RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Kyle SinglerPosted by nvr1983 on June 1st, 2011
Over the course of the next month until the NBA Draft on June 23, RTC will be rolling out comprehensive profiles of the 35 collegians we feel have the best chance to hear their names called by David Stern in the first round that night. There won’t be any particular order to the list, but you can scroll back through all the finished profiles by clicking here.
Player Name: Kyle Singler
Height/Weight: 6’9, 225 lbs.
NBA Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Late First Round
Overview: Although he was unable to lead the Blue Devils to a repeat national championship, Singler leaves Duke as one of the most decorated players in the school’s history. Throughout his four years in Cameron, Singler put up solid if not spectacular numbers. While he doesn’t have a single skill that jumps out at you as being “great,” he does possess a solid overall game that will attract no shortage of NBA scouts and executives. One of the more interesting aspects in evaluating Singler is that while he has puts up good numbers in all four years at Duke, he never really took the next step as his production appeared to level off around his sophomore season. Prior to his arrival at Duke, Singler was a highly recruited prospect out of Oregon whose team actually beat Kevin Love in the state tournament in their senior year. To his credit, unlike many highly recruited prospects, Singler lived up to the hype although he never developed into a dominant superstar that many had earlier hoped for. It is true that Singler has improved certain aspects of his game (most notably his free throw shooting), but at some level it is also concerning that Singler’s game hasn’t progressed as one might hope. Some of this may be attributable to the improvement in the players around him with Kyrie Irving arriving for Singler’s senior season (albeit briefly) and Nolan Smith showing a dramatic improvement at the same time. This leads to the obvious concern that despite playing for one of the greatest college coaches of all-time Singler’s game may have plateaued and he may not demonstrate the improvement that many players show after making the transition to the NBA. Of course, it could also just be a case of Singler needing to get into new surroundings and playing in a different system that utilizes his all-around game more than was done at Duke.
Will Translate to the NBA: Singler’s function in the NBA will be a role player. While this might concern some fans, it is also about the risk/reward of a draft pick at the point in the first round that a team would be considering Singler. It is extremely unlikely that a team would be able to land a franchise player in the late first round particularly in this year’s weak draft. On the other hand, it is unlikely that Singler will be a bust. Out of any player in the draft pool, Singler may have the most defined role on his future team–that of a solid rotation player who might start for a team that doesn’t make the playoffs or come off the bench for a playoff team. Obviously there will be some overlap there, but don’t count on Singler being the star of a NBA championship team any time soon. He will probably end up being a solid role player who does a little bit of everything well and becomes a fan favorite because of his fundamentals and willingness to give up his body for this team even if he won’t be putting up many 20+ point games.
Needs Work: Unfortunately for Singler, his single biggest weakness–athleticism–is one thing that he cannot significantly improve upon, but it is something that he can work on to minimize through training (think Tim Grover in Chicago) to improve his lateral quickness and finding other ways to compensate. There is also the obvious issue of what position he will play as he falls somewhere between a big three and a small four. Singler could take advantage of either defender on the offensive end, but would also be abused by both on the defensive end. The one area that Singler can definitely work on is his consistency, which is surprising coming for such a highly decorated graduating senior. With him it does not appear to be an issue of effort (you won’t find many observers who question Singler’s determination), but for some unclear reason he was unable to put up consistent scoring numbers last season. Coming into the year, Singler was expected to be the workhorse that would carry Duke to a repeat title (Irving figured to play a prominent role), but as the season progressed Singler became the third option because he could not be counted on to produce points consistently. Every time that it appeared like he might start to get on track this season he followed that performance with an abysmal one. This is evident after looking at the five times this season he scored 25 or more points — he was only able to follow that up with 20 or more points twice (20 points on 6-16 FG in a loss at FSU and 22 points on 6-19 FG in a loss at Virginia Tech) and shot 34.7% in the five games that followed his better performances. Singler won’t be called upon to put up those type of numbers in the NBA, but teams will need him to be a consistent shooter because one of his biggest strengths–his versatility–is most evident in his ability score from both in the paint and beyond the arc. If Singler isn’t able to hit his outside shot consistently in the NBA, his utility to a team will be significantly diminished.
Comparison Players: The obvious comparison here is Mike Dunleavy Jr., but we think that relies too heavily on the white Duke player stereotype. Singler isn’t quite as fluid as Dunleavy was, which is why he won’t be the third overall pick (yeah, we still can’t believe it either), but he is a lot more physical than the current Indiana Pacer. A better comparison for Singler would be a mix between Tayshaun Prince and Luke Walton. Singler has the ability to score from the perimeter while battling on the inside like Prince, but he also some of the all-around skills of Walton although he isn’t quite as good of a natural passer. In truth, Singler possessess a poor man’s version of the skills of both players, but is a probably a tad more physical than either of them. In the end, it is a pretty intriguing combination for the right team.
Best Case Scenario: Ideally, Singler would end up on a team that is on the cusp of breaking through in the playoffs. This isn’t because Singler is used to playing on a winner and would have a tough time adapting. We think he would play with the same effort in either case. Instead, it would be important for Singler to find a team that needs him to do a little of everything instead of just utilizing one of many skills. If that team only needs one or two of skills at a time that would be fine, but it would be a shame if a team drafted Singler and only tried to use him for a single purpose. Singler’s varied skills would be ideal to fill any holes a team needs at any given time and could change by the game or even quarter. He would also benefit from being drafted into a setting where he has solid interior defenders that could help him if (when) someone gets by him since he will inevitably end up in a mismatch on the defensive end as a classic tweener.
2014 Projection: Singler’s all-around game and toughness should keep him in the NBA for at least a decade barring injuries. This doesn’t mean he will ever be an all-star, but he seems to be the type of guy coaches would love to have and can insert into a game at any time regardless of the situation. So it seems realistic that within three years Singler will be a solid rotation guy. His minutes will vary inversely with the quality of team he plays with, but even on a championship contender Singler could play significant stretches to fill in when his team needs him.
Best NBA Fit: The ideal fit for Singler would be on either Oklahoma City or Portland. Both teams have excellent primary scorers and a talented group of players around them. Singler would probably fit in seamlessly with either group as he doesn’t need to touch the ball that much to create and could easily get 5-10 points in some games just by grabbing offensive rebounds or stepping out to the perimeter to draw away a big man from the basket to hit an outside shot. Another major benefit of being on either team is that both have solid inside defenders who could erase many of the mistakes that Singler might make defensively.
Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “I’m a fan… I think he makes it and plays a while… show me what you’ve done, and he’s been a winner at all levels of basketball… the all-stars loved him last summer during the international play.”