Who’s the backup point guard?


Is Singletary poised to grab the backup point guard role from Dragic? (AP/Paul Beaty)

Is Dragic losing his grip on the backup point guard role? (AP/Paul Beaty)

We all know the Suns picked a point guard in the second round to be their point guard of the future and backup point guard of the present, but three spots earlier the Kings selected a point guard who wound up in Phoenix and thus far has only been known only as the guy who gets in when the game is over.

But with Nash and Barbosa out, Sean Singletary got his first significant minutes Friday in Sacramento and played reasonably well at times, hitting a clutch 3 in the corner in the fourth as part of a five-point, five-rebound effort in 23 minutes.

Both Singletary and more heralded backup point guard Goran Dragic put up similar stat lines, each shooting 2-for-7, while Dragic scored five points, grabbed four rebounds, dished four assists and recorded three steals.

Dragic logged 30 minutes in his first career start, but with the Suns clinging to a three-point lead with a minute left in regulation, head coach Terry Porter substituted in Singletary and left him in for the balance of overtime.

As strange as it was seeing a garbage player leading the offense in overtime, Singletary even had the cojones to shoot an open jumper at the top of the key with a two-point lead and 21 seconds left after faking a defender. It was the right shot to take, especially as Dragic often passes up open shots trying to create something, but he missed badly.

The rookie point guard on the whole didn’t look quite like the brash senior who single-handedly beat my Wildcats in McKale Center last year after calling out U of A for being soft the year before, prompting UA coaches to post his quote to their players’ locker before last year’s game.

Singletary

Sean Singletary

Having watched him smoke Arizona four times while I was a student, I think Singletary has the skills and attitude to be a player in this league, even at 6-foot even. He was a three-time All-ACC first-team performer, no small honor playing for a mediocre school in a great league, and even had his jersey retired at Virgina before he had even left campus.

I wonder if Nash’s suspension may have turned Friday’s contest into a one-game audition for Singletary to prove he deserves backup point guard minutes.

Dragic has looked like a rookie point guard, showing bursts of ability at times but on the whole too much inconsistency and passiveness. Overall Dragic has averaged 3.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 16 minutes per game.

In Sacramento, head coach Terry Porter told Suns.com that Dragic looked “a little tired down the stretch” and that he thought the rookie “played decent” in his first career start.

But I’m sure Raja felt tired after playing 44 minutes in regulation, Grant Hill felt tired after playing 40 and Shaq certainly felt tired after 38 minutes of regulation, and I know there was never a thought of taking them out for the last guy on the bench.

Porter felt playing Singletary in overtime gave the Suns their best chance to win a basketball game in Sacramento, just like he did playing the Suns’ regulars.

If Singletary gets his sea legs in the NBA, maybe he will start to see some of the minutes Dragic has thus far backing up Nash.