More Turnovers, More Defensive Errors in Memphis — Washington Drops Fourth in a Row | Wizards Blog Truth About

More Turnovers, More Defensive Errors in Memphis — Washington Drops Fourth in a Row

Updated: October 31, 2018

Scott Brooks’s message to his team (now 1-6) after losing their fourth game in a row was pretty simple: “Stick together.”

Ten days ago, the Wizards left D.C. heading west to Portland with a glimmer of hope in their eyes. Yes, the team was 0-2, but they’d competed valiantly in home losses to Miami and Toronto. The Wiz were seemingly on the same page. We’ll shoot more 3s, they said, we’ll rebound the basketball, they said.

The Wizards are, indeed, shooting more 3s overall on the season, and against the Grizzlies they actually hit them at an efficient rate, going 14-for-35 from beyond the arc (40%). Making deep shots wasn’t the problem in the Wizards’ 95-107 loss to the Grizzlies. Defending them was: Memphis hit 46.4% of their 3s.

Washington continues to have major defensive communication issues, and they are constantly allowing either wide-open 3-point shots on the perimeter or backdoor layups at the rim. Memphis outscored Washington 44-30 in the paint, as the Wizards were dominated by adept inside-out play.

With the man tabbed to be the starting center yet to suit up, Jason Smith gave a workmanlike effort and even hit a few shots, but he’d never be expected contain Marc Gasol on the block. Of course, Smith was on the floor for 24 minutes because Ian Mahinmi continues to foul at an exponential rate. Ernie Grunfeld’s free agent jewel from 2016 has not been able to transfer his strong play from the preseason into tangible results and his presence only amplifies the Wizards’ glaring need for Dwight Howard to return. League sources suggest that’ll be Friday.

Dwight’s debut should not be viewed as a franchise-saving addition, but he should provide balance with rim protection and rebounding. The only question is how much does Dwight have left in the tank to give to a team that desperately needs him to be near his best? Howard proved lasts season that he could play a more modern style, by setting more screens and rolling to the basket instead of demanding post touches. Whether he can stay on the floor long-term is another question.

Marred By Turnovers

Washington committed an egregious 20 turnovers in the game and nine of those came from an indecisive John Wall, who never really seemed comfortable passing the ball in this one. The Grizzlies got a lot of hands on the ball.

Bradley Beal, who can be jittery with the basketball in certain spots, struggled a bit too, with four turnovers—worse, he was not able to initiate the offense fourth quarter stretch while Wall rested on the bench.

Scott Brooks insists on playing Austin Rivers near starter-level minutes, despite the fact that he has done nothing to earn that extended run. Rivers has looked uncomfortable for the duration of his brief Wizards career, and while he’s never been a player known for getting his teammates involved, in Washington hasn’t even shown the ability to create quality shots for himself either. At some point, Scott Brooks has to be willing see what more he can get from Tomas Satoransky, who proved last season in John Wall’s absence that he can facilitate and get the ball in the hands of the people who need it—and know what to do with it.

Oubre Continues to Ride the Wave

The lone undisputed bright spot for the Wizards this season has been the consistent play of Kelly Oubre Jr. Oubre has kept his energy level high on the defensive, using his length to disrupt passing lanes, end and worked diligently to keep his mental lapses to a minimum.

On the other side of the ball, Oubre is spotting-up well for 3-point attempts (39.1% on shots with zero dribbles) and being decisive with his dribble-drives to the basket. The work that he put in with Drew Hanlen is showing—perhaps there’s already pressure on the Wizards front office for having not offered him a contract extension in the fall to prevent him from reaching restricted free agency this summer. His 14 points per game and .400-plus shooting from beyond the arc are nice, but the Wizards might need even more from Oubre if they hope to turn this season around.

Troy Haliburton on Twitter
Troy Haliburton
Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. Bylines on bylines on bylines.

Will write for food.