It’s no secret that Wizards coach Randy Wittman likes a short rotation, no more than eight or nine players. It’s his belief that playing everyone on his bench is not a long-term recipe for success.
Before Wednesday night’s game at Indiana, Washington was 4-25 and dealing with myriad injuries and inconsistent play from the few healthy bodies they do have available. It sometimes forces Wittman to go deeper into his bench than he’d like. Still, at least one of his players will finish the game with the dreaded DNP [Did not play — coach’s decision] next to his name in the box score.
For the player who finds himself the odd men out, it can be a difficult time. A the start of the season, it was swingman Cartier Martin who found himself in and out of the rotation. A few weeks ago, it was forward Jan Vesely. This past week, it’s been Chris Singleton.
“It’s been stretches like this early in my career before,” Singleton said. “I just take lessons from that. I’ve just been learning. I’m still trying to support my team and do what I can do to get on the court.”
After what Wittman called a good training camp for him, Singleton played double-digit minutes in 22 of the first 25 games. But Dec. 22 against Detroit, Singleton was designated DNP. It’s been that way for the past three games.
“Right now, there’s not enough minutes to play everybody,” Wittman said. “I think you guys think we should play 15 guys sometimes. You’ve got Nene, Kevin [Seraphin], and Emeka [Okafor], who’s playing probably the best stretch he’s played, and Jan [Vesely]. Somebody’s got to sit.”
Singleton was drafted with the 18th overall pick last year and had a trial by fire when injuries forced him into the starting lineup near the end of the season. Singleton was hard on himself after last year’s rookie struggles, rating his performance a “D”.
“He’s got to be more consistent,” the coach said. “Both he and Jan have got to be consistent in their play. That’s the main thing. [They are] good one day, bad the next. Inconsistency fluctuates how well you play night in and night out.”
For now, Singleton is doing his best to maintain a positive attitude, work hard in practice and even out the ups and downs in his game. He knows there is work to do.
In 25 games, Singleton has scored in double figures just three times, had double-digit rebounds once and in 14 games didn’t make a single trip to the free throw line.
“He wants my energy to be up, every time I touch the court and just go out there and play hard,” Singleton said. “For now, I have to accept that he made a coaching change, and I have to go with it and just live with it.”