With one-year under their belt, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack are in the unique position of being the experienced second-year players, that the rookies naturally turn to for leadership all the while, being in the same place as they are entering into the summer league for the very first time.
With the NBA still in a lockout a year ago today, Mack and Singleton didn’t get the opportunity most rookies get to experience as they enter into the NBA, the experience of playing in the summer league. So despite being viewed as the experienced guys by their summer league teammates, they know as much about the summer league as they do, providing a unique dynamic of trying to lead their teammates while trying to lead themselves at the same time.
We caught up with Mack and Singleton before they took off for Vegas and asked them about that dynamic, what they hope to get out of summer league and their thoughts on some of the rookies:
BHR: Obviously with the lockout last season, you didnt get a chance to experience summer league, what are you looking forward to most?
SM: Its going to be another great opportunity to work with the coaches and now that I have a good idea of what they’re looking for, I feel real comfortable with my role in the offense and with the team. It’ll be another chance for me to keep moving forward which I’m excited about.
BHR: Having gone through these two-a-days and prepping for Summer League, how much does it make you wish you had this experience last year?
SM: Yeah, anytime you have a chance to work with the coaches you should want to have that chance. If I had this last year, I know it certainly would’ve helped me in one way or another during the season.
BHR: Having a year under your belt, in essence you’re a veteran on the court this week, does that change your mindset at all?
SM: A little bit. I’ve definitely been trying to make things easier for Bradley and Tomas cause I know what the coaches want and what they expect and to help show them the ropes kinda like guys like Rashard did for me.
BHR: First impressions of Bradley Beal?
SM: He’s a competitor. Me and him have been doing a lot of shooting drills together, having contests to see who can knock down the most shots.
BHR: Did you know Bradley prior to the Wizards drafting him?
SM: Nope, I just met him after the draft.
BHR: Whats your personal goals for Summer League?
SM: I want to focus on my leadership and make sure I keep talking to guys, making sure they’re in the right positions and continue learning the point guard position. I’m not super-interested in my numbers right now, but more so us getting the wins.
BHR: Stepping into the Summer League for the first time, what are some of your personal expectations?
CS: I would love to average a double-double. I want to make sure I’m focusing in on rebounding and doing the little things to help our team win out there. With last year being a down year, we’re trying to turn things around and make the playoffs so hopefully this is the start of that turnaround.
BHR: You play a different role this week in the fact that you are the veteran, how does that make things different for you?
CS: Stay upbeat and positive. I feel last year I got down on myself a bit, cause I felt like I was underachieving personally, so in the situation I’m in now, as the veteran my job is to step-up, be a leader and lead by example.
BHR: If you had to pinpoint one part of your game that you focused in on during the offseason what would you say that was?
CS: My shooting. Last year my field goal percentage was in the 300.’s and I think my 3-point shooting percentages were almost equal to that (editors note: .372 FG% and 3.46 3PT%). So, I definitely want to improve on that.
BHR: Early-thoughts on Bradley Beal?
CS: He’s laid-back. Obviously as the season progresses the coaches are going to ask more of him, but I’ve been impressed watching him come along so far.
BHR: Any Florida State/Florida trash-talk with you and Beal yet?
CS: I texted him congratulations on draft night but I had to let him know about FSU. Just to remind he’ll FSU will always be above Florida.