REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 5 — Pecked by the Birds | Wizards Blog Truth About

REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 5 — Pecked by the Birds

Updated: July 17, 2015

[Kelly Oubre, via @WashWizards]

[Kelly Oubre, via @WashWizards]

The 20-seed Wizards lost to the 4-seed Pelicans on Thursday night in Las Vegas, 81-97, pushing their summer league record to 2-3. The NBA’s younger Curry, Seth, took it to Washington, scoring 26 points on 21 shots (but 1-5 from 3 and 1-1 on free throws). Curry burned the Wizards by getting into the lane often and using the backboard in a variety of ways—to finish runners, jumpers, and scoop shots.

With the loss, Washington moves to the consolation side of the summer league tournament bracket and will play their sixth and final summer league game versus Oleksiy Pechrov and the Denver Nuggets tonight (Friday evening) at 10 pm ET. Let’s get into the Game 5 REAX…

Thumbs Up.

  • Khem Birch. A summer-leaguer with the Wizards last year who really piqued the interested of team brass, Birch is back on the familiar UNLV campus (where he played for three seasons after playing one season at Pittsburgh) and playing with the New Orleans Pelicans. Birch was signed by the Miami Heat before last season but never made the team and split time between the D-League and Turkey. For one, he looks a lot bigger this summer—gone is his wiry frame, and to him and his trainers goes the credit. Likely motivated against his former summer league team, Birch started at 5 for New Orleans and scored 12 points to go with eight rebounds and six blocked shots in 24 minutes. He also put up a game-high plus-23 in plus/minus. The quiet-in-demeanor Birch was quite the opposite on the court, swatting Wizards one end and throwing down dunks on the other.
  • Scott Machado. The well-traveled Machado—this is his fourth summer league—was far from impressive in terms of running the team over Washington’s first couple of contests, but his best two games have come in the last two versus New Orleans and Utah. Machado’s overall assists to turnover ratio is not great (five games, 4.6 assists per, 3.2 turnovers per), and he’s shooting 16.7 percent from the 3-point line. But, the 6-foot-1 Machado has great body control on drives to the basket, can do damage at the free throw line (23-27 over five games), and is an above-average passer and defender (although, he did struggle with Seth Curry at times). Machado still doesn’t seem like an NBA-caliber point—at least not one the Wizards should consider—but if he ever improves the range on his shot, look out. (However unlikely as such may be: Machado has shot 29.3% from deep over 55 career D-League games.)

Thumbs Down.

  • Jarrid Famous. After all, he couldn’t dominate every game (he also had a down Game 4). Famous played just eight minutes, missed two shots, grabbed one rebound, and committed one turnover. From afar, I could not tell if he got injured, fatigued, or if Howard Eisley, leading the coaching duties for Game 5, simply decided to give some other guys run.
  • Damion James. It hasn’t been the best overall summer league for the 27-year-old veteran who’s seen 623 total NBA minutes since being drafted 24th overall by the Atlanta Hawks in 2010. Fun fact: On draft night the Hawks traded James to the Nets for Jordan Crawford (selected 27th overall in 2010) and Tibor Pleiss (selected 31st overall). Atlanta then sold the 7-foot-2 Pleiss on that same draft night to the Thunder, who sent him to Utah as part of the three-team Enes Kanter-Reggie Jackson deal this past February. Pleiss has been honing his game in Spain and was signed by the Jazz to a multi-year contract this summer.

    Back to James… He’s been active in Vegas, for sure, but he shot just 3-for-11 against the Pelicans. His 35.6 percent shooting over five summer league games is one of the worst on the team—of course, it’s better than Kelly Oubre’s 33.3 percent and Aaron White’s 34.8 percent. James has missed his only two 3-point attempts during summer league and, over all those NBA minutes, he’s just 0-for-6 total. James spent four seasons playing for the University of Texas (2006-2010). Curiously, after going 1-for-11 from deep in his freshman season, James went 102-for-272 (37.5%) over this next three seasons with the Longhorns. Not great, not bad, still a college 3. Nonetheless, being a 6-for-7 wing, you’d think that James would’ve developed more of a shot at this point.


  • Kelly Oubre. As had gone the general theme for the 15th-overall-pick’s summer in Vegas, Oubre showed plenty of promise while displaying a ton of inconsistency. But, hey, that’s what summer is for. Oubre continues to find his way into plays—getting back on defense, trying for blocks, picking up fouls. When his offense struggles—and it does quite often—you rarely see him hang his head and forget about the other end of the floor. He is definitely not Nick Young; Oubre actually reminds me more of Trevor Ariza, but with a more advanced on offense entering the league. In the first half Oubre pulled up in the lane for a smooth-looking runner. He missed. But you’ve got to take ‘em—get in those game reps—to eventually make ‘em (as we found out with John Wall’s elbow jumper). In the second half he got blocked at the rim two straight times, crossing nicely from right-to-left the second time but not using his body to create space for his shot. A third time was a charm, however. Soon after the rejections, Oubre changed it up, crossing left to right and finishing at the rim with this off, right hand. Given plenty of space, Oubre missed a 3-point look late in the game (0-3 versus the Pelicans, 3-25 over five summer league games). Something is often amiss with his lower body balance and footwork on long jump shots; one would assume that improves with added muscle to help him with NBA 3-point range.


  • Three straight solid games by Shawn Jones, bowling ball power forward, is certainly a trend. Over the first two games, Jones played OK—24 total minutes, 10 points (3-6 FGs), nine rebounds, and two turnovers. Over the next three games, the Middle Tennessee State product received an uptick in run—61 total minutes, 34 points (14-25 FGs), 25 rebounds, four blocks, and four turnovers. Jones pulled down a 12-11 double-double against New Orleans. Unfortunately for Jones, however, is that without a 3-point shot, he’s just another undersized forward


  • Bradley Beal showed up at summer league for the first time and joined the broadcast crew of Doug Gottlieb and Matt Devlin (Wale hater) during the game. Beal indicated that he hadn’t yet seen Oubre play. (Was he not watching summer league up to Game 5? Unclear.) Beal also had two interesting but totally Bradley Beal-like quotes:
    • On the biggest adjustment from college to the NBA: ‘The biggest thing is having to deal with the travel and adjusting to that lifestyle, up to that style of play, because it’s totally different. And when you’re a rookie, everything is your fault. So you have to be able to learn to deal with adversity and just learn to be coachable.”
    • On what it’s like to see some of the final contract numbers being given out this summer: “It’s a blessing.” [And then stock footage of Beal “not worrying about it” and “letting his agent deal with it” when it comes to his own contract situation.]
  • Robert Pack led the summer league coaching duties for New Orleans versus Washington. I have fond memories of Pack and his explosive game, as he was once-upon-a-time a Washington Bullet. Many moons ago (August 2008), I wrote about Pack’s career for Bullets Forever. Check it out.
  • Larry Drew III continued his nice summer-league play with 13 points (5-10 FGs), five assists, and three rebounds in 27.5 minutes. I also think his hair put on a better showing than Kelly Oubre’s.

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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.