Opening Statements: Heat at Wizards, Preseason Game 2 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Heat at Wizards, Preseason Game 2

Updated: October 5, 2018

The Wizards head into their second preseason against the Miami Heat looking to expand on Scott Brooks’ strategy of shooting more three-pointers, while limiting the amount of long two-point jump shots they take.  And it may take some getting used to.

The decision to transition into this style of basketball has been long overdue, but Scott Brooks is committed to implementing a more modern style of play to compliment his nurturing and player-friendly coaching beliefs. Brooks is imploring his players to try this new playing style despite the fact that many of his players–Bradley Beal included–do not subscribe to the mythology of analytics. In the last practice before the Heat contest, Beal was asked about trying to recreate Monday’s game in which the team shot 38 three-point attempts and he gave a resounding answer on basketball metrics culture: “I’m not an analytical guy so ya’ll asking the wrong dude. I don’t give a damn about how many threes we put up, as long as we win a ball game. If that’s what’s going to win the ball games, we ‘gon do it. I just want to win game”

Most successful teams in the league have incorporated an analytics-based strategy (Golden State, Houston, Boston, and Philadelphia), but Beal is somehow still skeptical.  Luckily for the Wizards, Scott Brooks is infusing a new way of thinking to get the team’s consciousness unlocked from the Matrix. Whereas Beal is still hesitant to take contested or even open threes, Brooks is reaffirming to his All-Star shooting guard that he has the “green light” shoot as much as he pleases.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink is an adage that perfectly describes the current state of the Wizards in terms of their belief in focusing on long-distance shooting and attacking the rim. The Wizards’ three “max” players were all disciples of the Randy Wittman school of basketball in which plays were run to drain the clock and end in elbow jumpers. John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter are slowly coming around on this new approach to the game and this is largely due to Brooks’ urging as the coach. Brooks has learned steer his latest crop of young talent in the right direction and it is now up to them to figure it out.

The Miami Heat style of play is the complete opposite of the current Wizards. Miami as a franchise is constantly moving towards the future with a forward-thinking front office despite the fact that they do not have nearly as much “on-paper” talent as the Wizards. Ever since LeBron has left Miami, the real star on South Beach has been Heat Head Coach, Erik Spoelstra. “Spo” figured out how to evaluate the personnel of each team he coached and get the most that he could out of the talent on his roster. When Miami wanted to exploit a size advantage, they called on Hassan Whiteside, but when it was time to increase the pace, they could always unleash a formidable small-ball lineup.

The Heat finished 6th in the East last year, two spots above the 8th seeded Wizards and a large part of that rested on their ability to adjust to different playing styles and their ability to fight through adversity. The Wizards have established a history of being short-tempered in the past and that narrative did nothing to change after Markieff Morris found himself ejected in the first half of the first preseason game. While Scott Brooks also encouraged his team to let their play do the talking, Washington seems dead set on flashing the bravado of a team that on the exterior reflects the tough cast of characters that make up the roster, while they face an interior journey that can only be described as existential.

Three Things To Watch Tonight

  1. The three guard lineup of Beal, Wall, and Austin Rivers made its debut against the Knicks Monday night and this lineup could possibly be a staple of Brooks’ rotation. The three guards each have the ability to get ball in transition and initiate offense for their team. This lineup also has the ability todefend multiple positions, which will come in handy against Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, and Tyler Johnson of the Heat.
  2. Ian Mahinmi shooting threes is here to stay. The French center has yet to hit a three-point shot in a regular season NBA game, but has been practicing diligently at extending his range. Mahinmi shot 1-for-2 from behind the arc and do not expect him to become shy on shooting for the rest of this season.  Apparently, Miami’s Hassan Whiteside will be joining in in the fun as well.
  3. Markieff Morris should have received an extended look at the center position, but that experiment was cut short after he was ejected in the 2nd quarter of the Knicks game. Expect Keef to get  additional looks in the post as the team prepares for a season of small-ball experimentation.


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.