Chris Singleton came to DC with high expectations last year, and by the accounts of most, failed to live up to any of them. But were those expectations realistic? Why is everyone so down on this guy?
I recorded a bunch of Wizards games on DVR this season to tide me over during the Summer. I purposely kept games after the Nick/Javale trade, and purposely kept games that we either won or were competitive in. I would have kept them all, but my kids have to have their Thomas And Friends when they want it, or else.
While Nene has deservedly gotten a lot of kudos for turning this team around, and everyone marvels at the improvement from Seraphin and Vesely, it's rather amazing that nobody gives Singleton much credit for the team's drastically improved defense after the trades. You're only as good a perimeter defender as the guys behind you, and with people like Dray and Javale "protecting the rim", it's no surprise Singleton got roasted a lot during the first half of the year.
Most of us remember the early season Knicks game at Verizon where Carmelo Anthony absolutely disembowed Chris to the tune of 37 points as a turning point in his season. He really seemed to lose confidence after that, and I also noticed folks in the comments section turning on him soon thereafter. But that doesn't mean he had a poor season. He was elevated to the starting lineup due to Rashard Lewis' injury, not because he was ready. He still needs to gain upper body strength. He could probably stand to drop about 15 pounds. His body control when he attempts to drive to the basket is atrocious. His handle is just as bad as his haircut.
Still, if you watch his performances defensively after the trades, his contributions are hard to miss. He absolutely shut Andre Iguodala (3-9 from the field in 33 minutes) DOWN during the Wizards' surprising late season home win vs the Sixers. In that game, Singleton's ability to fight through screens, play the passing lanes without overplaying, body up in the post, move his feet quickly enough to cut off penetration, and switch back to his man after helping was incredible. No, Iggy isn't Lebron, but he's also no slouch.
I don't have advanced stats to back any of this up, but I'd be willing to bet that Singleton's improved D (after the trades) was perhaps as large a part of the team's much improved defense as Nene's addition.
Yes, he still needs to dramatically improve in all aspects of the game offensively. No dispute here. But as a budding defensive stopper, I think this guy's exactly what this team needs.