The Washington Wizards were defeated by the Charlotte Bobcats in their preseason opener 100-88. There are plenty of reasons not to read too much into this game. Many of the Wizards best players did play the game, some because of injury, like John Wall and Nene, and some based on Whitman’s choice, like Emeka Okafor and Trevor Booker. Also, it was a preseason game, meaning many of the Wizards might not be giving their all while Wittman might be experimenting with lineups. Nonetheless, it was overall a disappointing effort by the Wizards against one of the worst teams in the NBA last year.
Almost thankfully, the game was not televised or on the radio, so all further observations came from the box score and following the play by play online:
- First the good: Bradley Beal played well as the go to option on offense. He had one of the highest FG% on the team while taking the most shots (7-17), hit half of his threes (2-4), and tied for leading the team in scoring (18). As long as Wall and potentially Nene are out, the Wizards need a new first option on offense. Beal did a pretty good job proving it should be him.
- Martel Webster put on quite a show. He shot 50% from the floor (6-12) and was tied with Beal for the highest scoring on the team. He also went to the line more than any other Wizards (3), which indicative of the way he drove to the line and drew contact. If Webster continues to play like this, he might be able to get consistent minutes, not just time in lineups made to stretch the floor.
- Chris Singleton played very well at Power Forward, scoring 9 points and a team high 9 rebounds. The problem is that the Wizards already have a huge logjam at power forward, and any time he would get there is sparse. Still any good play is encouraging, even if it might not be able to be replicated.
- Shelvin Mack didn’t shoot very well (1-6), but managed the game well at point, dishing out 7 assists on 0 turnovers. He played much better than the other two Wizards competing for the job, Crawford and Price.
- Kevin Seraphin was probably the most mixed story of the afternoon. While he was second on the team in scoring, he wasn’t very efficient, going 5-14 from the field. He didn’t show some diversity I was hoping for, mostly staying inside the paint instead of venturing out for a jumper. And he still didn’t rebound very well, grabbing only 4 on the game.
- The veterans that are going to be really important if Nene and Wall miss the start of the season played very badly. Jordan Crawford went 3-12 and had 3 turnovers. Trevor Ariza went 2-8 and had 6 turnovers. A.J. Price went 3-10 and had 5 turnovers. All of them had a plus-minus of -14, which might not mean much in the abstract, but does in this instance because it was a trait they all shared. If the Wizards want to be able to make a push for the playoffs, the veterans HAVE to play better than they did today in Wall’s absence.
- Jan Vesely didn’t play well. He went 1-5 and got 6 fouls. His only positive was seven rebounds.
- Overall, team defense was atrocious. With the Wizards top scoring options out to start the year, the Wizards need to do better than letting an offensively challenged team like the Bobcats drop 100 on them. And that doesn’t mean aggressive, it means smart. An aggressive approach like the one that the Wizards had today sends the Bobcats to the FT line just gives them 31 free points from the free throw line.