By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
Thunder forward Kyle Singler had a fun afternoon Monday helping school kids pick out something good to read from the Rolling Thunder Book Bus.
“It was awesome,” he told a small group of reporters outside the Baptist Temple Church in northwest Oklahoma City.
“They have a nice setup in the bus for kids to come in and kinda browse and I was just there to help facilitate and maybe make some suggestions.”
Singler is in the Thunder’s “starting lineup” so to speak this week as the team sends players out into the community for book bus events fit clinics and other appearances.
There is of course an opening in the Thunder’s game night starting lineup too and at small forward, his position, but he doesn’t know if a move to a more certain role on the team will help solve the shooting woes he suffered through last season.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’ve had games where I’ve played well off the bench but there is consistency when you’re a starter. You know when you’re gonna get in there, you kinda know the minutes you’ll be playing so there is comfort in that but I can go either way, starting or coming off the bench.”
Last season Singler didn’t get consistent playing time and his stats sank to the lowest levels of his career in scoring (3.7 points per game), 3-point shooting (30.9 percent) and free throw percentage (65.9 percent).
For his career Singler is averaging 7.1 points, on 42.0 percent shooting overall and 37.0 percent on threes. During three seasons in Detroit he averaged 8.7 points on 42.9 percent shooting overall and 37.9 percent from deep.
He also averaged 27.1 minutes per game for the Pistons in a mostly starting role but just 15.2 in OKC as a backup.
That decreased playing time and the uncertainty of when, or if, he’d get into games likely played a role in his struggles. Singler didn’t blame lack of playing time though preferring instead to say “just rhythm. There were games where I felt I just didn’t perform the way I wanted to.”
So Singler went into the summer determined to make sure he worked on every part of his game.
“I wanted to have a productive and great summer and I think I’ve done that. I’ve prepared and I’m excited to see the work pay off.”
He’s spent most of his time in Oklahoma City working at the Thunder’s practice facility. He spent a couple weeks RVing out to Yellowstone National Park but that’s been about it as far as a vacation is concerned.
He’s also had a chance to meet and workout with and get to know new teammates Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and Domantas Sabonis.
“It’s important it shortens the time you have to do it in training camp. You get a better feel for the types of things players like to do, tendencies so when you’re out there on the court together you have a better connection.”
He’s excited about the possibilities with this season’s version of the Thunder. Yes there’s no Kevin Durant and no Serge Ibaka but the guys who are returning and the guys who’ve been brought in can become a pretty exciting group to watch.
“Having a fresh start or a new team isn’t new to me but this is exciting. It’s a team that I believe in, that can win. We have great guys, guys that wanna work and compete and win so ultimately it’s a good squad.”
Just how good is the big mystery. The Thunder will officially open training camp on September 24th and that’s when the first clues about the team’s new direction will begin to be revealed.