When Real Madrid’s brief affair with Rudy Fernandez ended with the dissolution of the NBA player lockout, Los Blancos looked to up-and-coming Detroit Pistons draft pick Kyle Singler to fill the Denver Nugget’s Nikes. While still adapting to Pablo Laso’s system, Singler has not disappointed thus far and has shown steady improvement through the end of last year into 2012. The Spanish-language blog Sentimiento Amarillo y Naranja today runs a piece detailing the progress of the former Duke Blue Devil in Spain and Euroleague play; an extrapolation follows.
Kyle Singler landed at Real Madrid after the departure of Rudy Fernandez, who had played the first 10 league games with Los Blancos, back to the NBA after the player lockout ended. The Real brain trust then decided to spring for the Real Madrid forward who until then had played the start of the 2011-12 season with Lucentum Alicante, contributing great performances and helping Alicante to stand firm in the top positions in the Liga Endesa.
As an athletic wing player with good physical abilities and great individual technique, Singler met the necessary criteria to substitute for Fernandez. Head coach Pablo Laso bet big on him, and Singler is gradually achieving a greater role in winning the team game. Madrid has a large staff, and it’s not easy for a newcomer to break into the team, but with hard work and commitment, Singler is improving his contribution within the team – something all his teammates are beginning to notice.
Singler debuted for Madrid in week 11 of the ACB season against Asefa Estudiantes, scoring his first five points for the Whites in 12 minutes. From that moment, he began to see more playing time, gradually seeing his minutes increase to about 20 per game; his work has proportionally grown in scoring, though with Madrid, Singler has not quite reached the numbers he achieved with Alicante. His 10 points last Sunday at Fuenlabrada was his high with Real Madrid in Spain, although in Euroleague games against Anadolu Efes and Unicaja Malaga, the new Madridista went for 12 and 13 points, respectively. His averages with Los Blancos include 5.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.75 assists in 17.5 minutes per game.
Beyond numbers, Singler’s real contributions to Real Madrid translates are in the intangibles of trust. Laso trusts him, and in recent games Singler has been a fixture on the floor late. The rotation allows Singler to team with Carlos Suárez, thus giving Los Blancos two tall and strong bodies able to shoot from outside while also cleaning up off the glass.
Singler is doing well in team play, providing safety and strength on D. His physical condition allows him to defend smaller players as well as bigs, with his ability to work his height and intensity against 2s and 3s. He makes few mental and physical errors, for which his team is grateful. Moreover, his technical proficiency makes him a great option on the fast break, the main feature of the Madrid game in 2011-12. In short, Singler is growing in importance within the team, and his numbers are slowly improving as he makes his presence more obvious.
What can Real expect of Singler for the remainder of the season? For now, Laso’s player has managed to adapt to his role within the template, i.e. in the starting forward role in rotation with Suarez. The team must expect an increase in scoring from Singler, as his confidence increases and he more completely adapts within the team. Singler must offer a greater number of shots, especially from outside, and to support Jaycee Carroll’s contribution from the perimeter. Singler is able to score threes, and should be exploited much more in this area. Most importantly, Madrid must keep working with Singler to keep him on his current path of success.