By Cory Bernstein
Important stats: 13.1 PPG | 29.1 MPG | 2 STLS | 1.5 BLKS
Why we want him: Singleton is the best defender in the entire draft class, plain and simple. At 6’9, he can defend three positions very well, and was able to shut down the stars of the ACC last season. Advanced metric stats are very unreliable in college because of power teams playing weak non-conference schedules, but few stats could quantify how good he is at defense.
The Nets last year gave up 21 points a game to opposing small forwards, one of the worst numbers in the NBA. Singleton would be able to step into the Prudential Center and immediately be the best wing defender on the team. He can make the open three, shooting 37% from long range last season for Florida State. Pretty much, he is exactly what the Nets wanted Travis Outlaw to be last season, only a much better defender.
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Why we don’t: He is raw offensively, and can get very inconsistent with his jumper. There certainly is a possibility that at 6’9, he couldn’t guard bigger power forwards like Kevin Garnett, but this is somewhat expected with the jump to the NBA. Singleton will never become an all-star because of his offensive limitations, and is streaky from three despite his high three point percentage. He did break his leg this year and came back very soon after the injury, so there is a small risk that comes with this pick. Most importantly, he is a terrible free throw shooter. This season, he shot 66.7% from the charity stripe, which is terrible for a small forward pegged as a first round pick. Singleton will need to improve upon this if he wants to be an NBA starter.
Final Verdict: Chris Singleton will probably not be suiting up for The Nets next season unless they trade up, as he is a really good player. He has to be the first guy on the Nets draft board, as Singleton is a wing who can play defense at a truly exceptional level. Anthony Morrow and him would be a great combination on the wings and one that any Nets fan can only hope will happen. I would say Bruce Bowen is a fair comparison to Singleton, a small forward who is a lockdown defender at multiple positions, and can also nail the occasional three. To quote Ian Eagle, there will be “Jubilation In Newark” if the Nets can nab Singleton with the 27th pick.
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