Singleton latest to emerge from Wizards' bench

Singleton latest to emerge from Wizards' bench
November 9, 2012, 12:15 pm
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If it seems like Wizards coach Randy Wittman has treated his roster like a Rubik's cube in the first three games, twisting and turning and manipulating pieces until he finds the right combinations, here's why:

Through three games, the Wizards' bench has outscored the starters by a jaw-dropping 161-103 count.

Despite that disparity, Wittman has stuck with his starting five of Trevor Ariza [11 points], Trevor Booker [21], Emeka Okafor [15], A.J. Price [30] and Bradley Beal [26] for the first three contests.

But the Wizards' bench has received sigificant contributions from Kevin Seraphin [team-high 35 points], Jordan Crawford [34], Martell Webster [29], Jannero Pargo [19], Chris Singleton [18] and Jan Vesely [13], along with spot duty from Earl Barron [8] and Cartier Martin [5].

So what does all this mean when John Wall and Nene return from their injuries?

"When Nene and Wall get back we'll be an even deeper team," said Singleton, who dropped 14 points on the Celtics Wednesday night when the Wizards' bench outscored the starters 53-41. "So I can't even imagine the rotation then."

The Wizards have been victims of poor starts in each of their first three games and that could force Wittman to shuffle the deck tonight when the Milwaukee Bucks visit Verizon Center [7 p.m., CSN].

The above numbers would suggest it might be time for Seraphin to replace Okafor and perhaps Singleton to replace Ariza when the Wizards line up against the Bucks. Wittman admits he's been trying to find the right fit at the right time and so far, his bench is answering the call.

"Hey, I can't play everybody," Wittman said. "And we've got to be ready. We haven't gotten into a good rhythm yet of a certain core group of first and second units. I've been at times searching for offense.

"Our defense has been pretty good. But we go through periods, whether it's the start of games or stretches where you're getting stops but you're not scoring and you're looking for those kinds of combinations.

"Singleton came in [Wednesday] night and gave us that. I think he ended up playing 24 minutes and really was the last guy off the bench to get into the game."

Singleton, taken by the Wizards with the 18th pick of the 2011 draft, has plenty of experience as an NBA starter. He started 51 of the Wizards' 66 games last season, including their final 42.

Singleton, 22, said he worked hard on shooting with a higher arc over the summer and was hoping for an increased role in his second season with the Wizards.

But with the arrival of Okafor and Ariza, Singleton's role has been diminished, evidenced by the 18 seconds he played in the Wizards' home-opening loss to the Celtics Saturday night.

"It just shows you that nothing's going to be given to us," Singleton said. "We're going to have to earn every opportunity we get on the court and just take advantage of it.

"Like I said many times, I think we're one of the deepest teams. I think our second unit definitely gives us a lift and I think our second unit is maybe one of the best out there. Just go out there and play with energy and play the game right is going to put us above everybody."

While the Wizards have been competitive in each of their first three games, they've lost all three down the stretch. Singleton says the Wizards need to understand they can turns things around even without Wall and Nene.

"We're dangerous right now," he said. "It's just that at the end of the game, the last five minutes going down the home stretch we just got to execute. We're getting stops. But we've got to put the ball in the basket."