3 Wizards Summer League Players who Disappointed

Johnny Davis #5 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Johnny Davis #5 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Vernon Carey Jr., Washington Wizards.
Vernon Carey Jr. #22 of the Washington Wizards. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

Wizards who Disappointed in Summer League: No. 3 – Vernon Carey Jr.

Vernon Carey Jr. was the 32nd overall selection in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Charlotte Hornets took him early in round two following his lone season playing at Duke.  He barely saw the floor for them before being sent to the Washington Wizards as part of the Montrezl Harrell trade.

Last year in Washington, the undersized big man saw a grand total of 27 minutes over the course of three appearances at the NBA level. He holds a roster spot that probably isn’t going to anyone else, but he has shown little ability to get NBA minutes let alone offered evidence he can be productive in those minutes.

His summer wasn’t terrible overall, either. Carey Jr. flashed at different times but spent the majority of his minutes looking like a big man who clearly needs time to develop still before getting consistent NBA minutes.

That would be fine if it weren’t for the importance of the roster spot he holds. The recent signing of Taj Gibson helps the situation, but the Wizards are still a bit thin in the front court when all things are considered. We know Kristaps Porzingis’s injury history and his primary backup at the five is Daniel Gafford, who averaged over 20 minutes per game (20.1) for the first time in his career last year.

At worst, Carey Jr. had a fighting chance at being the emergency five that can bring a little depth if and when needed. It will be needed at least once throughout the course of the upcoming year.

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A couple of fouls, rebounds and easy finishes when asked and help eating minutes against stronger NBA centers. That’s a massive reach, we were reminded during the NBA Summer League.

Carey Jr. had a nice 15-11 showing against the Suns, but that’s a reminder about his long-term outlook.  His other two appearances in the Summer League offered a reminder of why he can’t play a serious role yet.

Specifically, what he didn’t do on the glass shows why he won’t be ready for an impact role yet if the Wizards are going to win games. Against the Pistons talented frontcourt of Jalen Duren and Isaiah Stewart, Carey Jr. grabbed just four rebounds in just under 16 minutes. He grabbed four rebounds in his other appearance, as well.

NBA-ready big men, especially ones that can get minutes on this Wizards roster, need to show up and eat rebounds at the summer league. Carey Jr. had alright averages and overall was fine, but the longshot hope was he would look ready to be a little bit more than just a project this upcoming season.

Over three games, Vernon Carey Jr. averaged 11 points and 6.3 rebounds. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but we really just needed to see a little bit more out of him.