Kyle Singler: Could He Be Worth It

With Kevin Durant gone, The Oklahoma City Thunder need a small forward to step up. Could Kyle Singler be that man?

Kyle Singler is an enigma. He is a good shooter…except whilst playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder. When he played for the Detroit Pistons, Singler averaged  27.1 minutes and 8.7 points per game. When playing for the Thunder he has averaged 15.2 minutes and 3.5 points per game.

This is troubling, the drop off in scoring could be explained by the drop off in minutes. However, a deeper look into the numbers shows that the problem is greater than just less time on the court.

In Detroit, Singler’s slash line was 43/38/82, giving Singler an effective field goal percent of 50.4. This is quite acceptable for a player who had been in the NBA for approximately two and a half seasons

In Oklahoma, Singler has taken a step back. His slash line is currently sitting at 37/33/67, giving Singler an effective field goal percent of 45.1.

I would put this down to confidence and lack of consistent playing time being the backup for Kevin Durant.

Oct 11, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (15) dribbles the ball past Dallas Mavericks guard Justin Anderson (1) during the first half at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Donovan started Singler against the Dallas Mavericks. Not just that, he gave him 31 minutes of playing time. Singler responded to the confidence that the coach had him in by scoring 17 points. Last season Singler did not score more than 11 points in a single game.

Please don’t get me wrong, I understand that one game does not equal a season of success. It was the surety of his positioning on court, with the catch and release of the ball on his three point shot.

There was a confidence in Kyle Singler that I have never seen in him while wearing an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform.

Singler shot 5-of-9 from the field, that is good for any small forward. Singler also went 3-from-3 from the free throw line. Given that he is a 67 percent free throw shooter whilst playing for the Thunder, this is a good sign.

There was a confidence in Kyle Singler that I have never seen in him while wearing an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform.

The number which I found most impressive was the 4-from-6 that Singler shot from three. With the loss of Durant, Oklahoma City now needs to have more people share the load from beyond the arc.

Yes they have role players like Alex Abrines and Anthony Morrow. However, it is the likes of Singler, Domantas Sabonis and Ersan Ilyasova who need to space the floor as they should receive more quality minutes than Abrines and Morrow.

The Thunder have Andre Roberson, Josh Huestis and Singler all fighting it out for the starting position in the preseason. I am a strong believer in the potential of Huestis but his time is not now, he needs a lot more seasoning.

Were I the coach of the Thunder, I would continue to start Singler this preseason. What have the Thunder got to lose. No one on the roster is going to be Kevin Durant. Maybe it is time to let Kyle Singler be Kyle Singler. I hope for the sake of the Oklahoma City Thunder they get a player who could win the most improved player rather than the waste of court time that Singler has been.

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