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NBA Summer League 2013: What is Chris Singleton?

The Wizards' third-year forward continues to struggle to figure out how he can help a team most.


LAS VEGAS -- Chris Singleton has all the ability to be a great role player in this league. He's got the athleticism. He's got the length. He can develop the jump shot enough to space the floor.

So why is the Wizards' third-year forward still playing in Summer League? The answer can be found with all of the clanked stepback mid-range jumpers we've seen him fire over the course of the first two games here. Singleton is very clearly pressing, trying to show off too much of what he can't do rather than focusing on what he can. The heart appears to be in the right place, but the results aren't showing.

You have to find yourself. You have to define what you do for a ballclub-Don Newman on Chris Singleton

"In order to be contributing during the season, you have to find yourself. You have to define what you do for a ballclub," Summer League coach Don Newman said of Singleton after the Wizards' 82-69 loss to the New York Knicks on Sunday.

In Singleton's defense, the Wizards have found it difficult themselves to define him. They drafted him as a small forward and let him sink in a difficult rookie season, then traded for Trevor Ariza and signed Martell Webster to play ahead of him this year. Last year, the Wizards shifted him to power forward often, hoping to use his versatility in small lineups to space the floor. While noble, this has contributed, in part, to Singleton's own identity crisis.

Still, he's trying too hard to make an impression. He's playing like he has the ability to take smaller players off the dribble, even though he'd do better to play fewer possessions in isolation. It's disappointing that he's only taken two three-pointers total in the first two games when he desperately needs to improve his jump shot. Every time he steps into the line to take a long two-pointer on the pick and pop, it makes me sad.

I asked Newman how he'd like to see Singleton define himself. Here was his response.

"I think he should be a good defender on 3s and 4s, and a guy that can run the floor and get you some looks [in transition]," he said.

In other words: keep things simple. We'll see if Singleton starts doing that in the last few games here in Vegas.

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