Energetic Singleton seeing more minutes

Energetic Singleton seeing more minutes
November 26, 2012, 4:30 pm
Share This Post

Washington Wizards forward Chris Singleton (31) holds the ball against the New York Knicks at Verizon Center.

(Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE)

We all know not to judge a book by its cover yet I'm about go down that route: based on the windows offered to yours truly, nobody inside the Wizards locker room is taking the winless start harder than Chris Singleton. Seeing as the Florida State product's first two NBA seasons have opened with an eight-game losing streak and the current 0-11 franchise worst mark, not hard imagining feeling down and out.

That's not to imply the 6-foot-9 forward is letting the mounting defeats affect his on-court actions. More assumptions based on observations: Singleton's been the most consistently energetic Wizard throughout training camp and the early stages of the season. He's also yet to start any of Washington's 11 games this season after doing so 51 times as rookie while playing in all 66 games.

Game number 12 comes Monday night at the Verizon Center against Western Conference power San Antonio (6:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet).

Singleton's minutes are also down, nearly six per game from the 21 he played as rookie, though his scoring is up (5.5 vs. 4.6) while rebounds and steals remain level.

"I'm cool with it," Singleton about the minutes. "Comes with the territory. It's a game, my time will come."

Perhaps the time is now seeing as he played a season-high 33 minutes in Saturday's double-overtime loss to Charlotte and is averaging 27.3 over the last three games. Against the Bobcats, Singleton finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds, six offensive. He also had four steals, all of which came during the third quarter rally.

Even with the injuries to Nene, John Wall and Trevor Booker, the Wizards are deeper and more experienced than during Singleton's first year, giving coach Randy Wittman more starting options than a season ago. So far, none has included the 18th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

"It's crazy, from starting 50 plus games last year to coming off the bench," Singleton said. "Coming into last year, I didn't even think I would start especially as soon as I did. This year, I'm just going to do whatever I'm called upon to do."

Of the Wizards to have played at least 10 games this season, only Singleton and Martell Webster have yet to start a game.

Yes, at times his young pup enthusiasm needs direction, though no smacking with a rolled up newspaper is required to get the earnest just turned 23-year-old's attention. Mere activity does not always lead to consistent production on either end of the court, though Singleton's field goal percentage is up dramatically from his rookie season. During the third quarter against the Bobcats on Saturday, he swatted passes like an NFL defensive lineman and swiped balls like a Times Square pickpocket.

Though part of the second unit that twice rallied Washington back from double-digit deficits, Singleton's most dramatic moment against Charlotte came late in the 108-106 double-overtime loss.

Washington trailed 99-97 with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first extra session when the ball landed in Singleton's hands. He hurriedly launched from 3-point territory and almost inexplicably drawing a foul from Charlotte's Reggie Williams, sending Singleton to the free throw line for three shots.

"I knew I got fouled. I wasn't worried about that. Thought I was going to knock down all three," Singleton said.

After making the first offering, Singleton's second attempt rattled around and off.

"Second free throw hit every part of the rim. It happens."

He nailed the third to force the second overtime. Ultimately, just like in Wednesday's single-OT loss in Atlanta, Washington's effort ended with a loss.

"Two overtime games back-to-back. I don't know what else to do," Singleton said. "We just have to keep working. Comes down to execution and just finishing games."

As for how he and the team are coping through the current and seemingly never-ending skid, Singleton said, "This is crazy. We're busting our butt to try and get that first win. We get that first win I think we're going to keep on rolling. Psychologically, we're coming out, it's close, nail biters and just losing. It's taking a toll, but I think it shows how strong we are coming back every night and compete."