Las Vegas Council: Porter and Rice Lead Wizards Over Hawks in Game 1 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Las Vegas Council: Porter and Rice Lead Wizards Over Hawks in Game 1

Updated: July 12, 2014

TAI’s Kyle Weidie and Adam Rubin are once again out in Las Vegas for the NBA Summer League. The Washington Wizards opened their slate on Saturday afternoon with a 90-74 win over the Atlanta Hawks. The coverage starts now…


[photo: K. Weidie]

Optics on Otto.

The optics on Otto Porter in Washington’s first Summer League game could not have been scripted better, even if it actually was scripted. Sam Cassell drew up the first play for Porter and he seamlessly curled around a Daniel Orton screen for a midrange jumper. Atlanta, realizing the Porter would be a focus for Washington, doubled him early in the corners, and Otto made them pay. He used his court vision and length to find cutting teammates, mostly Khem Birch, diving into open lanes—two of Otto’s three assists came in the first quarter.

Offensively, Porter found much of his success in the midrange—the bailiwick of a Randy Wittman offense—and went 11-for-16 from the field overall (he was 1-for-3 from deep and 2-for-3 from the free throw line; screams midrange). Sometimes Porter could be seen starting in the right corner—Trevor Ariza’s corner (formerly)—and sometimes he got a taste of Bradley Beal action coming off screens in the elbow area to then make decisions with the ball. Porter scored 25 points, which is the first time he’s done that in a game since scoring 28 points on March 2, 2013 for Georgetown against Rutgers. The Summer of Otto is off to a good start, hopefully it ends up better than the 2013 Summer of Vesely. It’s just one game in Las Vegas, after all.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

The Rice Report.

It’s not really fair to say Glen Rice, Jr. was disappointing in his opening Summer League game. It’s more accurate to say my expectations were too high. With Trevor Ariza gone to Houston, Martell Webster out for the foreseeable future, and Otto Porter’s 3-point range under question, I was hoping to see more range from the sharpshooting, second-year 2 guard.

Instead, Rice showed off the other offensive skills that earned him success in the D-league—attacking the rim and getting to the foul line with ease.

With an offense built around kick and shoot 3-pointers and a point guard who creates open looks with ease, Ernie Grunfeld will be looking to replace the Ariza/Webster void with shooting, shooting, and more shooting.

Rice’s Summer League play will go a long way toward determining whether Grunfeld must look beyond the current roster to fill the bench scoring role.

If the first game is any indication, Rice is not yet ready to assume the backup shooting guard duties, but the first game is just that—one game. The beauty of Summer League is that Rice gets another shot within 24 hours.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

Other Wizards Leaguers.

The biggest story of the Wizards summer league debut (outside of Otto and Rice) was Daniel Orton. The former Kentucky Wildcat big man is trying to reignite his NBA career after being selected by the Orlando Magic in 2010. Orton’s brief career has been plagued by injuries and ineffectiveness, but Washington’s big-man deficient roster provides an opportunity for Orton to stick. It’s a long shot for sure, but Orton selected Washington’s summer league precisely because of its roster needs.

Orton told me that he was slated to join Memphis’ summer league squad in the Orlando summer league when Washington called and said they wanted to take a look at him. Orton felt the Wizards were a good fit given their needs at center. He said the coaching staff told him all they needed to see in Vegas was rebounding and hustle. He certainly provided that against Atlanta. Orton threw his body around and gobbled up any lose ball in his vicinity.

He even addded two beautiful no look passes for layups. After the second one, which resulted in an Otto Porter layup and audible oohs and aahs from the crowd, assistant coach Al Harrington could only shake his head. And in case you are wondering, Orton did not talk to John Wall about a possible reunion after signing with the summer league squad.

—Adam Rubin (@LedellsPlace)

What Happened: The Game

The Wizards jumped out to a 20-10 lead in the first quarter on the backs of Rice (6 points) and Porter (4 points, 2 assists), and finished up 23-17. Atlanta fought back in the second quarter, outscoring the Wizards 24-12, thanks to eight points from Lamar Patterson and some hot shooting from Stephen Holt. Porter stopped the bleeding late in the half with a semi-uncoordinated but effective runner to keep the Wizards within six points, 35-41. At intermission, Rice had 12 points, mostly due to his relentlessness in attacking, and Porter had seven.

The Wizards came out and dominated the third, 31-18, with Porter scoring 14 points on eight shots; Rice added eight points. And thanks to a flurry of points to start the fourth—a 3 from Jarell Eddie, a reverse layup form Daniel Miller (“Georgia Tech” or “ACC,” as Sam Cassell likes to call him), and the spark-plug point guarding from Deonte Burton and later Kim English—the Wizards effectively put the game away. Just Summer League, but as opposed to last summer, a win for the effort is nice.

—Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

Bullets on Ex-Bullets.

  • Glen Rice is a called “Junior” most of the time, but sometimes simply “G.”
  • Cassell will dole out multiple nicknames to multiple guys at any moment… “Otto Man” is one he seems to like.
  • Khem Birch is an athlete and a finisher. Most of his buckets came from up close; three of his four buckets were assisted and two came from Otto Porter.
  • Jarell Eddie displayed a smooth stroke off the bench, tying Birch for the third most points for the Wizards with eight. At 6-foot-7, he reminds me a lot of a Cartier Martin type of player.
  • “Dunk his ass,” once yelled assistant coach Al Harrington as Glen Rice tried to throw one down on Walter Tavares; it resulted in a hard foul.

 —Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)



[photo: K. Weidie]

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.