[Rodrigue Beaubois stands annoyed after another foul was called on him.]
Before the game I ran my mouth off to just about anyone who would listen at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion that I was intrigued by the Roddy-Wall match-up, clearly, a Samhan-McGee ‘opposites attract’ battle, and finally, perhaps Hamady N’diaye versus Moussa Seck in a Senegalese throw down.
Well, Beaubois couldn’t do anything but foul Wall and was switched off him, the newly acquired Ian Mahinmi started for Dallas and mostly guarded JaVale, and Seck didn’t even see the court. Damn the summer league (just kidding, I love you).
Two things are below: 1) quick post-game chats with John Wall, Rodrigue Beaubois and Dominique Jones in video form; and 2) the second piece by Arish Narayen, a contributor to Truth About It. Arish previously broke down the Wizards’ small forward situation. Here he takes a look at summer league game three against the Mavericks.
Post Game 3:
Wizards vs. Mavericks, Summer League Game 3: Get That Man A Contract
by Arish Narayen
Cartier Martin scored a team-high 23 points, John Wall did his best Kobe impression (21 points, 4-19 FG 13-15 FT, seven rebounds, 10 assists), and the Washington Wizards beat the Dallas Mavericks 88-82 on Thursday night.
The highly anticipated Summer League match-up between Rodrigue “Roddy Buckets” Beaubois and John Wall was a bit anti-climactic – Beaubois played less than 16 minutes, accounting for zero points, three turnovers, and five fouls. Wall took Beaubois out of his game early by making him work on defense, drawing five fouls on him in nine minutes. At one point, Roddy’s frustrated body language was palpable immediately after Wall drew two cheap fouls on Beaubois on two consecutive possessions. Shortly after that sequence, Dallas opted to play Beaubois on somebody other than Wall, and took the ball out of his hands on offense, letting a combination of Dominique Jones and Jeremy Lin run the point. Somewhere, Dallas fans are worried about Roddy B.
The Wall vs Beaubois sequence typified the entire game, as Wall consistently beat his man off the dribble and either created opportunities for teammates or got to the free throw line. He also cut down on his turnovers (three on Thursday after averaging eight through the first two games) while remaining aggressive, which shows that he’s already making adjustments and learning from his mistakes.
However, it wasn’t all perfect with Wall. After Dallas put the bigger Dominique Jones on him, he had a little bit of difficulty and couldn’t repeatedly dribble past or shoot over the more physical defender like he did Beaubois. However, after the game, Wall insisted that he didn’t change his offensive approach after Beaubois was off him:
“Nah, I didn’t change it up, I knew he [Jones] was going to be a physical guy, you know…that’s an aspect you gotta get stronger and everything like that. But I just kept trying to find my teammates and run the team.”
That last sentence is particularly telling, and it really speaks to how awesome of a point guard Wall is going to be. During the first half, he air-balled a jump-shot from the elbow. He shot 4-19 for the game, but attempted more free-throws (15) than anyone else. The most encouraging part: Wall didn’t get flustered because of errant shots; he kept drawing fouls and dishing out dimes. And clearly, as he gets more and more reps against NBA defenses, Wall’s shot will become more consistent.
In general, Wall had trouble defending Jeremy Lin and Dominique Jones off pick & rolls, opting to go under the screens rather than staying on his man’s hip. This led to some easy buckets for Dallas, poor decision-making on D allowed Lin to score 11 points in the fourth quarter. Like a more consistent jumper, learning how to properly defend the pick & roll will come with time (and is an area where Kirk Hinrich’s tutelage will be useful).
I can’t talk about Wall without mentioning JaVale McGee’s performance. Wall consistently found McGee around the rim. What I found most impressive was Wall’s ability to repeatedly lob the ball into the post in such a way that JaVale (18 points, 9-10 FGs) had a relatively clear path to the basket. While the Wall/McGee chemistry was very encouraging, as Mike Prada of Bullets Forever rightly points out, Dallas had nobody who could defend JaVale.
The real story of the game was Cartier Martin. His ability to move without the ball, find the opening in the defense, and spot-up for quality shots was impressive. Martin played a major part in putting the Wizards ahead early (they scored 15 straight points to start the game), as he scored 11 points in the first quarter. In the end, Martin led the team in scoring with 23 points.
Martin is making a strong case for a roster spot alongside Al Thornton at small forward, as his Summer League performances have become impossible to ignore. But more importantly is how Martin’s particular skill-set fits within the Wizards’ offense. The Wizards’ offensive plan seems to be predicated on Wall driving into the lane (via P&R or simply beating his man) and either taking it to the hoop, dropping the ball off in the post, or kicking it out to open guys on the perimeter.
While the starting unit can likely execute this offensive game plan effectively with Wall / Arenas / Blatche / McGee, it’s the bench that needs help with execution. Someone other than Nick Young has to be able to contribute. Intuitively, Wizards’ fans know this: the Wizards’ reserves have been abysmal for a few years now, offering inconsistent scoring and lackadaisical defense. Taking his Summer League performances with a grain of salt, Martin could provide depth as a decent scoring option behind Al Thornton. For a team looking to rebuild around inexpensive, young players with some upside, Cartier Martin deserves a chance.
Ernie Grunfeld needs to get this man a contract. And please, for the love of God, do not sign Adam Morrison.