Singleton's sophomore slippage

Singleton's sophomore slippage
April 27, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Chris Singleton's second NBA season never really took off as the swing forward received inconsistent minutes throughout, making this offseason crucial for his development.

(Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

Like everybody associated with the Wizards, Chris Singleton's recap on the 2012-13 season can be summed up with two words: What if.

"It would have been a sight to see if we were all healthy if we were all healthy, obviously," the second-year forward said. "The guys that did play played their butts off, especially at the beginning of the season. It just didn't go our way."

That last sentiment also applies to the swing forward, who like other young members of the Wizards frontcourt found his role cut. After playing all 66 games as a rookie during the truncated 2011-12 campaign, Singleton only participated in 57 games this season. His average minutes went from 21 to 16. In turn, his scoring (4.1) and rebounding (3.2) dipped while his free throw and 3-point percentages plummeted.

"When I signed up to come to the NBA, I knew everything wasn't going to go my way," Singleton said. "I just have to tough it out and get through it."

Some dip, in playing time anyway, was expected once the Wizards added Emeka Okafor, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster, though other factors contributed. Injuries once again limited Trevor Booker. Shooting woes did the same for Jan Vesely. Kevin Seraphin played, just not often with the robust force of a big man with his imposing size.

Singleton's case for a diminished role is less obvious, especially since early in the season he was one of the Wizards most dependable performers. He played in 23 of the first 24 games, but then rarely took off the warm-ups over the next 21 games, not playing at all 16 times even when the roster had limited healthy options.

"I think I was more aggressive in the beginning of the season than I was in the middle part," Singleton said about the in-season decrease in playing time.

Asked if he received a specific message from Wizards coach Randy Wittman, Singleton said, "Just consistency guess. It was kind of tough because we brought in so many veterans that had already proven themselves in the league. In [Wittman's] position it was probably tough to look over them and try to play me. My time will come."

Defensively Singleton remained a key presence and he expanded his duties throughout season as a stretch-four. That position remains available - but not for Singleton unless his perimeter shooting touch improves. Thought the 6-foot-8 forward has flashed deep range, he finished the season shooting 19.4 percent (7 of 36) from beyond the 3-point arc and 57.1 percent from the free throw line.

Even after getting back into the rotation mix, Singleton's confidence appeared to waiver, especially offensively. Now he enters an uncertain offseason as the Wizards contemplate how best to ensure a playoff appearance. More scoring is needed on the bench. The draft offers several frontcourt options. Washington could target a veteran free agent forward.

On the glass half-full side, Singleton survived year two in the NBA. He scored 13 points in the finale, his highest total since the third game of the season. The ability to guard multiple positions is certainly in the plus column. Now he's got the spring and summer months to find that consistency his coach desires.

"It was tough at times, but I got through it," said Singleton, who is expected to play on the Wizards summer league team. "Just have to work my butt off through the offseason and get better."