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Singleton: "I'd rather hit somebody than get hit"

James Singleton is 6-feet-8, which is something you have to keep in mind when you look the final stat sheet and see that he came off the bench and had a career-high 21 rebounds against Indiana on Wednesday. Singleton also finished with a season-high 19 points, but he was upset after the game (aside from the Wizards suffering their franchise-record-tying 13th consecutive loss).

"I was trying to get 30 and 30," said Singleton, who had 13 points and 14 rebounds in the first half of the game. "I missed a lot of layups."


It's not the size of the dog in the fight... (AP Photo/Tom Strattman)

After Singleton hopped around, banged and battled for 35 minutes, Coach Flip Saunders said that he would have to make a lineup change when the Wizards face the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday. The most likely candidate to get replaced is JaVale McGee, who was held scoreless with just three rebounds in little over 12 minutes.

"The only bright spot we had tonight was James. He was unbelievable," Saunders said. "We probably have to start him. He's playing too good. We've been in a situation here, where you're trying to evaluate players. But at some point, you have to still evaluate, but you have to reward the guys that are doing things and producing in a limited time and give them the minutes."

Singleton had his second double-double in the past four games, after matching his previous career-high with 16 rebounds in Portland last Friday. With his father, Armstard, coming down from Chicago to watch him on Wednesday, Singleton had 15 defensive rebounds against the Pacers.

When asked how he is able to mix it up as a center despite giving up considerable size and weight to most of his opponents, Singleton smiled and said, "I'm strong."

"I played football growing up, so I'm used to getting beat up," he said. "I like contact. I don't shy away from it. I'd rather hit somebody than get hit. I want to hit first, and hit second, and hit third and then give them an opportunity to hit me, but that ain't going to happen."

Singleton has seen his minutes and production triple from his time in Dallas, where he was a seldom-used backup. He said that it took awhile for him to get comfortable with his role with the Wizards because he wasn't used to playing so much.

"These are things that I've always been able to do, but I was being buried on the bench in Dallas," he said. "I think I'm a complete player, but in Dallas, they buried me. I don't know what the reason was, probably because my name wasn't big enough. But I came here and coach Saunders gave me the opportunity. I guarantee any coach that gives me an opportunity, I'm not going to let him down."

Singleton will be a free agent next summer, but said that he wouldn't mind coming back next season. "I've had a great time here," Singleton said. "I know next year, it's going to be a different makeup. But getting a fresh, fresh start with the team would be great, because I already have a half a season under Flip Saunders and the coaching staff and the system. If everything presents itself well, I'd love to return here."

By Michael Lee  |  March 25, 2010; 1:17 AM ET
 
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Next: Gilbert Arenas's fall, Blatche's start, Wizards' 13th straight loss

Comments

Singleton, I would take you back in a second buddy. Love your hustle and attitude. And, your skill set seems to be getting better. I cringed when you took a 15 footer when you first got here, but now your knocking'em down with more frequency.

How Singleton can grab 21 rebounds and McGee can hardly get more than a few most games is beyond me. Well, I know why, but I'll be nice.

Posted by: rphilli721 | March 25, 2010 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Didn't see the game but how can Flip say...

"The only bright spot we had tonight was James. He was unbelievable,"

when AB had 21 points?

Flip is a jerk no I understand why kal likes him so much.

Birdes of a feather will flocke togither.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 1:49 AM | Report abuse

Should we throw a party for AB because he got 21 points? He takes the most shots (and has the most turnovers too) so he should have 21 points. AB is playing within the expectations Flip and the staff have set for him since they are running the offense through him. No praise needed for doing what is expected.

Singleton is playing beyond his expectations, especially for an unheralded player coming off the bench.

Flip knows how to coach. He's motivating the so called "starters" by everything he says and doesn't say. He isn't the problem. The problem is that the talented players on this roster haven't matured mentally into men from boys. That's why we see these inconsistent efforts from NY or Thornton, or a "misunderstanding" between AB and Flip. Even Miller's reluctance to pull the trigger is something of a mental issue. Ladies and gentlemen, YOUR "Washington Headcases"! (...still better than "Sea-Dogs")

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | March 25, 2010 3:01 AM | Report abuse

I said all along that Singleton would be the surprise package in the Dallas deal. Wish we had several more with his attitude.

Posted by: khrabb | March 25, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Singleton is playing great, yes, but he's only 6-8, 230. Make him the starting center for the rest of the season and see what happens. Maybe he'll be another Dave Cowens (how tall was Cowens?).

