REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 2 — Death by 3-Pointer | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

REAX: Wizards Summer League Game 2 — Death by 3-Pointer

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Updated: July 10, 2016

The Wizards were dropped by Atlanta, 88-80, on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas. The Hawks jumped out to a 29-18 lead after the first quarter, and it looked like the game would be a blowout after they took a 39-21 lead about three minutes into the second quarter. Washington, then, better channeled some defensive aggression and outscored Atlanta 44-27 to pull within one point heading into the fourth quarter. But the poor Wizards 3-point defense that defined the afternoon reared its head and allowed two Hawks wide-open 3s in the last three minutes to seal the deal.

Keep reading for the run-down.

2016-wizards-summer-league-game-2

Thumbs Up.

Micheal Eric may have started slowly like the rest of his Wizards teammates, but by the final buzzer his impact was felt in a major way—20 points on 10 shots with eight rebounds in 24 minutes, besting his 13-point and five-rebound effort on Saturday. Part of Eric’s early struggles could be chalked up to having to check the gargantuan, 7-foot-3 Edy Tavares. Once he got a better sense of how to position his body, Eric was a force, leading the charge on the boards late in the second quarter that helped swing momentum in Washington’s direction. Eric also displayed nice hands in the second half, catching and finishing a pick-and-roll bounce pass from Nate Wolters, and later showing good footwork while tightroping the baseline for a hoop. Eric’s play in Vegas, so far, makes you wonder: Why did the Wizards commit to signing Daniel Ochefu so early? (Ochefu had the day off in favor of Kaleb Tarczewski.) One potential factor: Eric is a well-aged 28 years old, while Ochefu is 22.

Jarell Eddie got the nets wet on Sunday after a 3-for-8 shooting performance on Saturday, scoring 19 points on 6-for-12 shooting (3-6 on 3-pointers, 4-4 on free throws) versus Atlanta. Eddie added four rebounds but also four turnovers. He spaced the floor nicely, showed an ability to attack off the dribble late in the game (instead of just being a spot-up shooter), and didn’t get beat on defense too badly, at least to my recollection. And those two areas specifically—ball handling and defense—are where he must show improvement this summer if he expects the Wizards to honor his non-guaranteed contract come fall.

Thumbs Down.

Hate to plop Aaron White in the negative review section for two days in a row, but as they say: it is what it is. White epitomized Washington’s early struggles with transition defense when he let Atlanta’s Brandon Ashley leak out for an easy bucket. White’s one bucket (in just two attempts) was nicely set up by Wolters late in the game—he caught the ball beyond the arc and as the defense ran toward him, he calmly dribbled into a long 2. Soon after, White caught the ball in a similar situation and the lane opened up for a drive. He made the right decision to attack but got the ball stripped (thankfully, Michael Eric recovered the loose rock and made the bucket, and-1). It’s clear that White needs to get stronger—with the ball and overall—but he’s also failing to do the simple things and is looking like a dud because of it.

Bummer: Washington’s 3-point defense. Atlanta shot a scorching 14-for-27 from deep (51.9%)—Lamar Patterson went 4-for-7, Kevin Pangos went 3-for-4, and Bryce Cotton went 3-for-4. The Hawks moved the ball like their real NBA counterpart and the Wizards were frequently left in recover mode.

After the game, Washington coach Sidney Lowe touched upon the issue:

“We were sinking in too much from the top, is what happened. They ran the action, we were sinking in from the top, and they were swinging it to that slot guy—he was making the shot—as opposed to the bottom man coming in and taking that bump so we could stay high. That’s something we have to work on and talk about.”

Midrange.

We’ll plunk Wave Papi Oubre in the midrange section, even though he was more efficient on offense than Saturday, scoring 21 points on 15 shots. The difference was going 1-for-5 on 3-pointers instead of 2-for-10 yesterday; Oubre once again put up a 6-for-7 line on free throws. Regarding the 3-for-15 shooting from deep so far this summer, Oubre said after the game that it feels like last year, meaning that he’ll once again call his trainer Drew Hanlen for a late-night shooting session. Oubre gets put in the midrange because he was so inconsistent in picking his spots. He would hit a floater or pick up a nice assist, but then struggle to recover to his man, or even appear to forget. He would run to help contest the shot of someone else’s open man, but then another time he would get caught leaking out in no man’s land as Atlanta got an offensive board. And a couple times Oubre simply got beat off the dribble when—one would think—his short shorts would facilitate a good, low defensive position.

Oubre and Atlanta’s Isaia Cordinier, from France, not only battled in hair styles (Cordinier had a high-fade blonde bush-looking doo), but also had several run-ins on the court. Cordinier, just 19 years old and taken 44th in the second round by Atlanta, didn’t put up an impressive stat line but drove a ton and his one make, a 3-pointer, had an arching trajectory that Dirk Nowitzki would admire.

Trending.

Nate Wolters, veteran of 79 NBA games (two seasons) and two teams (Milwaukee and New Orleans) since being taken in the second round of the 2013 draft, joined the Wizards late on Sunday after playing for the Indiana Pacers at the Orlando summer league. Leading up to the matchup versus Atlanta, he got a crash course in what the coaching staff wanted him to do and didn’t really miss a beat. He was more impressive than his stat line of four points (2-6 FGs) and singles in each of the assist, rebound, and turnover columns in supplementing D.J. Cooper, who once again started at point for Washington. Wolters used his body and hesitation dribbles to create space and passing lanes and he balanced trying to set up offensive action with attempting that respectable floater of his. Wolters was playing so well that Sidney Lowe decided to go with him down the fourth-quarter stretch, but the Wizards, as was the case all day, could not defend the 3-point line.

 

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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.