Las Vegas Council: Wizards Wake Up Late to Advance in NBA Summer League Tourney | Wizards Blog Truth About

Las Vegas Council: Wizards Wake Up Late to Advance in NBA Summer League Tourney

Updated: July 18, 2014

Rashad Mobley, from back in the District, and Kyle Weidie, also back in the District after returning from Las Vegas on the redeye Wednesday morning, break down the Wizards’ fourth game in Las Vegas, a 78-67 win over the Miami Heat in the first round of the big NBA Summer League dance. Leggo…

[Otto P. to the bench for rest -- photo: K. Weidie]

[Otto P. to the bench for rest — photo: K. Weidie]

Optics on Otto.

Worth repeating: the biggest takeaway from Otto Porter’s 2014 summer league experience will be his display of confidence—his ‘miles away swagger‘ noted by Sam Cassell. NBA TV picked up some sound on the slightly matured and more talkative Simba: Otto hits a J, says, “Nobody going to block that,” to no one in particular but totally to his defender—granted, it was the 6-foot-4 Tyler Johnson in this particular instance.

Worth remembering: Otto still has a long way to go; pounds and pounds need to be added to his frame. His drives to the basket are still weak, even if well-intentioned. Otto is just 8-for-11 on free throws over four summer league games while Glen Rice is 32-for-44. But Otto’s willingness to pass (and see over defenders), attentiveness on defense (you won’t see Otto not contesting shots), and ability to hit open shots will earn him plenty of chances this season. Don’t be surprised to see Otto appear as one of the first two players off the bench in the early going, even if he stumbles sometimes, in order to accelerate his growth and to preserve Paul Pierce for the long run.

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

STATS on Otto: 14 points, 5-10 FGs, 2-3 3Ps, 2-2 FTs, 6 rebounds, 0 asts, 2 stls, 0 TOs

The Rice Report.

On Tuesday night when the Heat and the Wizards played, Glen Rice scored 16 points on a blistering 6-for-7 shooting in the first quarter, but only scored eight points on 2-for-7 shooting the remainder of the game. The Wizards were still victorious, but the second half—especially the fourth quarter—was a struggle because Rice was not as engaged and let himself get frustrated by referee whistles against him.

On Thursday night against the Heat, Rice did not get off to a quick start, and at no point was he able to establish a rhythm from the outside. Instead, as David Aldridge pointed out several times during the television broadcast, Rice was a bull in and around the lane. He consistently drove, absorbed the punishment, displayed enough body control to get his shot off, and got to the free throw line (where he converted just 8-of-13). Aldridge made a comment that Shabazz Napier will eventually learn how to be an effective player when his shot isn’t falling. With every offensive possession, Rice was providing the blueprint—albeit, one Napier may never be able to match given his smaller, 6-foot-1 frame.

When Rice wasn’t scoring in the lane or from the free throw line, he was finding time to grab 10 rebounds—all on the defensive end. His most impactful rebound of the night was at the 1:38 mark of the fourth quarter, when the Wizards were trailing by one point. Rice grabbed the board after James Nunnally’s missed jumper and went coast-to-coast. Of course he drew a foul, made the basket, and converted the free throw to put the Wizards up two, 69-67.

Rice still has body language issues, which figure to disappear once he’s relegated to the bench as the ninth or tenth man off the bench during the regular season. Still, it cannot make Sam Cassell happy that Rice has the tendency to sulk or argue with the refs instead of getting back on defense after he misses a shot. On another occasion, after Charles Garcia accidentally interfered with one of Rice’s shots that looked to be going through the cylinder, Rice demonstratively berated Garcia as they ran back up the court. Not exactly the type of behavior a leader (even in the Summer League) should be showing.

Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

STATS on Glen: 22 pts, 7-14 FGs, 0-3 3Ps, 8-13 FTs, 10 rebs, 1 blk, 1 stl, 1 ast, 3 TOs

Other Wizards Leaguers.

Daniel Theis was the best player on the floor for the Wizards not named Glen Rice. He contested shots on defense, he blocked four attempts, he kept offensive possessions alive, and he ended Miami’s possessions with defensive rebounds. He finished with 10 points and 11 boards, and he impressed Bradley Beal with this block (even though Beal didn’t even know his name). As Aldridge observed, “Theis may not make this [Wizards] roster, but he will be getting a paycheck from someone this season.”

During a two-minute stretch midway through the second quarter, Theis had two blocks (one on Napier), two free throws, and an assist to go along with his tireless hustle.

Kwame Vaughn waited until Glen Rice and Otto Porter were on the bench before he put his imprint on the game. He scored six of his eight points in the fourth quarter, and he was able to fluidly run the offense after the WIzards (and the Heat) looked out-of-sync and ragged during the first three quarters. He finished with eight points and four assists in 14 minutes.

Daniel Orton continues to demonstrate why he’s not NBA material. His defensive rotations were two steps slow, as were his offensive moves to the basket. He had no trips to the foul line in 12 minutes, and he was called for a foolish technical foul in the second quarter, which caused assistant coach Al Harrington to promptly take a seat right next to Orton after he was taken out the game. Not a good night for the big man.

Rashad Mobley (@Rashad20)

What Happened: The Game

Deonte Burton started for Maalik Wayns, who started at the point in Washington’s first three games but was out Thursday night due to a sore left knee. The offense was no where near as fluid in the first quarter as it was on Tuesday against Miami. Combined with the continued spotty play of Miami’s Shabazz Napier, both teams shot 25 percent from the field as the Wizards led 17-11 after one.

The night started with a nice pass by Daniel Orton from the 3-point line to a posting Otto Porter at the rim for a bucket over Tyler Johnson. But after that, play became stagnant, guys held the ball, and most Wizards seemed content to just wait for Otto Porter or Glen Rice to do something. Rice did attempt four free throws in the first quarter, as he and Otto each scored seven points, but the sophomores came up short in terms of providing the structure and security that the team needed.

The second and third quarters brought more of the same—the Wizards only scored 16 points in each and entered the fourth quarter down 50-49 to Miami (after leading 33-31 at half). Rice and Porter continued to score, however, each putting up 14 points after three quarters to keep the Wiz Kids afloat. Otherwise, bunny after bunny was missed, and it got messy like hot rabbit fricasee all over your kitchen floor. Miami went on a 7-0 run late in the third, and then the Wizards finished the quarter on an 8-6 run—Rice bullied his way to four free throw attempts but missed two.

The Heat held a three point lead midway through the fourth, but a Wizard five-point trip down the court helped counter that. Rice hit a bucket with the harm, but missed the free throw; Daniel Theis then cleaned up the miss, made the basket, and earned his own trip to the line—a make. Kwame Vaughn, a rookie point guard from Cal St. Fullerton, helped steady the ship in the second half and hit a couple crazy shots to boot. Washington’s ticket to the semifinals, and date with the Spurs on Saturday, was sealed down the stretch by a Glen Rice Euro-step, a Jamil Wilson 3-pointer, and more hustle from Theis. Down one point with 2:17 left, the Wizards ended the game on a 12-0 run, taking it 78-67.

Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It)

[Some Vines courtesy of @HoopDistrictDC]


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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop,, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.