Last Preseason Bullet: Wizards vs. Raptors — Strong Final Rehearsal from the Starters | Wizards Blog Truth About

Last Preseason Bullet: Wizards vs. Raptors — Strong Final Rehearsal from the Starters

Updated: October 22, 2016

Finally. The 2016 NBA/Wizards preseason is done. G’bye.

But first, three or so things after a quite encouraging 119-82 win over the Toronto Raptors on a Friday night…


First, the news, submitted after the game (1): the Wizards will enter the season with a roster of 15, taking all three non-guaranteed, undrafted rookies — from this past draft — with them. Miami’s Sheldon McClellan, Texas A&M’s Danuel House, and Villanova’s Daniel Ochefu have made the squad.

Solid charting of the course, by whomever it may be. When Ian Mahinmi went down, gone ‘til November, Johnny O’Bryant became the (my) sexy choice to make the team with his preseason play (better than Ochefu’s). But why pass up a chance to triple-down on not having a first round pick (Markieff Morris trade) and not having a second round pick (Kelly Oubre trade) to say: hey, look at us and rookies, excuse me while I player development and Dougie?


Washington’s Starters looked really good. Pretty, really good. And call me surprised that the five of John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat played nearly 137 of 240 available minutes in the very last preseason game. Beforehand, the fact that reports indicated that Wall and Beal’s minutes would be “ramped up” [#WittmanFace voice] in the finale gave me the jitters. But apparently Scott Brooks cares not for #SoWizards. Plus, this was the first time the new coach got to start all the actual starters over the course of the preseason. So with five full days starting tomorrow and leading up to opening day in Atlanta, Brooks put on a little show. The starters played 20:43 together (2) to start the game, at the end of the second quarter, and to start the third—their total plus/minus: +26.

  • Wall continued to show no ill effects from two summer knee surgeries (one of which was less invasive, let’s remember). He even hit a couple 3s, including one of the corner variety, and his passing is as sweet as ever.
  • Beal dribbled and jerked and hesitated and passed (9 assists, 0 turnovers) better than Gilbert Arenas ever did (3) after being criticized for taking too many shots except that Beal shot—team-high 16 FGAs, made 8, 2-5 from deep, 1-1 from the line; 19 points in 28 minutes. Never has the Big Panda looked more smooth and confident. Except for to start the game he was the least of 1-3 positions locked-in on defense and let DeMar DeRozan bamboo his panda, if you will.
  • Porter. Oh, Otto, let me count the ways. He nailed both of his 3-point attempts. Hell, he nailed all seven of his shots. And sort of as suspected, the silliness of speculating hard at the molehill of Kelly Oubre maybe starting over Otto likely did as much to motivate Otto this preseason as it was futile. (Yet, Otto is no mountain.) With Otto, there’s never an ‘is that your bag’ situation—he’s always where he should be. If anyone was ‘most’ locked-in on defense to start the game against the Raptors, it was Porter, generally matched up against DeMarre Carroll.
  • Morris splashed rainbows, grew his beard, flubbed an out of bounds play, and saturated the box score. Plus-37 (team-high), 30 minutes, 19 points, 8-10 FGs, 3-3 3Ps, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, 3 blocks, 3 fouls—I guess somebody named Pascal Siakam matched up against him to begin or something. Please someone keep him motivated.
  • Gortat, blessed sacrament of the Church of John Wall. The Polish Hammer Machine will keep preaching, perhaps the best he ever has, as long as John Wall keeps tossing those magical wafers into his rock-solid pillow hands for buckets. And as long as Marcin doesn’t have to play next to Nene or Kris Humphries or Jared Dudley.


Seven players saw action off the bench; in order of minutes: Kelly Oubre, Marcus Thornton, Jason Smith, Andrew Nicholson, Trey Burke, Tomas Satoransky, Daniel Ochefu.

Positive to the Negative (in battery charges, not counting the aforementioned undrafted rookies):

  • Oubre is definitely the sixth or seventh man or so, and he really actually looks to have sort of calmed down under the tutelage of Brooks (verbiage mine for emphasis). He’ll definitely still be a wild child on many-an-occasion—Brooks has dealt with Wild Child Bad Hombre Numero Uno Russell Westbrook during his half-life. And maybe Oubre can be the 3&D version of that. Really, think about that.
  • Nicholson (who’s played really well but does not have the defensive pop of Oubre) will fill in nicely as the primary 4 or 5 off the bench. I’m not sure he has any defensive pop whatsoever (aside from an elbow to the guts), but he seems to know positioning and has a can-do attitude when it comes to rebounding and most things—and there’s that whole ‘shades of Sam Perkins‘ thing.
  • Burke is pretty much next in a long line of underwhelming backup point guards to Wall and thus he rounds out Scott Brooks’ top eight. Burke wasn’t terrible this preseason, if you consider 43% from the field and 2-for-14 from 3-point land ‘not terrible’ (Burke took three shots in 14:20 against the Raptors, all 3-pointers, all misses). He did total 23 assists to 7 turnovers and was OK-ish at rebounding this preseason. Burke is no Ramon Sessions but he is younger by about six years. So there is that.
  • Thornton. Someone please explain this guy to me. I mean, I have a personal affection for LSU stuff and remember once-upon-a-blog-life New Orleans Hornets now Pelicans bloggers being quite the fan(s) of “Lil’ Buckets” … but Marcus Thornton is terrible — by NBA standards aligned with expectations, aligned with reality. You see, he’s not terrible, per se, but still, capitalize that ‘T’ because he’s this season’s Jannero Pargo. Oh yea: he’s going to play. Because…
  • Satoransky. Brooks, when asked about Tomas Satoransky’s—“positioning” in the rotation, if you will—by @LedellsPlace, spoke about how hard it is to make a Subway sandwich will all the meats. Oh. My. God.
  • Smith existed, exists, and will exist. His player preview is coming up next, by the way.

Lineups Used vs. Toronto (starters in bold):

  • 7:12 – JW, BB, OP, MM, MG +12
  • 0:38 – JW, BB, KO, MM, AN +3
  • 1:44 – JW, MT, KO, MM, AN +2
  • 6:06 – TB, MT, KO, JS, AN -8
  • 1:28 – JW, BB, KO, JS, MG 0
  • 2:41 – JW, BB, KO, MM, MG +2
  • 13:31 – JW, BB, OP, MM, MG +14
  • 2:34 – TB, BB, OP, MM, MG +2
  • 0:06 – TB, KO, OP, MM, MG 0
  • 1:59 – TB, MT, KO, MM, AN +2
  • 3:35 – TB, MT, KO, JS, AN -1
  • 0:41 – TS, MT, KO, JS, AN -2
  • 5:45 – TS, MT, KO, JS, DO +11

  1. Wizards cuts reported in order of operations: Shams Charania, J. Michael, and Candace Buckner.
  2. All lineups used versus Toronto listed toward the bottom of this post.
  3. OK, let’s not get too carried away.
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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.