Our look back at the 2012-13 season begins with our player evaluations. Today's installment: Chris Singleton.
BASIC STATS: 4.1 points per game, 3.2 rebounds per game, 7.8 PER, 38.2% from the field, 42.5% TS%, 11.0% rebound percentage.
CONTRACT STATUS: Singleton just finished the second year of his rookie contract. The Wizards exercised the team option on his contract (~$2.5 million) for the 2013-14 season back in early October before the season started.
PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS: The long and short of it: to be better than last year.
Singleton was coveted by a lot of teams during the 2011 draft for his expected-talent on defense. No one ever thought he was going to be an elite scorer, but teams were high enough on him that the Wizards contemplated taking him with the 6th pick because they didn't think he would last until 18th.
Last season, Singleton was the primary starter at Small Forward. He... was probably thrown into the lion's den too quickly. Regardless, the hope was that he would turn into a 3-and-D guy.
OFFENSE: Um... well... not so great. He had a stretch of games in the middle of the season when was was back in the rotation (after being DNP-CD almost the entire month of January) where he was playing the small-ball power forward and contributing on offense. He was playing 20 minutes per game and hitting nearly 70 percent of his shots -- and he was playing very well off John Wall (check out the charts in this post). And then... he fell out of the rotation again.
DEFENSE: That same stretch in February against teams like the Knicks and Spurs, Singleton was doing what he was drafted to do: use his length to smother opponents. But... then he fell out of the rotation again.
OTHER STUFF: Before this season, Martell Webster was signed and Trevor Ariza was acquired via trade. Many thought the Chris Singleton experiment was over. With injuries abounding to other guys, Singleton was thrust into the Power Forward slot.
Then, this happened (excerpted from a piece I wrote in February):
He played sparse minutes here and there, but he was "in the doghouse," as they say. Now, he wasn't really insubordinate or anything, but he didn't fit into the mix. He seemed lost at times on the floor, trying to figure out whether he should be a 3 or a 4. Part of that was on Wittman for not settling on a rotation. Part of that was because the team was too deep at the 3-4, so it was difficult to get comfortable. Part of it, though, was he really didn't seem to know what he was doing. He was fouling at a high rate, and he wasn't contributing offensively or defensively. Wittman made the right choice to pull him out.
All in all, Singleton played 57 games this season. That shouldn't be so weird, since lots of guys on the team didn't play full years. But Singleton was healthy. All of the games he didn't play (25) were DNP-CDs. For a first-round pick that was supposed to be the start of the defensive revolution on this roster, that's not a good sign. We thought things would improve when he got back into the rotation midseason, but they didn't last. He slipped back out of the rotation, only to reemerge towards the end of the season when others were being shelved for injury precaution.
DID HE MEET, EXCEED OR FALL SHORT OF EXPECTATIONS? I'd say he fell short. For a second-year guy to drop off statistically like he did and not be able to make his way into a rotation that was full of holes... it's not a great sign. I guess the holes weren't where his strengths were, though.
OVERALL: I like Chris Singleton. I really do. I think, though, that 2011 draft is looking worse and worse for Washington. Some of it might have to do with those rookies not having a real preseason/camp/summer league because of the lockout. But essentially what happened was the team drafted Singleton, Jan Vesely, and Shelvin Mack to fill out the rotation with a 3-and-D wing, a screen-setting big man, and a backup point guard. Then, after they all failed at their jobs, the team traded for Martell Webster, Trevor Ariza, Nene, and Emeka Okafor and signed A.J. Price to fill all those needs instead. That's an explicit abandonment of a rebuild and an explicit condemnation of the quality of play from those draft picks.
Based on the makeup of this roster going forward, I don't know if Chris Singleton will be around much longer. That's just speculation, but I don't think he ever notched a proper role here. I do think, however, he would thrive in a better-defined role on another team with more veterans and a more stable rotation playing about 10-15 minutes per game (sounds classic Wizards, doesn't it?)
HOW WOULD YOU RATE SINGLETON'S SEASON ON A SCALE OF 1-10? Vote below.
Basic stats and contract information from Basketball-Reference.