[Randy Wittman contemplates the next move.]
You don’t want to infer too much from a single preseason game that you’re not able to watch live and can only follow via box score and play-by-play action. Training camp just started less than a week ago (even if a bunch of guys were training in D.C. up to a week before then). Still, the Wizards faced the Bobcats in Charlotte on Sunday afternoon without John Wall (knee), Nene (feet), Emeka Okafor (rest), Trevor Booker (hamstring), and Jannero Pargo (ribs). Okafor’s last game action was in February with New Orleans, and aside from a dislocated finger about 10 days ago, was presumed to be fully ready. Instead, the Wizards started A.J. Price, Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza, Jan Vesely, and Kevin Seraphin, and although I’ll once again give another reminder that it was just one preseason game, some of the numbers in a 100-86 loss to the Bobcats reflect some of the exact preexisting concerns going into this season.
Positives and Negatives.
Kevin Seraphin’s scoring touch continues. He was 5-for-11 with 11 points at halftime, but didn’t score again after that, missing three shots in the second half (from 10 and 11 feet and one attempt at the rim). He’ll also need more than four rebounds in 28 minutes.
Bradley Beal chipped in 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting off the bench. He went 2-for-4 from deep, got three rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one turnover. Martell Webster also had a strong box score showing with 18 points (6-for-12 FGs, 2-for-5 3Ps, 4-for-5 FTs). If his back ailments are past him, or contained, he could find himself in the top nine of the rotation because of his scoring ability.
Speaking of… Even with a healthy John Wall and Nene, the Wizards will have to rely on Jordan Crawford and Trevor Ariza to produce points. And until Wall comes back, the Wizards are desperate for someone amongst A.J. Price, Pargo and Shelvin Mack to step up.
Price, Crawford and Ariza combined to go 8-for-30 from the field (Crawford 3-for-12), and together totalled 14 turnovers (Ariza had six). Each of these guys feature offensive decision-making issues in their games; getting everyone on the same page won’t be easy. And these are supposed to be the veterans.
Wizards Sophomores: expectations should especially be tempered with the Mack-Singleton-Vesely crew. It’s hard to say how much the 2011 lockout stunted their development versus accelerated it with the fact that each got a lot of time last season, a crash-course in pro basketball experience. Vesely’s numbers show a nose for the ball with seven rebounds in 26 minutes, but also a hand for the foul with six of them to go with his 1-for-5 shooting. Singleton had nine points and nine rebounds (five offensive) to go with his five fouls in 15:18. Mack went 1-for-6 from the field, but dropped seven assists to zero turnovers. The Wizards were 14-to-20 in assist-to-turnover ratio as a team.
After the game, Randy Wittman called it a good learning experience and said that his team didn’t get into much of an up-and-down flow because they kept fouling — the Bobcats outscored the Wizards 32-to-21 in fastbreak points. In his chat with the media last Thursday, Ted Leonsis indicated that minimizing free-throw attempt discrepancy was very high on the list of priorities. In Charlotte, the Wizards went 16-for-21 from the line (Webster went 4-for-5; Ariza and Singleton each went 3-for-4), while the Bobcats went 31-for-46 from the free throw line (Gerald Henderson went 6-for-9, Tyrus Thomas went 6-for-8).
The Wizards next play the New York Knicks in their only preseason appearance at the Verizon Center on Thursday evening at 7:00 PM.
From someone who was actually at the game, the Washington Post’s Michael Lee:
In one of the worst possessions of the game, Crawford dribbled down the clock until their were almost four seconds remaining on the shot clock and fed Jan Vesely in the post. Vesely rushed a jump hook that missed badly, grabbed the offensive rebound and kicked the ball back to Crawford. Crawford fired up a quick baseline jumper and had it rejected by Bobcats forward Tyrus Thomas.
In the second half, Crawford thought Chris Singleton was going to cut to the basket for a layup and fired a pass ahead. Singleton didn’t react until too late and the ball sailed into the front row. On the next trip down, Crawford jumped but was (sic) ready to take a shot and the ball squirted out of his hands.
In addition to stats, we have pretty (or not so pretty) zone shot charts from the Wizards’ top shot-takers (via NBA.com/stats).