Melo Trumps One-Pass Wizards Offense — Washington vs New York, DC Council (Preseason Game 2) | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Melo Trumps One-Pass Wizards Offense — Washington vs New York, DC Council (Preseason Game 2)

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Updated: October 10, 2015

The D.C. Council… TAI’s highlights, seen and heard, from each Washington Wizards game. Now: Wizards vs. Knicks, preseason game 2, Oct. 9, 2015, via Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It).

John Wall Post-Game.

M.V.P.

Carmelo Anthony started by taking a couple convenient shots, just to see if he could make them. Sure, Otto Porter played decent positional defense, but Melo also bailed him out. He next tried to force his way into the post, once using an off-balance up-and-under move to weave past Porter and Marcin Gortat. Porter did hold his ground better than he’d done in the past, but that didn’t keep Carmelo from getting hot. Anthony mostly got going late in the second quarter and into the third, scoring on an array of Carmelo-esque shots—long 2s with a super-quick release that had him damn near trotting back up the court before the shot went in. From 3:33 left in the second to 6:39 of the third, he scored 17 of his 21 points, all coming on jumpers or pull-ups outside of 17 feet. Only one was a 3-pointer.

X-Factor(s).

On their recent journeyman tours, both Ramon Sessions and Gary Neal have had their troubles. But in Washington, they might just form one of the best backup backcourts the Wizards have ever had. Sessions didn’t scorch the nets (2-7 FGs), but he got to the free throw line and went 4-for-5. Sessions also nicely pushed the pace early and often, at times proving that he can be very adept in massaging defenses in reactionary directions like Silly-Putty. Neal didn’t drain a 3-pointer (0-2), but he went 5-for-9 from the field, often cashing in on set, clean looks that were created by simple dribble-screen handoffs from a big like Kris Humphries, or more intricate action. Both players should also get ample opportunity to play next to both John Wall and Bradley Beal in Randy Wittman’s variant lineups, which should help their production.

L.V.P.

I hate to peg the rookie with an LVP in his first preseason game, but you gotta start somewhere. Kelly Oubre didn’t score a basket and often looked to be pressing in his 0-for-7 outting. He missed all three of his 3-point attempts and did not get to the free throw line, despite a drive or two and a few close attempts to the basket. Sometimes he ran downhill in either direction, chasing the game; sometimes he was just running aimlessly, not knowing if he was going toward or away from booming, threatening sounds. One time he closed out nicely on a shooter, but then he didn’t get low enough versus New York’s Cleanthony Early, who blew right by him. Another time Oubre methodically pump-faked at the top of the key, but then travelled when he tried to drive. This caught him the cold ire of a face—not just any face, but Randy Wittman face. The coach wanted the rook to swing the ball. The lack of such was a common theme on the night for all Wizards.

In addition to copping to a late-game gaffe (letting Derrick Williams seal him and spin to the rim for an oop), unprompted, Oubre took his failures in stride after the game. “We have, like, a 100 more of these,” he said. Five more preseason games plus 82 regular season games—if the Wizards make it past the second round, they are most likely getting to the 100-game count. Not sure Oubre will be there for half of them, though. And that’s, OK.

That Game Was…

A coffeehouse, quiet from conversation but bustling with uncoordinated movement as humans go about their individual days. The preseason.

Once again, not the type of defensive effort that Randy Wittman wanted to see. Players didn’t always sprint back on D, rotations were a step slow. The coach said his team is still trying to figure out how to defend when playing at a high pace. “Our positioning is not even close to where it needs to be,” Wittman said. “That tells me that our minds are not in it right now.” He believes his team should still be able to put up a fight when they shoot a low percentage from the field and the 3-point line.

Wittman had another simple critique: guys were trying to get their own points and over-dribbling. Let’s go to the video:

Bullets.

  • John Wall will dethrone Beal as the midrange king, but at least it appears Wall is getting his looks closer to the rim. If he continues to work on his floater, the two-man game between he and Marcin Gortat will open up even more. The duo constantly seems to be “communicating,” if you will, on the pick-and-roll
  • Bradley Beal definitely looks stronger. Eight rebounds proves that. But he scored just 12 points on 14 shots (1-5 from deep) was one of the most guilty when it came to the ball sticking on offense. One pull-up from the elbow wasn’t terrible; it’s just that he did it on the break (where there was a chance to earn free throws). Later, a pull-up 3 on the break as the Knicks defense retreated was a better idea, but he missed. He got his own board for a midrange 2, which I guess is cool.
  • Nenê played the 5 almost exclusively in his 19 minutes off the bench, scoring an efficient six points on four shots and did nothing else but tally an assist. He left the bench before the game was over the get treatment. “He had something, he had something,” Wittman said. “You know, just tell me when a guy can play and when he can’t play.” Witt didn’t know the Brazilian’s status at the time, post-game, but Nenê was already dressed in the hall, so it must not be too bad.
  • Kris Humphries jacked six 3-pointers, made one of them. Probably about four of them were good looks, two he could have kept moving the ball. His one make came from the corner and was assisted by Otto Porter. A video of Humphries’ 3-point shooting motion, slowed down, can be found below. Humphries even played the 5 a couple times, appearing in a late-third quarter lineup that featured Sessions, Neal, Oubre, and Otto. It wasn’t long before Harrellson check in for Porter.
  • Josh “Big Jorts” Harrellson played some stretch-4 with either Nene or Kris Humphries and went 1-for-3 from deep.
  • A league source believes that the Wizards would like to keep an additional backcourt player … if they can move someone like DeJuan Blair. The two most likely training camp candidates would be Ish Smith or Toure’ Murry—we will see; ideas and needs often change. The current backcourt: Wall, Beal, Sessions, Neal, and Temple; and only Wall and Sessions are the more standard, push-the-pace guards, even if all others can play point when called upon. With quicker pace on the minds of Wiz Brain Trust, having another ball-handling mover could be on the agenda. Smith played seven minutes and his only box score contribution was 2-for-6 shooting (and a bunch of zeros elsewhere), but he didn’t show the elusiveness expected. Murry played four minutes, didn’t take a shot, but had a nice drive to the hoop (earning a foul, hitting both free throws), and grabbed three rebounds.
  • Drew Gooden sat out with some “soreness in his … geez … don’t ask me where,” responded Randy Wittman when asked. The team reported that it was a glute.
  • Kristaps Porzingis definitely looks like a ball player for the Knicks. I was most impressed by a fluid baseline pull-up jumper on the move. At one point he easily got position for points at the basket versus Gortat (shame on Gortat!). Kristaps also got position on Humphries for a rebound, but Humphries promptly snatched it out of his hands. Porzingis missed some bunnies in the paint, but that’s to be expected. Also: One Big Panda dunked on him.

Kris Humphries 3-Point Shot:
Slo-mo Pre-Game Shooting Form.

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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 lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.