But at least bring in another big man who actually knows how to play the center position, and who will be productive in terms of rebounds and put-backs. McGee to me seems more like a pf not a center, the way he plays. Fab just hasn't been productive with his minutes.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 25, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

@Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot: How can you call what Flip is doing "motivation"? To be motivation,it has to work. Otherwise, it's just a systematic beating down and elimination of self-confidence. Every coach (and parent) has to know that not all players (and children) are alike. So you have to tailor your approach to your players (children).

Flip could have said "James was one of the bright spots for us tonight". Doesn't even have to be true.

Posted by: tundey | March 25, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

Should we throw a party for AB because he got 21 points? He takes the most shots

Posted by: Janitor_with_a_Jumpshot | March 25, 2010 3:01 AM | Report abuse

People on here would swear AJ was a HOF player becasue he would score 20 points and play no "D".

I'm not saying AB deserves an award but to say "THE" only bright spot was James is a slap in the face to AB.

Another great coaching job Flip and Ernie you suck to have hired this guy.

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I said all along that Singleton would be the surprise package in the Dallas deal. Wish we had several more with his attitude.

Posted by: khrabb | March 25, 2010 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Last week it was Livingston who was going to be the next all star and the week before it was Gee and the week before it was McGee and the week before it was Harris? Come on?

Admit it, AB is their best player and he has head issues like Gil which will prevent him from becoming a really good player.

Great job Ernie!

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Blatche was a victim of a robbery/carjacking. "

He was shot while in a neighborhood known to traffic in prostitution, a neighborhood nowhere near where he lived with no plausible real reason for him to be there at that time of night. Why was he there?

Wrong again! Hey, what are the odds?!!! (Rhetorical question, of course.)

But hey, other than getting all of the facts utterly and completely wrong, good job!

. . . sorry, but I’m still a clueless moron.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 24, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: bulletsfan78 | March 25, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

FROM LAST NIGHT:

The heading to this article should have been, "BLATCHE to start, SAUNDERS to leave."

This guy's no good for a young team. He likes veterans, and has said so many times. He was brought here to run a veteran team. Now that's changed. Time to go. Send GRUNFELD with FLIP for over-ruling him,......if he did.

TODAY's ARTICLE:

Nothin' else to say b/c I've been pimping SINGLETON since he got here. Everybody here know's how I feel about him. SHAQ in a 6'8" body, and I think that's a LIE. More like 6'6".

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 25, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

hilarious that AB starts last night and delusional folks here still think Flip is above board with everything because "he's a middle-aged man"

Flip lied to the media about a player and blew up directly in his face. How professional.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

divi3:

Looking at your last post and mine I'd say we are in agr-e-e-e-e-e-mnt.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 25, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Agreed that Singleton should be starting. But I'd sit Thornton instead of McGee. Thornton was a good college player but seems totally undisciplined out on the court right now. I've been following the NBA for a very long time, and Thornton last night took some of the worst shots I've ever seen from an NBA player. To continue to reward him with a starting role is nuts.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | March 25, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

A silly game against Indiana. Singleton gets a ton of rebounds, but then again, so does Troy Murphy (19) and Josh McRoberts (12). The Pacers launch 28, count'em, 28 three point shots, connecting on 6 for a blazing 21%. The game's not close anyway. A bench player performs well and gets a little ink as a reward. He's lobbying for a job next season.

These are all signs that the 2009-2010 Washington Wizards NBA basketball season is officially over.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Flip is about to get the dubious distinction of heading the longest losing streak in Wiz/Bullets history...that's like being the shortest midget.

But it's ALL on the players, EVERY loss comes down to something they did wrong or didnt do. Cant the guy say "I need to do a better job"

No wonder he loses teams, he gets in front of reporters and blames the players while saying stuff like "coaches are never wrong"

newsflash: you lose 13 in a row and EVERYBODY has done something wrong

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Nick Young played pretty well too. His defense has improved markedly (he took an obvious charge last night that was called a block). Despite the low assist totals, he no longer is a ball stopper, but rather passes up on good looks to keep the offense in flow. He actually should shoot more. Play him and let him continue learning! He really could be a major contributing bench player next year.

Posted by: audacitea | March 25, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

yeah, that game was ridiculous. Crowd was sparse even by VC standards. And at times Singleton was the only player on either team giving full effort. Good for him!

