Today’s NBA Draft Blog Scouting Report looks at one of the top defensive players in the country and a player who is slowly becoming a strong offensive threat as well – Chris Singleton of Florida State. Singleton has had some impressive showings already, including a triple double (points, rebounds, steals). So will he be ready for the NBA next season? Let’s take a look:
Chris Singleton, Florida State – Junior
Forward- 6’9, 225
14.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 bpg, 2.4 spg, 44.7% FG, 76.8% FT, 38.8 3P%
Post Skills- Singleton has improved since last year as a true post player, though it certainly is not his strength on the offensive end. He has become much better at establishing position, especially using his lower body to seal off the defender. He still needs to improve his movements once he receives the ball in position. First, he needs to become more decisive once he gets the ball – he often makes too many unnecessary dribbles or movements away from the basket. Also, he is a great athlete and needs to use this more to his advantage against bigger defenders. Around the rim, he is much better going strong to the basket, as his finesse game is still a work in progress. His touch has gotten better in the paint, though he still tends to shoot the ball as a line drive towards the rim instead of a decent arc.
Footwork- One of the most improved areas for Singleton has been his footwork, both in the paint and on the perimeter. Again, this improvement is somewhat tempered by his tendency to be indecisive. When he makes a strong move, he has shown a quality drop step, both along the baseline and into the paint, as well as a strong first step on the perimeter. Once he becomes more decisive with the ball, he should have a variety of ways to get around defenders.
Ballhandling/Hands/Penetration- Singleton has improved his ballhandling, but as noted above, he is still guilty of overdribbling, especially when he gets the ball in the post. He is much better on the perimeter, though he certainly doesn’t have the handling skills to get around good perimeter defenders. He has good hands, and does a good job creating a big target and handling passes. He has expanded his game to include an inside-out element this season, though he still has a way to go before he can rely on penetrating from the perimeter on a consistent basis. He has a good first step, but his decision-making once he gets by his man needs to improve, as well as seeing the whole court as he goes to the basket. When he does go strong to the rim, he is very powerful and can handle contact as he finishes, though because he is susceptible to help defenders, he needs to develop a better pull-up short jumper.
Perimeter Shooting- Singleton’s mid-range game has steadily improved and this season he is more confident than ever with his 10-15 foot jumper. While his shot selection could be a bit suspect, he has improved since the season has begun. He has great length and a good release point on his shot, which gives him the ability to shoot over defenders, though; there is something off about his shot’s rotation which gives shots that are off a bit little chance of going in. He has also become more confident from behind the three-point line, and can be a threat if left open. He doesn’t have the quickest shot release, so if there is a defender in the area, they will often have a chance to close well on him. One area, he needs to improve on is the use of head and ball fakes to draw the defender so he can use his athleticism to get by him. At this point he is content to either shoot of the catch or drive as soon as he catches the ball, where a bit more patience would open up his options. It would also serve him well to work on pick and pop situations, where he could get some good looks near the top of the key.
Rebounding/Passing- Singleton is a very strong offensive rebounder and has a knack for getting to misses before anyone else. He is very good at putting back misses, either grabbing the ball and going up strong, or tipping the ball in, which he has become very good at. He is very aggressive on the offensive glass, which can also be a detriment, where he has trouble getting back in transition. Passing is not his strongest area, especially out of the post. Already this season, I have seen him miss the open man off of a double team a dozen or so times, and he needs to become much better at reacting to these, especially once he hits the ACC season.
Free Throw Shooting – His biggest weakness coming into the season has become one of his strengths so far this year. Not only wasn’t he getting to the line as much as he should, but he wasn’t hitting them when he did get there. This season he is on pace for personal bests in attempts and percentage, though there have still been games where he didn’t get to the line at all. With his style of play, he should be able to get to the line 6 times a game minimum, which will mean becoming more aggressive on the offensive end.
Post Defense- Singleton is one of the best defenders in the nation, with the ability to guard multiple positions, especially larger post players. He uses his body well keeping himself between the man and the basket, he holds his ground well, and uses his long arms well to force players to try and shoot over him, as well as denying entry passes into the post. One area, where he could improve a bit is his tendency to stand straight up on his man, giving quicker post players the opportunity to make a move around him. Other than that, he is an intimidating defender around the basket. Singleton is a very good help defender out of the post, and can make up ground quickly to beat a man to a spot.
Perimeter Defense- What sets Singleton apart from other defenders is his ability to guard on the perimeter as well as the post. He has great balance and a good defensive stance, along with very active hands making passing around him difficult. He has good instincts in anticipating passes and grabs an extraordinary amount of steals for his position. He does a very good job closing on shooters, though the one area he needs to improve his susceptibility to ball fakes. If he can hold his ground, he has the ability to be a lockdown defender.
Rebounding/Blocking- Singleton is a very strong rebounder, though fundamentally he is not that great. He relies on his leaping ability and strength to get boards, though he needs to become more aware of boxing out offensive players around him, as he won’t have the same advantages at the next level. Once he gets his hands on the ball, he holds it strong, and rarely makes the mistake of bringing it down to his waist. Shot-blocking is also a strength, though he is still working on his decision-making when it comes to deciding whether to go for a block or not. He still picks up too many unnecessary fouls going to block shots he has no chance of getting to. When he makes smart decisions, his timing is great and he has a good ability to block the ball to his own man to start the break.
Singleton runs the court extremely well in transition and, at times, is a spectacular finisher on the break. He does an excellent job filling lanes, or coming in on the secondary break, and once he becomes more consistent with his jump shot, could be a multiple threat in transition.
Summary & Intangibles
Athleticism – Excellent
BB IQ – Above Average
Singleton has as much potential as any forward in the country. His defensive skills are top-notch and his offensive game has improved steadily. With great athleticism on top of his skill-set, Singleton will be able to provide minutes immediately at the NBA level. Recently during a broadcast from Hawaii, Doug Gottlieb mentioned a NBA scout saying Singleton could start right now for his team. While I don’t really see that situation being true, I do think he will be a starter at the next level in a few years. If he chooses to come out in 2011, he should easily be a mid-first rounder, most likely in the 16-23 range. Another year and some significant improvement on the offensive end would easily place him in the late lottery.
Tomorrow we will take a look at another player that is gaining a similar strong following around the country – Klay Thompson of Washington State. Remember, leave any comments below, follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog, or feel free to email me at the link up top.