Five Observations From Wizards Open Practice | Wizards Blog Truth About

Five Observations From Wizards Open Practice

Updated: October 1, 2017


The Washington Wizards held their annual open practice for fans at Virginia Commonwealth University on the second to last day of training camp. All the trappings of a regular season game were on display: Rodney Rikai on the microphone, Wizards Girls on the dance floor and the Secret Service dunkers flying through the air. After some light stretching and fast break drills, the Wizards broke into two teams and ran a mildly competitive scrimmage for the fans. A few observations from inside the Stuart C. Siegel Center…

Jodie Meeks Is As Advertised

This is both good and bad.

First, the good news. Despite his extensive injury history, Meeks looked to be in shape and his signature quick release jumper was in regular season form. He also displayed his basketball IQ with a savvy – albeit unsuccessful — move at the end of the scrimmage. With his team trailing by five points with five seconds remaining, Meeks drew a foul on a 3-point attempt. He calmly hit the first two free throws (he’s one of the best free throw shooters in the league) then he surprised his teammates by intentionally missing the third shot, grabbing the rebound and racing to the corner for a game-tying heave that fell short.

Now, the bad. As Bryan Frantz noted in his player preview, Meeks lacks lateral quickness. This shortcoming was on display during his time on the court as both Otto Porter and Tomas Satoransky beat him baseline. It may help that he projects to play a lot of his minutes alongside Ian Mahinmi – the better defender of the Wizards two centers.

John Wall vs. Bradley Beal

John Wall said he has been covering Bradley Beal when the two are on opposite teams in training camp, but those showdowns occurred in closed practices beyond the watchful eyes of the media. The open practice was the first time the public got to see the two guards go at each other. The scrimmage started with Wall covering Satoransky and Beal covering Meeks, but the two marquee players switched onto each other after a few possessions.

Wall seemed to enjoy the match-up more than his back-court mate. Wall — somehow looking faster and stronger than last season — blew by Beal on several occasions for easy baskets and assists, punctuated with a lot of trash talking. Wall was definitely in assassin mode, putting on a show for the fans. Beal, for his part, had no trouble scoring, but Wall was not the primary defender on most of his shot attempts.

Otto Even Better?

I don’t know if it’s the $104M in his bank account or if the weight of expectations has been lifted but Otto Porter seemed to have a spring in his step. He nailed his first two 3-pointers and beat Jodie Meeks on the baseline with a real nice crossover. The latter was a very good sign for a player who rarely created offense off the dribble last season.

As Ben Standig tweeted, John Wall took notice of Porter’s improvement in training camp.

This would be a welcome development for a team with very few play-makers. Also, considering Otto makes $26M per year, it would be nice if he could also create his own shot.

Tomas Satoransky Can Still Dunk

The evening ended with a slam dunk contest among defending training camp dunk champion Tomas Satoransky, Sheldon Mac, Carrick Felix and Chris McCullough. Satoransky threw down the dunk of the night tossing the ball and passing it between his legs for a perfect score, but Felix eventually took the title after some confusion from in-game announcer Rodney Rikai led to additional dunk attempts.

Felix has the highest vertical on the team but he did not do a great job selecting a teammate to assist on his dunks. He asked Beal to toss him the ball off the side of the backboard and Beal had a surprising amount of trouble completing the exchange, much John Wall’s delight. The pair eventually connected on the alley-oop but the failed attempts diluted its impact. CSN’s Chase Hughes provided some close-up shots of the dunking action.

No Mike Scott

Tim Frazier was expected to miss the scrimmage after suffering a minor groin injury earlier in training camp but it was a minor disappointment that Mike Scott also took a DNP in Richmond. Scott was in attendance and seemed to be moving around fine. His absence was apparently due to rest, so he should be ready for the start of preseason, but it was a little odd for a player to be too tired to participate in a lightly contested scrimmage only five days into training camp.

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Adam Rubin
Reporter / Writer at TAI
Adam grew up in the D.C. area and has been a Washington Bullets fan for over 25 years. He will not refer to the franchise as anything other than the Bullets unless required to do so by Truth About It editorial standards. Adam spent many nights at the Capital Centre in the ‘90s where he witnessed such things as Michael Jordan’s “LaBradford Smith game,” the inexcusable under-usage of Gheorghe Muresan’s unstoppable post moves, and the basketball stylings of Ledell Eackles.