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Here is Wizards master plan:

Get rid of headcases Arenas and Blatche, build the team around Singleton. Next year's starting lineup looks like this:

PF/C: Singleton
(Singleton is so good, he can play 2 positions at the same time. He got enough rebounds to cover for 2 and McGee is no help on scoring anyway.)

SF: Gee

SG: 2nd round pick from the coming draft
(EG has better track record at drafting 2nd round then 1st round)

PG: Livingston

Wait, I was just told that NBA would not allow one player to play 2 positions at the same time. OK, McGee can start at C then, so he can continue his experiment in throwing the ball to the basket from different angles/positions, and see if they will drop in; it's good for his thesis after playing career.

The 2 first round choices can be packaged along with Arenas and Blatche as trade baits. In return, we want cap space and as many 2nd round picks as possible. Not only because EG is better at drafting 2nd round, but also because 2nd round has no guaranteed contract, so next year Wizards can have the lowest payroll in the NBA.

Posted by: sagaliba | March 25, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"These are all signs that the 2009-2010 Washington Wizards NBA basketball season is officially over."

Posted by: Samson151


I don't know whee you have been, the Wizards' season has been over for a while now.

Given the current level of dysfunction, this team will need years to rebuild. A new management team would be a good place to start.

Posted by: thomas_kecskes | March 25, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"To continue to reward him with a starting role is nuts. Posted by: shovetheplanet"

I think he hopes they'll sit him down. He's out of shape.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"I don't know whee you've been, the Wizards' season has been over for a while now"

Lord protect us from the literal-minded.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe so many people are ragging on Flip, with all the crap he's had to deal with this season -- ownership issues, Gilbert's felony, injuries, attitudes, trades. I think the man has earned some respect with his record. Not a single player on this team has done anything in his career, while Flip's been a winner everywhere he's coached. And you guys are saying HE'S the one who should leave?

Tell you what: I'll take Flip and ten mature players; you keep all the headcases and find yourselves a coach. We'll see who wins.

Posted by: RIP-21 | March 25, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Flip is headcase, he proved over the past 48hrs. Maybe it's the migraines affecting him.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I been away for a little while and I see nothing has changed...Is a PF scoring 21 points with 5 turnovers a big deal? Especially when your starting SG DOUBLES his rebounds?

Jamison is gone 78...let it go. He didn't turn the ball over (5 turnovers is a very high opportunity for 10-15 points the other way.)

And he NEVER refused to go back in a game. Or "didn't want to talk to a coach"

You want to be a star but you want to tell a coach when it's too early to talk about something? And it's not even what he's trying to talk to you about.

You can't put that on Flip. No player has that right. Especially what that has accomplished NOTHING IN 5 YEARS.

Posted by: SDMDTSU | March 25, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

"These are all signs that the 2009-2010 Washington Wizards NBA basketball season is officially over."
Posted by: Samson151

Their season was over even before the year started.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 25, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I continue to believe it's a bit misleading to focus entirely on one aspect of this organization--whether it's Grunfeld, Flip, Eddie Jordan, Blatche, Gilbert, Haywood, etc.--and say "that's the problem." The problem is decades of dysfunction among the ownership, front office and players. Improvement next year and beyond is not so much about whether we keep Singleton, Blatche, McGree, et al. It begins with realigning the entire franchise and getting everyone on the same page. Blatche's behavior is totally unacceptable but it's representative of an organization where the wheels have totally come off. Hopefully, the Leonsis transaction will go down in the next several days.

Posted by: jweber1 | March 25, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Michael Lee is quickly becoming the most biased, shoddy reporter at the Washington Post. His anti-Arenas agenda has been taken to new levels recently, and readers have taken notice.

However, I'd like to point out that not only is he clearly no longer an objective beat reporter, he's also now taking LeBron's word for it over Arenas's when it comes to that 2006 playoff game 6.

According you Lee: "James, a playoff neophyte, suddenly looked like a seasoned gamesman as he walked up to Arenas, patted him on the chest and told him, 'If you miss these free throws, you're going home.'"

Now of course Lee knows damn well that this comment was disputed by Arenas, but he goes and puts it in his article today as if it were fact. Gee, taking LeBron's version over Arenas's, that's just something we would expect from this hack of a reporter.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Jamison openly defied Flip this season, was told to stop taking so many 3s and then said to the media he would play however he wanted. I think he may have taken like six of them on the very day Flip mentioned it.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Driving home last night listening to 106.7 (around 6:40 PM) not sure how to spell his name Holden Kushner? and Liz Draybek (sp?)...both said Blatche was an out and out liar multiple times. Both stated our own Michael Lee affirmed three coaches had talked to Blatche and that Andray simply lied and lied again....Not sure if anyone else heard this but they could not have been harsher. Still second hand but they directly brought up how Blatche had challenged the media and then said Michael Lee had verified Flip's position with the assistants and Blatche was a liar.

