Duke's Kyle Singler: What's the Matter?

Mike KlineAnalyst IJanuary 11, 2010

ATLANTA - JANUARY 09:  Kyle Singler #12 of the Duke Blue Devils grabs a rebound against Gani Lawal #31 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on January 9, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Is it me or does it appear that Kyle Singler just doesn't seem like, well, Kyle Singler?

I'm not sure if I'm the only one who has noticed his effectiveness as a player seems to have tailed off this year.

It is not to say he isn't still productive as a player, but the man who was pegged as the preseason ACC player of the year hasn't seemed to have shown up yet.

At the beginning of the year much was made of Singler moving to his more natural position on the perimeter. He had, thus far, spent his first two years in Durham down in the post.

Upon his entry into Duke, Singler was lauded for his multifaceted game. He has proven those assessments were not off the mark.

In a little under two-and-a-half seasons, Singler is averaging about 15 points and 6.8 rebounds.  While it may be expected that moving him to the perimeter might drop his rebounding numbers, his scoring has also dropped.

While the numbers haven't alarmingly dropped off, it appears Singler, for the better part of this season, has been out of sorts. He appears more reluctant to take over games, not a good sign for the teams go-to guy.

Instead, Jon Scheyer has been Mr. Do-It-All for the Blue Devils.

Part of the problem, at least in my opinion, is Singler's reliance on shooting three-pointers. It is often a heated discussion on Duke boards, among fans, and analysts alike. The Blue Devils have, in many years recently, lived and died by the three-pointer.

That isn't necessary with this year’s team, which has three post players 6'10" or taller. Duke, as a whole, has improved in just about every area.

Its defense is better, its offensive efficiency is better, its rebounding and interior defense are definitely better, thanks to the improved size and skill of its interior players.

Yet, Singler has not been better. He seems to be the same player as ever. Which isn't a bad thing, but Duke needs him at his best to be a very good team down the stretch. So far he isn't playing his best.

He shoots too many threes. Not that he is a bad three-point shooter, but he isn't the second coming of JJ Redick.

Singler has always been able to put the ball on the floor, take it to the rim, and have enough strength to finish or at least get a foul. That, to me, is his strength. He doesn't appear to be doing that as much this year, and when he does, he seems hesitant.

There is plenty of time left in the year for Singler to get things worked out.
But against the best competition and tough conference opponents like Georgia Tech, Duke can ill afford to have its most versatile player not being as effective as he can be.

The solution isn't anything  I, or any fan, can just come up with. The coaching staff and Singler will have to work on solving those issues together.

It isn't like Duke is a bad team, or that Singler is a bad player. The reverse of that is more accurate. However, for Duke to be as good as it can be it needs Singler to be as good as he can be.

So far, it just hasn't happened.