RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Chris SingletonPosted by Brian Goodman on June 3rd, 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: Chris Singleton
School: Florida State
Height/Weight: 6’9/230 lbs.
NBA Position: Small Forward/Power Forward
Projected Draft Range: Mid-First Round
Overview: Few, if any, collegiate draft candidates possess the defensive acumen that Chris Singleton exhibits. Singleton arrived in Tallahassee from Canton, Georgia, with McDonald’s All-American honors in tow. He played 26 minutes per game as a freshman, and after his 17-rebound debut against Jacksonville, it quickly became apparent that defense and tenacity would be his hallmark. While he only tallied eight points per game in the 2008-09 season, he averaged 6.8 rebounds and altered numerous shots as the Seminoles scored an NCAA Tournament bid for the first time since 1998. As a sophomore, his performance increased with more playing time, averaging over 30 minutes per contest, and he flashed surprising range for a player his size, nailing 35 threes. While he never evolved into a major offensive threat in Leonard Hamilton’s methodical system, he averaged ten points per game, second on the team, while continuing to polish his defense. That year he garnered the first of two consecutive ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors while leading the Seminoles back to the NCAA Tournament. His junior year saw gradual improvement on offense, and with the ‘Noles turning heads towards the hardwood, Singleton scored 18 points in a January upset over #1 Duke. His value was further realized when Florida State went 3-3 while Singleton spent much of late February and March recovering from a broken foot. However, he would return in time to lead the Seminoles to the Sweet Sixteen, where they were dispatched in a thrilling overtime loss by VCU.
Will Translate to the NBA: While Singleton may have to move down to the small forward position, there’s no doubting that he has all the tools to handle the challenge. At 230 pounds, he already has terrific size and strength to impede any path to the hoop, and that’s without considering the incredible instincts that make him a lockdown defender. His athleticism and length will allow him to corral rebounds at a decent rate and while he won’t be counted on to provide much offense, he can hit jumpers out to the collegiate three-point line and beyond if left open. Singleton can also finish in transition due to his ability to run the floor with the agility of most guards.
Needs Work: Ballhandling doesn’t come easy for Singleton, which means he’ll struggle to create his own shot or draw extra defenders to the point where he can pass to an open man. Free throw shooting has never been a strong suit, but his 66.7% clip as a junior indicates that he isn’t a liability, either. Mechanically, his shot needs significant development, though with the right staff coaching him as well as repetition, hope is far from lost. With a big frame, he should be able to develop a set of reliable post moves, but the footwork and control isn’t there yet.
Comparison Players: Tayshaun Prince immediately springs to mind as a comparison player with a ridiculous wingspan and the ability to guard multiple positions on the floor. While the slighter Prince may have had a more developed offensive game coming out of college, it is Singleton who probably has more upside as an elite defender with his weight to throw around inside the paint. Serge Ibaka is another similar, although slightly bigger, player who Singleton reminds us of when we watch him play. Offensively raw, but energetic with a nose for the ball and a constant harassment to the player he’s guarding.
Best Case Scenario: The best case for Singleton is that he becomes an elite defender in the same way that Bruce Bowen or Scottie Pippen was able to do for all their many years residing on the all-NBA defensive teams. Defensive prowess depends on a lot of things, including effort, athleticism and pride in one’s work, but at the end of the day, the elite defenders in the NBA all have a certain knack for it. They get in player’s heads through careful study and anticipation. There’s no reason that Singleton, one of the better multi-purpose defenders the college game has had in recent years, cannot become that kind of a defensive player. Whether he can become a serviceable player on offense is quite another question, but in a best case scenario, he finds one thing he does well and he masters it (for example, a consistent mid-range game).
2014 Projection: Three years from now expect to see Singleton starting for a contender as just that kind of a player — a lockdown defender whom no star wing in the league enjoys seeing matched up opposite him, and someone who can knock down mid-range jumpers when inevitably left alone time and time again. Singleton will be making his money on the defensive end of the floor, but his improved ability to contribute 8-10 points per game will ensure that he’s no liability anywhere on it.
Best NBA Fit: Who doesn’t want a rangy 6’9 player who can guard four positions? Most any team, but he’ll find himself on a good team immediately who has a desperate need for better defense on the wings. The New York Knicks at #17 or the Denver Nuggets at #22 would be tremendous fits for him initially, but even a team like Minnesota, Washington or New Jersey could take a chance on him to make him the centerpiece of their ground-up rebuilding process.
Scout’s Take (Chris Denker from Netscouts Basketball): “All about D, 6’9 and lockdown guy… reminds me of Shane Battier without the three-point shot… character guy and leader… he showed a good attitude while injured and watching from the bench last season.”