picture by Adam McGinnis
It’s a label that no NBA player wants to see next to his name: DNP – Coach’s Decision. Washington Wizards forward Chris Singleton has found himself with that designation 15 times already this season. The second-year player appeared in each of Washington’s first 24 games—even starting eight times—until a home loss against Detroit Pistons on December 22, 2012. Over the Wizards’ next 21 games, he saw action in six of them for 30 total minutes.
In the six weeks since his bench status began, many Wizards observers have wondered what Singleton did to earn a stay in Randy Wittman’s dog house. I joked during the Wizards’ blowout win over Minnesota on January 25 that if it were a high school game, Singleton’s friends would start chants to put him in—he played three minutes of garbage time that evening. With Jan Vesely struggling to make an impact and Shelvin Mack being waived twice, Singleton’s demotion has highlighted the struggles of Ernie Grunfeld’s 2011 draft class. It’s an indictment of management when major pieces of the team’s youth movement might need to be scrapped in such a brief time. John Wall’s January 12 return has coincided with the Wizards finding success. The rotation became set and Singleton was still the odd man out. So we thought.
Washington was riding a three-game losing streak and taking a pummeling by the Spurs in San Antonio on February 2. Singleton entered the contest with 1:17 left in second quarter, with Wizards being doubled up 48-24, and immediately missed a 20-foot shot. He began the second half on the bench. Normally, that might have been it for him.
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John Wall was waiting to grab a rebound during warmups before Washington’s game versus Orlando, and his face instantly lit up when he recognized Jay-Z’s voice over the loud speakers: ”Aw man, it is Big Pimpin’ Baby.”
Wall continued to sing verses of the Jay-Z hit single as he filed through the layup line, enticing smiles out of his teammates. John Wall was back where he wanted to be, and the mood of the team was noticeably lifted. This was a different scene than that of the Nick Young/JaVale McGee/Andray Blatche era, where jacking around reigned supreme in warm-ups and a level of seriousness never materialized when it mattered. Wall was chatting up Bradley Beal non-stop and the rookie could not contain his laughter. The future franchise core tossed each other alley-oops—Wall struggled converting some dunks on his “jiggly legs.” Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin followed Wall’s lead with impressive slams of their own. Later during warmups, Wall started playing around with Kevin Seraphin on the left wing, shaking the big man with a crossover. Both cracked up. Wall mocked Seraphin’s inability to stay on his feet.
Wall’s engaging personality is often hidden in the button-downed, risk-averse image he presents in media interviews. Spend any time around Wall and you see the happy-go-lucky attitude is real and genuine. He appears to know every elite basketball player and partakes in many pregame pleasantries with opponents. The Orlando game was no different, as he greeted Magic reserve guard Ish Smith at half court—both hail from North Carolina, and likely know each other from the hoop circuit in the Tar Heel state. As the national anthem approached, Wall’s roommate and best friend, Tyrone (Ty) Williams, came over for their pre-game conversation ritual.
Williams grew up with the dynamic point guard in Raleigh and, although not blood related, Wall call’s him his “brother.” Ty attends almost every home game and sits near the floor. Through Wall’s infamous club appearances (which certain bloggers passive aggressively concern troll), trouble and off-the-court drama has never surfaced in any capacity. This might seem trivial and not worthy of praise, but being a young, rich NBA player makes you a target when you are just doing a simple activity like being out socializing with your circle of friends. This can be difficult waters for famous hoopers to navigate in a world full of hanger-ons and distractions. Williams deserves credit for keeping Wall away from any negative publicity or troublesome situations. (If only Arenas and Blatche had similar peeps.)
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Published in 2012-13 Wizards
, Adam McGinnis
, John Wall
, Orlando Magic
, Wizards Irreverence
Tags: adam mcginnis
, ish smith
, John Wall
, Orlando Magic
, ty williams
, washington wizards