Bullets on Wizards: Downed by the Heat in Preseason Game 1 | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Bullets on Wizards: Downed by the Heat in Preseason Game 1

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Updated: October 5, 2016

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The Washington Wizards lost to the Miami Heat, 95-106, in their first preseason game on Tuesday night in D.C. Overall, there were more concerns than high points, but training camp did not start but a week ago which means that conjecture season is over and we have some real, live basketball to watch and analyze. Keep reading for bullets on this first trial run.

  • On the very first play of the game Justise Winslow threw a lob pass inside to Hassan Whiteside for a dunk. Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat seemed the most out of place, but the whole village was confused. The team has been drilling home defense in training camp, and you gotta know that’s exactly the No. 1 play Miami wants to run, and yet the kids got beat anyway. The Wizards just got home from the maternity ward, so it’s perfectly OK if Scott Brooks didn’t pass on his first attempt to elevate the kids in the village. And so the defense was a mess and Miami scored 34 of 61 first half points in the paint (17-25 FGs). The Wizards scored 18 of 44 first half points in the paint (9-16 FGs). Things got cleaned up in the second half with the Wizards ‘winning’ it 51-45—Miami scored 20 in the paint (10-16 FGs) to Washington’s 22 (11-19 FGs)—but the Heat are the team with a much more established core, coaching staff, and flow, despite losing Wade and (likely) Bosh in the offseason. Still, there are some major concerns developing on defense: Ian Mahinmi is really the only above average defender amongst the bigs (Marcin Gortat is near average); Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre don’t seem to be true stoppers; and Trey Burke and Marcus Thornton are very below average defenders.
  • On the other hand, Washington also scored on its first possession of the preseason: a Markieff Morris 3-pointer, assist by Trey Burke. Morris looked comfortable doing it and he didn’t hesitate—coaching. Brooks also looked to exploit a Morris-Luke Babbitt matchup early, and it worked. He scored an efficient 11 points on seven shots (2-3 on 3s) in the first quarter. Morris didn’t score after the first quarter (missed two shots) but did pick up three assists. One time he fired a pass inside to Gortat, who wasn’t looking but going for the rebound, thinking Morris was going to jack the shot. The next time Gortat was ready and found an easy bucket at the rim. Morris did have a few telltale moments when he lost attention on defense. So, he was pretty much the Markieff everyone knows yet hopes will improve.
  • Speaking of Marcin Gortat, he was definitely rusty. Even though 10 points on 5-for-12 shooting with six rebounds “ain’t bad” [Gortat voice], it was clear when he dinked a couple hook shots short that he’s still working his summer-time-by-the-pool legs off. There was one point—good gravy—when Gortat was the trailer down the court on the break and Burke, having penetrated but not showing the skills to score or create that corner shot like John Wall (it’s not easy but it’s beautiful), Burke tossed it back to Gortat. And Gortat tossed up some goofy-looking runner from free throw line range that got stiff-armed by Whiteside.
  • Tomas Satoransky: the one everyone’s been waiting for, or just now hearing about via pretty dunks in training camp. He played a clean game; he looked like he belonged from the moment he was subbed in for Burke at the 2:30 mark of the first quarter. Satoransky, running point, dropped six dimes in his game-high 31:26 of action—and start the Satoransky Missed Assist Tracker (Andrew Nicholson blew a dunk). He displayed strong instincts in the open court, always keeping his eyes up and in all directions, and found teammates on nice bounce passes more than a few times. Satoransky, who also saw time at the 2 and in three-guard lineups, was composed when pressured by Miami’s guards and wings, really hit the defensive boards (team high 5), and he recovered well when defending around screens. He didn’t really find his offense (2-6 FGs, 8 points, 4-4 FTs), instead looking for teammates early but later at least attacking in a variety of ways—a spinning runner in the lane that missed, a post-up versus Wayne Ellington that ended in a pass out, and a 3-point attempt that didn’t pass muster.
  • After one preseason game Kelly Oubre was already back-tracking (like many others outside the locker room who have jumped on the Satoransky bandwagon), saying: “He has an attitude that not a lot of foreign players have. I take what I said back earlier, a couple interviews earlier when I said he was a little soft, but definitely not. He plays with a chip on his shoulder.”
  • Kelly Oubre looked as much a Jackson Pollock as a Salvador Dali—sometimes carelessly over-dribbling and a scattered attack, sometimes taking a beeline toward the hoop and bringing the imagination in aggressive directions. Brooks didn’t play him until halfway through the second quarter and there was at least one time where Oubre looked disinterested on the bench as observers on Twitter started to wonder why he was nailed to it. Like the team defense in general, Oubre got more comfortable in the second half finishing with a team-high 16 points (5-10 FGs, 2-2 3Ps, 4-7 FTs). Just two fouls to three steals over 25 minutes is certainly a sign of progress, even if it doesn’t seem like Oubre is capable of being an NBA starter quite yet.
  • “If he’s solid, he has the length, it’s hard to shoot over him. I mean, his arms go forever,” said Scott Brooks after the game about Oubre. “He has to be able to focus in on that, because when he gambles, everyone else has to recover for him.” And let’s add this: Dion Waiters had some Dion Waiters moments versus Kelly Oubre.
  • Bradley Beal looked very comfortable, especially massaging that elbow jumper and gaining plenty of space in the process—a different type of space than John Wall gets. He saw 15:40 of court time (the amount Brooks said he’d play him) and scored 12 points on nine shots (1-1 on 3s). The head coach on Beal after the game: “I thought Bradley did a good job of really manipulating screens and finding guys and looking for his shot also. And he’s worked on that all summer, so that’s another bright spot.”
  • Trey Burke started for a resting John Wall. There were times where Burke created space in the lane with the ball, and there were times where Burke didn’t appear to be as quick as he should be. He tallied five assists and didn’t turn the ball over once, but you can tell he’s still trying to figure out which teammate will be where, when, and how they like the ball. Perhaps more concerning was Burke’s contribution to porous defense in the early going. He also shot 2-for-7 through three quarters before going 3-for-6 from the field in the fourth (1-4 on 3s that final period, 1-5 on the game). “He played better in the second half,” said Brooks of Burke after the game. “I don’t think he played with good pace in the first half, and that’s something we will talk about at practice tomorrow.”

Notes.

  • Ian Mahinmi was a late scratch because his back tightened up on him, partially due to him nursing a knee injury, according to Brooks after the game. Mahinmi could often be seen standing near the bench for long intervals during the game and stoppages in play.
  • Marcus Thornton didn’t play because of a banged-up thumb on his shooting hand but did get some shots up pre-game.
  • Otto Porter looked solid but didn’t play much (17 minutes) and perhaps wasn’t wholly noticeable during that time. Still think he’s the starter this season.
  • All the Wizards players locked arms together during the national anthem as a sign of unity during these troubling times, something other teams like the Raptors have done a few times this preseason.
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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.