What The Wizards Learned In Las Vegas

The Wizards ended their five-game summer league in Las Vegas after they walked off the floor victorious at the Thomas and Mack Center Wednesday evening. And now the team has roughly two more months until training camp opens up.

So what’s next?

The draft has come and gone. Free agency has slowed considerably. The team has already used their amnesty provision on Andray Blatche.

Now it’s about looking forward to the 2012-2013 season, but before we do that, let’s reflect. And let’s reflect on what we learned in Las Vegas during the summer league.

I guess you could say that our pre-draft opinions of Bradley Beal were reaffirmed. He struggled shooting at times, but he displayed every bit of his wide array of talent. So did we ultimately learn anything new in Las Vegas about Beal? Not really.

Before the summer league began, I wondered if we would see improvement in Jan Vesely’s jump shot — and we did. Vesely still struggled with fouling; his hands did not seem improved in handling passes; and his rebounding left a lot to be desired. But he hit jump shots consecutively — sometimes two and three in a row from mid-range — and he looked confident on the floor, which wasn’t always the case during his rookie year.

So that’s the positive. What’s the negative?

The Wizards don’t have a backup point guard on their roster.

Last season the team hoped they had their long-term backup point guard in Shelvin Mack. But now that hope has dimmed to the point where I can’t even fathom the idea of having Mack backing up Wall once the regular season tips off.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it; Shelvin Mack’s summer league experience was all kinds of awful. His defense was pretty good at times. However, he looked lost offensively, he turned the ball over on a regular basis, and his lack of athleticism was on full display.

Unfortunately, the backup point guard market is pretty dried up at this point. Kirk Hinrich signed with the Bulls; John Lucas III is nearing a deal with the Raptors; C.J. Watson signed with the Nets. Veteran journeymen (and former Wizards) like Earl Boykins and Mike James are still available, but they aren’t options you want to have to go. Then there are guys like Jannero Pargo, Keyon Dooling, or A.J. Price that make a lot more sense given the remaining options. And barring a trade or someone being waived (like Shaun Livingston), the team will have to go to one of those three aforementioned veterans to give John Wall a rest.

I don’t think you can learn a whole lot from summer league games, but Jan Vesely’s jump shot was definitely improved and Shelvin Mack definitely did not look like a NBA caliber point guard.

Those are two things I know for sure.

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Tags: Summer League

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