Eric J. Russell, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON - As the initial buzz surrounding the Wizards' 2012 draft selections begins to fade, the draft class that preceded Bradley Beal and Tomas Satoransky is showing an increased focus leading up to the Wizards' summer league in Las Vegas.
After two days of summer minicamp, head coach Randy Wittman is encouraged by the play he's seen from Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely. From Vesely's confidence shooting the ball to Singleton's effort, Wittman believes both are ready to take their games to another level.
"It's got to become a situation where playing time is rewarded," Wittman says. "I worry that sometimes when you're in a situation with young guys … in their minds they think, 'Hey I know I'm going to play.'"
Wittman adds that Vesely has taken strides to improve his shooting from the perimeter, which is an area where the coach says he's been trying to get the nearly 7-foot Vesely more comfortable.
"You're never going to improve your shot if you don't take the shot," Wittman says. "He has got to have the confidence to let it fly and he has done that in these sessions. He has to now do that in Vegas."
Singleton and Vesely were both thrust into roles as key contributors in terms of minutes last season, averaging 21.7 and 18.9 minutes, respectively. With the offseason addition of Trevor Ariza, Singleton is expecting to split floor time with the eight-year veteran.
Ariza averaged 10.8 points for the Hornets last season. But Singleton has been preparing for the competition.
"I've worked hard this summer and I'm going to continue to work hard this summer," Singleton says. "I think the three (small forward position) is open for me and Ariza and I want to fight for it."
Singleton is off to a good start early, according to his head coach. The effort he's put forth in the first few practices has impressed Wittman.
"Chris had the best practice I've seen him have since he has been here," Wittman says of Singleton's performance Tuesday.
The positive attitudes of the second-year players are another step in the Wizards' approach toward turning the team around and becoming a contender in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
"We're trying to make the playoffs, that's my goal," Singleton says.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)