Moments after the Washington Wizards completed the morning session of the second day of minicamp on Tuesday Coach Randy Wittman was asked about forward Chris Singleton, who at this time last year was not permitted to have any contact with the team during the NBA lockout.
Wittman didn’t stop but for a second or two before delivering an answer that revealed just how much Singleton has developed over that time.
“You know Chris had the best practice I’ve seen him have since, actually, he’s been here,” Wittman said. “All last year and obviously these first three we’ve had here. I see a player that has a year under his belt that got some playing time. He’s come out here, and I’m really very pleased with his effort.”
The Wizards were through a day and a half of minicamp at Verizon Center, where they will spend the next two and a half days before departing for Las Vegas to participate in the NBA summer league that begins on Friday.
Singleton was part of last year’s draft class, chosen 18th overall, 12 picks after the Wizards made Vesely their first selection. Because of the lockout, Singleton and his mates in the Class of 2011 did not have time to adjust to the speed of the NBA or become familiar with other teammates on the court.
So when the lockout ended and the season began, Singleton was among the players at a considerable disadvantage, asked to contribute significant minutes yet still finding his way as a professional.
This season, with the benefit of minicamp, summer league and training camp, Singleton has dedicated himself to making much more of an impact.
“I guess I have a lot to prove,” Singleton said. “I mean, last year I felt like I underachieved.”
Singleton pointed to his poor shooting as an area of his game that left him most disappointed. Singleton shot 37 percent from the field as a rookie, only slightly higher than his percentage (34.6) from three-point range.
During three seasons at Florida State, where he was named ACC defensive player of the year as a junior, Singleton never shot worse than 40.9 percent, and that was as a freshman.
“I’ve got all the tools,” said Singleton, who also said making the playoffs this season is a top priority. “It’s just how I put my body in a way that I can achieve what I need to get somewhere. I mean, I worked hard this summer, and I’m going to continue to work hard this summer. There’s still a [starting forward] spot open for me and [Trevor] Ariza. I want to play for it.”
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