The Week in Wizards, the basketball team ones – Oct. 21, 2013
The week that was and the week that is in Washington Wizards, #SoWizards, and pixels otherwise — mostly to do with basketball.
[A game-saving block by Anthony Davis on Bradley Beal at Rupp.]
The obvious good news: no Wizard got hurt last week, as the team returned from Brazil and played three more preseason games, winning one against the Miami Heat. Eric Maynor missed the game against Miami nursing a sore Achilles. Garrett Temple sat the game against New York out with an arm infection. The team is being extra, extra cautious. (Did we say extra?) Trevor Booker has actually become un-hurt in the past week-plus, making his debut a week prior to this past Saturday against the Bulls in Brazil. Booker has put a hurting on opponents with his mini-Charles Oakley-like play and improved post moves, but his jump shot confidence and free throw form still looks suspect, and he curiously got fewer minutes on Saturday in Kentucky.
Those already out of action continue to be out, however. Chris Singleton, spending some time sans boot and shooting flat-footed shots in South America, was still getting around on one of those single-hook canes in Baltimore. Expectations surrounding Otto Porter are getting ghosted by the day. Are the constant injuries just a bump in the road that will make him stronger, will this hip flexor thing (which he says still hurts him and is getting reassessed on Monday/today, or not) become more serious, or will Porter’s talent eventually make a lingering situation easy to forget. Either way, not a memorable start for the lucky lottery Hoya. Then there’s Emeka Okafor, distant from the team and recovering from a herniated disk in his neck in New York. If he were at all close to coming back from indefinite injury, he’d be closer to his teammates and their preparation for the season. Part of my intuition has been to expect Okafor back before the end of December. There are those with the organization who are preparing for it to be much longer.
There are positive pixels to report, amongst regular pixels. Bradley Beal has been amazing, and not just ‘preseason amazing’ (not when you’re making crazy jump shots). Beal in his last three preseason games: 94 minutes, 80 points, 30-51 FGs (58.8%), 10-21 3Ps, 10-11 FTs, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 3 steals, and 10 turnovers. John Wall has been … just enough. You can see that Wall is really trying to make Randy Wittman’s offense run — Beal has benefitted a ton — and the fourth-year point guard continues to show learning progression in his search for balance and pace. Martell Webster looks like he will be OK, Trevor Ariza could be counted on to better snap into it come real games, and a focused and motivated Nene will probably be a positive difference. (Keywords: focused and motivated, which with Nene sometimes appear to be as indeterminate as Okafor’s neck injury.]
Al Harrington has been a pleasant surprise and has been mentioned in the same sentence as starting (but says he prefers coming off the bench), and Glen Rice will have his rookie ups-and-downs but likely more ups. Kevin Seraphin is flatlining thus far, Jan Vesely can rebound and exert energy but isn’t much else aside from spastic otherwise, Eric Maynor is desperate to find comfort in the offense and is getting watched by the buzzards and vultures of pixel opinion in the desert, and Josh Childress has not had the time to do much.
The Wizards will play back-to-back contests on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week versus the Pistons and Cavaliers respectively (in Detroit and in Cincinnati), two likely competitors for those final playoffs spots in the East. That will conclude the preseason slate. Washington will return to The Palace at Auburn Hills in Michigan exactly a week from Wednesday on October 30, 2013 to begin the regular season dance. Then, jobs and reputations will be on the line. Six out of 10 TAIers are predicting playoffs for the Wiz Kids; average total wins prediction: 39.3.
“So obviously, not to name names or whatever but all that garbage is out and now it’s a new regime.”
–Al Harrington on new Wizards versus old Wizards, via the Washington Post