After much anticipation, the Washington Wizards (1-3) will conclude their summer league run against Austin Rivers and the new look New Orleans Pelicans (2-2) tomorrow afternoon at 6:30 EST.
- Otto Porter has been dealing with a strained hamstring and is doubtful to play in tomorrow’s match-up. Porter has struggled throughout the summer league so it’ll be disappointing to see him finish his campaign on a low note. Despite not playing to the level we’re accustomed to seeing, Porter is apparently “up to speed” even if he doesn’t suit up for the final game. Washington is being cautious with Porter, so I’d be surprised if he gives it a go.
- Dennis Horner, who the Wizards have been experimenting with as their stretch 4 during the summer league, has shot the ball extremely well from the outside. Horner has knocked down 4 of his last 7 three point shots, and has been very impressive from the field, making 9 of his last 15 field goal tries in the past two games. At 6’9, Horner is able to stretch the floor for some of Washington’s guards, and if he continues to perform well tomorrow afternoon, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a training camp invite. Even though Horner wouldn’t be the ideal player Washington is looking for, the Wizards are still on a quest to find a forward to spread the floor for John Wall and Bradley Beal.
- Jan Vesely has probably been the most impressive Wizard this summer league. Scoring 16 points and grabbing 5 boards last game, Chis Singleton has also shown spurts of improvement, but Vesely has consistently ‘wowed’ us with his new found array of moves. Vesely has never hit a turnaround jump shot during the past two seasons, but has went to that specific move numerous times this week and it actually looks fluid. Vesely has spent some serious time in the gym this off-season and it’s been evident during the summer league. Averaging over 12 points, 7 rebounds and nearly 2 assists, Vesely has actually looked like a productive NBA player. I realize that the summer league is essentially just organized pick-up games, but it’s exciting to actually see Vesely play with some confidence. His length has made him an effective defender and his ability to run the floor could certainly help him continue growing for this upcoming season. Jan Vesely has raw talent and if his elevated confidence transitions into next season, I honestly think he could have a somewhat productive season. I’m hoping his astonishing improvement could salvage his career in D.C.
- Like Vesely, Austin Rivers has also had a surprisingly productive summer league run. Rivers had one of the worst individual seasons in NBA history this past season, but looks to have improved during the off-season. The Pelicans attempted to transition Rivers into a point guard during his rookie year, but since he’s embraced the scoring role during the summer league, he’s been a bit more productive. At one point in time, Rivers looked absolutely terrible, but his work-ethic and willingness to improve has been reflected upon his statistics- 17 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.5 APG.
Washington’s coaching staff has implemented a run and gun style of offense as a way for the Wizards to get some easy baskets, especially since summer league is known for producing a terrible brand of basketball.
If Washington takes smart shots, gets out in transition, and maintains some of New Orleans’ scoring guards, they should be able to pull out a victory.
Jan Vesely will be likely be matched up with Kansas’ Jeff Withey, who has a reputation of being a shot blocker.
The game will tip off at 6:30 EST.