose jump shot was considered to be a liability coming in, Singleton’s 3-point percentage ranked ninth best amongst NBA rookies with at least 50 attempts, which was better than Ricky Rubio, Chandler Parsons, MarShon Brooks, Iman Shumpert, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.
But again, it’s about the defense. And while Singleton didn’t always pass the eye test, especially in his ability to keep up with the quickness of perimeter players, we need to remember that he was a rookie and that we need not elevate his expectations to those he was assigned to guard, most often the other team’s best scorer. [Note: Singleton told me that Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce were his toughest covers on the season.] There were some encouraging on/off court numbers when it comes to Singleton’s defense. When Singleton was on the court, opponent field goal percentage dropped from 45.8-percent to 44.5-percent; opponent turnovers per 48 minutes increased from 14.3 to 16.3; and opponent points per 48 minutes dropped from 100.2 to 96 [source: NBA.com stats]. Not too shabby.
Now, as ‘they’ say the biggest telltale sign of a player’s potential for improvement in the NBA is what he does from season one to season two, Singleton has to prove that those numbers have meaning.
-Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
This is how one too many offensive possessions would go for Chris Singleton this past season. John Wall would break down his man, get into the lane, and then be met by the opposing team’s second line of defense. Wall would quickly adjust and kick it out to one of his perimeter shooters with better looks at the basket. When Jordan Crawford got the ball, he was a threat to score off the dribble or the jump shot. When the ball landed in Singleton’s hands, he’d often accept the space the defense gave him with a missed jumper for their efforts. Thus, Singleton shot just 37-percent from the field, which will not cut it from the 3 spot, given the style of basketball the Wizards figure to play while Wall is running the show. Wall has vowed (again) to improve his outside shot, Singleton should join him in that mission.
“[Defense] is already my mark. It’s already something people know me for,” Singleton said the night he was drafted, making it his business to inform the media that keeping the other team from scoring is what he planned to be known for as a pro. This past season, he was able to get his hands in the passing lanes during some games (he averaged 1.1 steals), and he blocked his share of shots, but at no point did Singleton appear to be the guy whom the Wizards could depend on to stop the opposing team’s best perimeter player. Iman Shumpert, who the Knicks drafted one spot ahead of Singleton, was able to better fill that role for his team. Especially if his shooting continues to sputter below the 40-percent range, Singleton must become a more feared defensive stopper.
–Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
To put it bluntly, what Chris Singleton does to improve this summer will determine where he’ll be in the 2012-13 rotation. Jan Vesely improved with more playing time over the course of 2011-12 and could be a threat to take minutes from Singleton, whether off the bench or in the starting lineup. But also consider that between free agency and the draft, the Wizards will be looking to upgrade at small forward, which could more directly affect Singleton’s playing time. He was fortunate this year that Rashard Lewis was “injured,” and Coach Randy Wittman found himself in favor of a youth movement. Singleton won’t be quite as lucky next season.
The solution? He needs to master one area of his game (again, preferably defense), become good to very good at all other aspects, and prove that, in the very least, he deserves to one of the first players off the bench — the Wizards version of O.J. Mayo, if you will. If Singleton fails to improve, he could quite easily fall out of rotation and become the Maurice Evans of the 2012-2013 season.
-Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
A GROWN-UP ROOKIE
After the Wizards were creamed by the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening exhibition game, foreshadowing disastrous beginnings to the regular season, I was curious to hear how Singleton’s first NBA game went. His answer was illuminating, in hindsight:
“As a team, we got to go out there and play every possession. It starts on defense, and I don’t think we were there tonight … At one point, we were down by 40 — in an exhibition game — I mean, that is crazy, I hope this is not every night … It’s not going to be a walk in the park … We just didn’t come out to play.”
Singleton speaks in slow, intensely hushed tones, and he’s not afraid to be candid on assessing the team’s performance, nor his own. After the last game against the Miami Heat, he graded his rookie season with a ‘D’ because of his inconsistent play.
More impressive than his refreshing method of communication was Singleton’s willingness to engage with Washington fans. He always signed autographs at the Verizon Center, never turned down a picture request and genuinely enjoyed spending time with fans. Recently, Singleton gave away a pair of autographed, game-worn shoes on Facebook. He also revealed a touching personal nugget about himself:
What is the reason behind me wearing the number 31?
Both my grandfathers and my father (3) have passed away and I’m the only (1) left
Chris is also involved in some personal businesses on the side, mainly owning a clothing company with partner called Doughpe (pronounced “Dope”); Singleton serves as vice president and head of marketing. Dougphe’s gear can be purchased online and has both Twitter and Facebook accounts. In addition, Singleton founded a non profit charity called The L.E.A.G.U.E. Foundation, which sponsors a boys AAU basketball team.
This will be a big summer for Singleton to see if he can improve on a sub-par rookie season and make a similar second year upgrade we saw out of Kevin Seraphin and to a lesser extent, Trevor Booker. The hoopla that exploded from his “that or blow it in the club” comment surrounding his reason for dropping 10K on lottery tickets was overblown (although James Singleton did give him a talking to about that, indicating that his mom confused him with Chris). The perception closer to reality is that Singleton is a well-rounded, outgoing and cerebral dude who makes it easy for fans to root for him to make a big leap.
-Adam McGinnis (@AdamMcGinnis)
GRADE CHRIS SINGLETON
via A. McGinnis