On Monday, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler spoke during an appearance at The Baptist Temple Church in Northwest Oklahoma City.
"Improvement," Singler said when asked about what he is looking forward to in the '16-'17 Thunder season. “I don't feel like I have to prove anything to anyone but myself.”
Singler is coming off a year in which he averaged career lows in points per game (3.7), 3-point percentage (30.9) and free throw percentage (65.9). With Durant gone, now Singler has a chance to re-write his story in OKC, compete for more minutes at small forward, possibly even a starting spot, and he sounds ready to make the leap to something bigger than role player.
The Oklahoman’s Erik Horne, in his first season on the Thunder beat, was able to get quite a bit of interesting behind-the-scenes information in conversation with Singler.
“You have to put in the work,” Singler said about the off-season workouts in August; he and eight or nine Thunder players spent time in Los Angeles with coach Billy Donovan. “It's just neat to have a location where guys can come out and be together.”
The Thunder will have six new faces on the roster this season: guards Alex Abrines, Victor Oladipo, Ronnie Price and forwards Joffrey Lauvergne, Ersan Ilyasova, Domantas Sabonis.
Team chemistry will take some time in the early weeks of the season to balance out, but it doesn't hurt that the guys are already willing to do what is necessary to develop a mutual trust and friendship between each other. The group out west also took time to learn each other's tendencies and preferences during some pickup games.
“There were games where I just felt like I didn't perform the way I wanted to,” Singler said. “Knowing that, I wanted to have a productive and great summer. I (think) I've done that. I'm excited to see the work pay off.”
Singler said he's unsure whether he needs to start or come off the bench in order to play better, only that he needs to regain his rhythm. Kyle Singler's play this season will be heavily scrutinized, as he is a player who was not expected to be a catalyst, but may very well end up being one.