James Singleton Q&A after signing

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James Singleton has heard the comparison plenty this summer: He’s this year’s Brandon Bass. Nice words, to be sure, but perhaps it’s a good idea to tap on the brakes just a bit.

Not to say that both Singleton and Bass have a thing or two in common. Neither had the best Draft experience – Singleton wasn’t picked and Bass, the SEC Player of the Year out of LSU, went in the second round. Both spent two years with the same team to open their NBA careers, only to leave without fanfare.

But the road for Singleton has taken a few extra turns. Bass did stick in the league at first, though he played a bit role with the Hornets before the Mavericks came calling last summer. Singleton, a Murray State product via community college, took his show to Italy for two years before landing with the Clippers.

His stint with the Clips wasn’t too memorable – averages of 2.6 points and 2.7 boards – so it was back to Europe. He ended up winning a title in Spain last season (TAU Cerámica) and winning a few more NBA fans … at least among general managers.

Not giving up on his basketball dream, Singleton returned home with the goal of making it stick in the NBA. He’s cleared one hurdle by signing with the Mavs, who were in the market for untapped potential. In other words, another Bass. He’s currently making his Mavs’ debut with the summer league team.

Singleton, who turns 27 on Sunday, isn’t the same wrecking ball as Bass. He’s a 6-foot-8, 230-pounder who can fill in some at power forward in pinch, but is best suited to play on the wing. President of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said his defense, especially against high-scoring swingmen like Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady, sold the Mavs on Singleton.

Now it’s up to Singleton to make it work.

Mavs.com: How does it feel to be back in the NBA? James Singleton: It feels good to be able to come back home and play. I want to learn as much as I can and bring things to the club that they didn’t have before.

MC: Were there several teams interested? JS: I got back around June and my agent wanted me to start workouts and adjust to being back at home. The first week I was with Dallas and I had a good workout here. The club is really happy with me.

MC: Talk about this chance with the Mavs. JS: It’s a good opportunity. I’m here trying to learn the system. Coach Carlisle and his coaching staff are great teachers. I’m learning day by day. I’ve been out of the league, but I haven’t been out of the league. I haven’t lost or forgotten anything. I just have to keep the same intensity I had when I played for the Clippers.

MC: What happened with the Clippers? JS: I don’t know. It wasn’t up to me. I just did what I was told. I’m not the type of guy to go around complaining. If the coach needs me I’m always going to be there.

MC: Describe your game for Mavs fans who haven’t seen you play. JS: I do the little things. If you need an extra possession or you need to guard a bigger 3 or a more agile 4 or if you need a guy to switch on a point guard on a pick-and-roll, I can do it. In the West we have some great guards in Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant – I’m able to switch out on those guys and give the team versatility in different areas.

When I was with the Clippers, I was one of those players who would get film and go home and study a player. I don’t want to be the guy coming off the bench that doesn’t know what’s going on, on the court. I’m sitting down and learning everything. I analyze my teammates; I analyze the other players, so I analyze everybody.

MC: Some have compared you to Eddie Najera, which is a good thing in these parts. JS: I’m not afraid to take a charge, and I’m not afraid to get in there and get scrappy. Every team has one or two guys that do that. I think I can bring that to this team. I’m just trying to fit in with everybody. This team has a lot of experienced veterans, and I hope to learn from all of them. We also have a good coach and a good staff so I’m just eager for the opportunity.

MC: There’s a lot of depth at your position with Josh Howard, Gerald Green and so on. Playing time isn’t just going to be handed out. JS: I never expect anything to be given to me. I’m going to work hard for everything that I get. I’m not going to expect any free handouts. If he just wants me to just get in the game for one play to play defense that could possible help us win the game, then I’ll do it.