By now you know the Wizards were absolutely demolished by the Magic in their season opener. It was the type of loss that can completely decimate a team and a fan base.
Still, it was one game, and there’s plenty of time to right the ship. Here are my observations:
- Cartier Martin was the best Wizard on the court. He finished with 17 points and had a great block on Dwight Howard. He was also the only Wizard to play aggressive help defense (other than Kirk Hinrich). He deserves more of Nick Young’s minutes moving forward.
- Kirk Hinrich wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad either. He played hard-nosed defense and knocked down back-to-back threes. Wow, I’m already pressing to think of positives from the game. Must be time to move to the negatives.
- John Wall struggled. No denying it. Jameer Nelson let Wall shoot open jumpers, and Wall continued to miss. By game’s end, he had a solid statline (13 points, 9 assists, 3 steals), but that came on 6-19 shooting with plenty of other mistakes.
- Andray Blatche got shut down by Dwight Howard. He danced around the free throw line and took almost all jump shots. He didn’t look remotely similar to the beast that emerged last season.
- JaVale McGee jumped at everything, committed stupid fouls, and was constantly out of place. The guy oohs and ahhs with nice blocks, but just doesn’t play smart basketball on the defensive end. He’s still a big work in progress.
- Hilton Armstrong was awful. Couldn’t stop anyone, couldn’t score. I haven’t been a big fan of his since day one, and don’t think he should be in the rotation.
- Nick Young continued to disregard his teammates and jack up terrible shots. Give his minutes away to someone else please, Flip. Speaking of the coach…
- The Wizards are a young squad without a true identity yet. If you tell them to run a play every time down the floor, they will do it, but not very well. These guys haven’t developed a strong basketball IQ yet, and until they do, every single play they run will be bare-boned with plenty of mistakes. Flip Saunders made the Wizards slow down the tempo too much, even during fastbreak opportunities. If you want a young team to have a chance, you have to let them run more. John Wall looked out of place setting up halfcourt sets so often, and no one on the Wizards ran any of the plays smoothly.