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Singleton implementing aggressive approach

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Singleton implementing aggressive approach

Nobody needs to tell Chris Singleton the transition from college to the professional basketball ranks can be a rocky one. Peruse footage from his nightly battles last season against NBA heavyweights for the confidence-shaking proof.

The small forward with a reputation for defense during his days at Florida State went from being an ACC stalwart to an NBA rookie tasked with guarding the likes of point-producing icons Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce. The pair of NBA All-Stars and scores of other league veterans took no pity on the new guy thrust into the starting lineup earlier than desired by the rebuilding and injury-plagued Wizards.

Seven games into last season, Washington hosted Anthony and the Knicks. The Olympian and noted scoring machine torched the locals for 37 points in a winning effort including the go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Much of Anthony's net-singeing exploits came at Singleton's expense.

After that abrupt "Welcome to the NBA" moment, Singleton tangled with Pierce. Without Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen in the lineup, the future Hall of Famer assertively tallied 34 points and 10 assists while directing the Celtics to a victory in Washington. Once again, it was Singleton finding himself on the wrong end of an NBA superstar looking to do harm.

"This is the NBA. I should have known that coming in," Singleton said. "I didn't know they were going to come at me like they did. I think they looked before the game and were like "who's the new kid," saw the "R" besides my name. They brought everything at me.

"I'm glad they did that. I'm ready for whatever."

As it turns out, the next "whatever" involves a battle for playing in a suddenly crowded Wizards frontcourt, particularly at the small forward position. Singleton started 51 games in that spot last season and became the first Washington rookie in 20 seasons to play every regular season game. Despite putting up credible numbers - 4.6 points, 3.5 rebounds while shooting 35 percent from beyond the arc - Singleton harshly graded his first season a "D" shortly before heading off for the summer.

Now, after playing with the Wizards entry in the Las Vegas Summer League, training and taking classes at Florida State, Singleton is ready to prove lessons have been learned.

"I worked on my shot, being a lot more aggressive. That's one thing I tried to showcase in summer league. Every time I step on the court, I try to be the most aggressive player on the court," said the 6-foot-9 Singleton, who described is training camp-ready physique as "more lean now, more fit. I'm still strong like I was last year."

In the rising second-year forward's mind, being more aggressive means not shying away from ball handling duties, that means "I can't let people drive past me."

It also means gearing up for competition on the wing where the Wizards added likely starter Trevor Ariza and 3-point threat Martell Webster. Washington also retained free agent swingman Cartier Martin.

"I embrace it," Singleton said of the preseason tussle for minutes. "The front office did what they said they would, they brought in more players. We're deep at a lot of positions. I think that's going to be good for us, everybody is going to leave everything on the court."

Fellow second-year players Jan Vesely and Shelvin Mack are in similar spots. This is how the pro life works. Singleton knows this now. He's ready to show the kid is wide-eyed no more.

"You got to kill or be killed in this league," said the metaphorically speaking Singleton. "There are only like 400 (NBA players) each year and its constantly rotating, 60 more each year. You have to go out there and play. I think I'm ready to do that."

Now he just has to beat out others on his own team for that opportunity.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

PODCAST: BIGGEST STORYLINES COMING OUT OF ALL-STAR BREAK

Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

RELATED: WIZARDS HAVE BIG QUESTIONS TO ANSWER IN SECOND HALF

Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!