REAX Game 2: For Want of a Rebound the Game was Lost. Wizards Fall to Knickerbockers, 69-82
[The Wizards fell to the Knicks, 82-69, in their second summer league contest. The TAI crew—Sean Fagan, Rashad Mobley, Conor Dirks, and Adam Rubin—provides the reaction.]
That was … weak.
LAS VEGAS — If I wanted to watch people get thrown around like rag dolls, I would have booked a ticket to whichever UFC event was playing in town. Instead, I got to watch the Wizards get punked by the Knicks’ front court. Jeremy Tyler led the way in the beatdown by smack-talking the Wizards out of the game, getting in a dustup with Chris Singleton and feasting on the Wizards’ horrible transition defense. Part of the problem is the structure of Washington’s Summer League roster in that they don’t have any viable, real bigs to play for any prolonged period of time and the necessity of starting Jan Vesely at center. Vesely, however, can’t be held accountable for the fact that Singleton look tuned out and Otto Porter doesn’t have the strength developed yet to retain rebounds.
If the hoary old chestnut that the NBA is a “man’s game” then that certainly proved true today, because this resembled a varsity/JV scrimmage in high school.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
The mini-Vesely takeover. As Phil Chenier and Steve Buckhantz alluded to several times during today’s game, the summer league is about gaining confidence, and no one needs a larger dosage of that than Jan Vesely. Even more impressive than his double-double in 28 minutes of play (10 points, 10 rebounds), was his stretch of aggressive play from the 7:29 to the 5:59 mark of the fourth quarter. He tapped in an alley-oop with his left hand while off balance, he had a more traditional tap-in with his right hand, he got his hand on some of the Knicks’ passes, and he even hit a fadeaway jumper to boot. Unfortunately, his short stretch of brilliance was not enough to influence the final outcome of the game, but if I’m the Wizards coaching staff, I’m looping that stretch over and over again, and telling Jan that type of play—along with his shot-blocking from the first Summer League game—is the key to extended minutes next season.
—Rashad Mobley (@rashad20)
Jan Vesely. The Wizards shot 35 percent, were out-rebounded 51-34, and lost badly to the Knicks. With all that said, I still don’t mind crowning Jan Vesely with MVP honors. Jan was the only player on either team to record a double-double on the day (10 points, 10 rebounds) and personally collected nearly 30 percent of the Wizards’ total rebounds. Maybe even more impressively, Jan committed only four fouls despite his trademark defensive “activity.” Four fouls is not an outrageous amount of fouls. Usually, Jan commits an outrageous amount of fouls. Another “mythbuster” moment came early in the first quarter, when Jan knocked down two (2) free throws, back to back. Add in a block, two steals, and a few “little things” like taking a charge under the hoop and getting back quickly on defense, and this was borderline encouraging performance for Vesely in a discouraging game for most of his teammates. He’s not the King of the Desert yet, but he’s officially on his Las Vegas grind.
—Conor Dirks (@ConorDDirks)
LAS VEGAS – Otto Porter, Jr. No, its not time to push the atomic panic button just yet, but the Otto Porter the Wizards thought they had drafted has yet to arrive in Vegas. Porter’s stat line was deceptive in that he looked productive, but he spent most of the game getting tossed around by the Knicks bigs and was in the process of getting torched by Tim Hardaway Jr. before Hardaway injured his hand. At this point, the weaknesses in Porter’s game are much more apparent than his strengths.
Most worryingly is the “Antawn Jamisoniness” of his game. For the second consecutive day he relied on weird floaters in the paint rather than attempting to finish at the rim. Unlike Jamison, Porter doesn’t possess the craftiness (yet) to make that part of his game work. Nor can one be pleased with the “Nick Youngitis” of fading back on jumpers rather than catching and shooting. Many of these issues are going to be solved when he finally gets the chance to work with a real point guard and not a group of third raters who can’t get him the ball where he wants it. The problem is that at this moment, however brief it is, Porter looks like a rotation player rather a foundation piece.
—Sean Fagan (@McCarrick)
LAS VEGAS – Marquez Haynes. Sundiata Gaines was awful in the Summer League opener and his poor play did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff. Gaines was replaced by Haynes in the starting lineup vs. New York and he took advantage of the opportunity. Haynes played 22 minutes, shot 5-for-7 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3 for 13 points. Imagine what Washington’s shooting percentages (35.1 FG%, 17.4 3P%) would have been without him.
Runner-up: Tim Hardaway, Jr. Hardaway only played 10 minutes, but those minutes were electrifying. Hardaway looked to drive whenever he had the ball and he got into the paint with ease. If Herb Williams had given him more minutes the game would not have been as close as it was.
—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)
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