Seems to me the Wizards just want this to go away because they need to be able to get something for him before next season. Challenging enough given his inconsistencies, team cancer tag would not be helpful.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Love love love Singeton and what he brings to the game.

Last time I was at the Verizon Center who was the first person on the court shooting before warm ups? That's right James Singleton.

Hustle, desire, cleaning the glass and popping the occassional jumper. Resign this dude!

Posted by: Rocky420 | March 25, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

At least blatche has a good contract. This makes him great trade bait for draft picks.

Posted by: jefferu | March 25, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

No matter what the Wizards want to do with AB, you simply CANNOT start a guy the day after he refuses to go back into a game for 3 quarters. Add to that him directly calling the coach a bold-faced liar, demanding an apology, etc etc....and you start him that night?

No fricking way.

either:

1)ABs story is closer to the truth than Flip's

or

2)EG gave the order to start AB anyway and therefore may be as lousy as some people here think he is.

imho, it leans towards the former, no way EG would allow AB to get away with that sort of nonsense. They already suspended him once for whining on Facebook afterall.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

divi3,
Clearly we lean different directions on this story and where the truth lies...probably can both agree we will never truly know.

That said, based upon Blatche's career to date with the Wizards....would you be comfortable with Andray being the conerstone around which this franchise is rebuilt?

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 10:51 AM

Given what we're paying him, I dont think he needs to be the cornerstone of the franchise by any means over the next 2 seasons. His production comes so cheap, I cant see a reason to get rid of him especially since he may be "arriving."

but imho, there's no salvaging between him and Flip. They had a very public dispute and AB called his coach out directly in the media and defiantly stated he wouldnt be disciplined. Massive egg on Flip's face, they will probably barely speak to each other from here on out.

Posted by: divi3 | March 25, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If flip wasn't wrong why did Dray start? Flip lied on Dray in his postgame press conference when he said Dray refused to play. He lied when he said that 3 coaches asked him to get in the game and were rebuffed. That is the only way a player, who is reported to have quit on his team in the first quarter gets a start the next day. If he really quit on his teammates, a player if not management would have spoken up about the double standard and what a bad look it is. Blatche is definitely responsible for "blowing Flip off" when he brought him to the bench. But maybe AB really needed to calm himself down, as he was being benched for not picking up MM's man who had beaten him, while HE SAYS he was in rebounding position. Maybe he was fired up at being pulled becasue he failed to cover MM's mistake. It's not abnormal for a player to be upset at being pulled. It's kinda abnormal for a head coach with the illustrious track record of a Flip Saunders to out and out LIE on a player to the media. AB admitted that he ignored Flip but wouldn't buckle to quitting on his team. Flip said "Coaches can't be wrong". I'm gonna side with the guy that took responsibility for his role in the "misunderstanding" over the guy who professes that people in his profession aren't wrong about stuff.

Posted by: lilhollywood10 | March 25, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

lilhollywood10,
First and foremost the NBA is a business and the Wizards understand they will only lessen the value of Blatche by suspending him or perpetuating this story further in any way.

Also, I think folks are reading too much into the "coaches are never wrong statement". I believe Flip was trying to communicate that the players should strictly follow instructions...similar to military command. Personally, I think it was a bad, bad statement and I do not wholly agree with even the intent philosophically but I don't think Flip was saying he is infallible.

Posted by: The_Shadow_Knows | March 25, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If Singleton at 6-8 230 is big enough to play center with great effectiveness, against some teams anyway, that should tell the Wizards not to automatically reject any centers in the draft who may be "undersized". Let's not miss the next Wes Unseld or Dave Cowens. (Are there any out there?)

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 25, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"People on here would swear AJ was a HOF player becasue he would score 20 points and play no "D"."

Which is different from people claiming that Blatche is a surefire All-Star and the future of the franchise for doing the exact same thing how, exactly?

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Given what we're paying him, I dont think he needs to be the cornerstone of the franchise by any means over the next 2 seasons."

And yet you have referred to him as such in multiple previous posts.

Posted by: kalo_rama | March 25, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of undersized, undervalued players, how about Luke Harangody? I wouldn't mind seeing the Wizards pick him up with their early second round pick.

Posted by: PostSubscriber | March 25, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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