The Reaction: Wizards Summer League Game 2: Wiz Kids Bounce Back
The Wizards summer leaguers must have gotten their proper rest after a weary effort in game one on Friday, because they looked more than solid against the Houston Rockets on Saturday in a 76-70 win that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. This is the TAI Reaction…
[PARENTAL ADVISORY: ICE CUBE IS PRONE TO PROFANITY]
Hard to determine who stood out more than others — several Wiz Kids had shine-time while each made their share of mistakes. Plus, this game had its fair share of garbage play; the Wizards led, 63-44, after three quarters and pushed their lead to 25 in the fourth before the Rockets made a run to lose by just six. But, I won’t hesitate too much in nominating Bradley Beal as the MVP, again. He missed too many free-throws for comfort, attributing his 5-for-10 effort to lack of focus after the game. But if you’re simply considering attempts, Sam Cassell was pleased: “He’s getting 10 free throws a night. If he continues that, I’m pretty sure our whole staff will be happy with that.”
He led the Wizards in scoring, again, with 14 points on 4-for-10 shooting. Clearly his offensive feel is developing, but with everything else he does on the court, Beal continues to prove that he’s the anti-Nick Young. Need an offensive rebound and put-back? Beal’s got ya (he had five boards). What about a no-look pass to big Garret Siler for a dunk? Brad’s got that covered, too (he finished with four assists, with three coming early in the first).
Nick Young may have said something like this before, but he surely didn’t mean it — Beal on how being a playmaker early in the game felt:
“It always [feels good], because either I can score for myself or somebody else is open, and they can knock down the shots. It’s always fun to be in that position, to be able to create for yourself and to be able to create for your teammates as well.”
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
The Wizards defense. During the regular season, if the second team gives a less than stellar effort on defense, the coach is able to save them from embarrassment by subbing them out of the game in favor of starters. In summer league play, the backups aren’t that fortunate, because they are trying with all their might to make a lasting impression. The Wizards’ second unit allowed the Houston Rockets (led by Terrence Jones and Jeremy Lamb) to out-score the them 26-13 in the fourth quarter, which made the game closer and way more interesting than it should have been. Maybe Sam Cassell let his foot off the gas from a coaching standpoint, or maybe the disparity in talent between Lamb and Jones and the Wizards backups is just that large. But for summer leaguers who have NBA roster aspirations, there’s no excuse for an effort like that on the defensive end of the floor.
—Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)
“Saty” Satoransky, clearly (11 points off the bench). As seen, his two dunks — one in Jeremy Lamb’s grill (he shouldn’t have jumped), and one an oop catch from Steven Gray — were impressive. After the game, Beal said that on the first day of mini-camp, Satoransky did a windmill dunk without even warming up, and that was enough to impress him with his athleticism. But Saty’s confidence was even more impressive. His first points of the game came late in the first quarter. He pushed the ball on the break, the defense sagged back, and he smoothly stepped in to an jumper from the left elbow. Satoransky still gets too careless with the ball at times, but there’s certainly a lot more to his game than most figured.
Bonus X-Factor: I got on Garret Siler for his huffing-and-puffing play on Friday, but on Saturday, he turned that big body of his into a force. In just 13.5 minutes off the bench, Siler scored six points, grabbed six rebounds, dished two assists, and blocked three shots. Is Vegas on a fault line or did the baseline shake when he dunked? Probably a bit of both.
—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)
That was … a hell of a bounce-back game.
Yesterday, as TAI’s Adam McGinnis noted, Shelvin Mack and Tomas Satoransky were less than impressive. Mack, as he frequently demonstrated during the regular season, struggled with his ball-handling and never displayed the type of comfort with the offense that a backup point should. Satoransky looked like a typical rookie in moments: hurried, rushes and totally flustered. Against Houston, Mack was aggressive with his shot, he got his teammates involved, and he confidently ran the Wizards offense. Satoransky made errant passes here and there, but he looked much more confident with his ball-handling, and he found his scoring touch to the tune of 11 points. Neither player will be a threat to John Wall’s starting job anytime soon, but the baby steps they both took after Friday night is definitely worth noting.