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Chris Singleton gave the Wizards good minutes against the Spurs. Did his performance prove that he belongs in the regular rotation?
Chris Singleton was finally let into Randy Wittman's Palace Of Good Play against the Spurs last night, and he took advantage of the opportunity by putting together a hell of a game. Singleton notched 11 points, four rebounds and three steals in 20 minutes, mostly in the second half, and the Wizards outscored the Spurs by 16 points while he was in the game.
"Big props to Chris. I talked to him the other day in Memphis. I told him he's handled it well, he's worked hard. The extra time he's putting in," Randy Wittman said, via Monumental Network. "I said, 'I know you're frustrated, as anyone would be. But you have to stay ready,'"
Does this mean Singleton should get more of an opportunity to play in every game? I think so, but it's also somewhat complicated.
All of Singleton's minutes against the Spurs came with him at power forward in small lineups. There's obviously a reason for this: the Wizards needed offense and speed, and putting Singleton at the 4 provides that. Last night, with Tim Duncan out due to injury, it worked well because San Antonio had to play Matt Bonner a lot. Bonner can't take advantage of Singleton's lack of size on the other end and is too slow to stay with him defensively. Therefore, Singleton was able to do a lot of good things.
But that might not work against everyone. What happens when Singleton has to play against a bigger power forward? What happens when Singleton has to stay with a much more dangerous offensive threat in pick and pop situations? Those are situations where Singleton could become a liability.
The other option is to play Singleton some at small forward, but that doesn't make much sense to me. For one, there aren't a ton of minutes there. Martell Webster needs minutes because he's the Wizards' best shooter, and Trevor Ariza, frustrating as he is, also merits time because he's the team's best wing defender. For another, forcing Singleton to go against athletic wings negates the advantage he provides when playing the 4. His speed and shooting are assets against slower 4s, but they're not against faster 3s.
All this is to say that Singleton should be deployed based on the situation. He merits more time because playing him at the 4 opens up the floor a bit, and lord knows this team needs offense. But I would hesitate to make him a regular part of the rotation until he can prove he's not a liability against certain players.