One of the more interesting parts of the pre-draft workout circuit that precedes the NBA draft is the dynamic that develops among players that have never competed against or with one another, and whether it affects their performance.
During the Wizards’ pre-draft workout at Verizon Center on Thursday, the most compelling situation involved Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney and Duke’s Kyle Singler. The two were not just stars for their respective teams in college, but also rivals for four years in the ACC.
But when both met with reporters following the conclusion of the session, there was a mutual appreciation that seemed to be borne from the familiarity of having battled against one another for so many years.
“I’m done with college. I don’t have any college beefs anymore,” said Delaney, a Baltimore native. “I’m a professional right now. I’m just looking at it that way. If we’re on separate teams professionally, then I can go back to hating him. But we could end up on the same team, so right now it’s just good to have him in the workout.”
Most mock drafts have Delaney going undrafted in two weeks — even though he did perform well during the portion of Thursday’s session that was open to the media. But Singler could be an intriguing selection for Washington early in the second round, or even at No. 18 in the first round.
Though he lacks superior athleticism, Singler showed he was as versatile as anybody at the college level during his four-year career, becoming the first ACC player to finish a career with more than 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 offensive rebounds, 250 three-pointers, 200 assists, 100 blocked shots and 100 steals.
That will serve him well, since at 6-foot-9 and 225 pounds, many teams project him as a combo forward and spot-up shooter in the NBA.
A year ago, coming off a national championship at Duke, there would have been little doubt about Singler’s status as a first-round draft choice. But he decided to stay for his senior season in Durham, N.C. rather than declare for the draft.
Then toward the latter half of his senior year, Singler went on a prolonged shooting slump, particularly from three-point range where he ended up shooting a career-low 32 percent. Singler, though, said he doesn’t think about the “what if” scenarios of returning to school.
“I’m not too worried about it,” said Singler, who owns Duke’s records for consecutive games started (147) and minutes played (4,887). “As long as I’m in a good situation, good organization, and I’m able to help the team. That’s all I’m focused on.”
If nothing else, he’ll add to the trick-shot proficiency of whatever team selects him. He currently has two youTube videos called “Kyle Gets Buckets,” the latest of which features a trick shot from on top of the Duke Chapel in the center of campus. Singler said Thursday it took him only five tries to complete “The Chapel Shot.”
Check it out for yourself below: