It’s finally here: the opportunity to see the newest additions in a Washington Wizards uniform. Today at 8 pm, the Wizards Summer League team, coached by Landon Tatum of the Capital City Go-Go will face the Indiana Pacers in the first game of the tournament. The game will be played at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas and will be televised on ESPN2.
This will be an excellent opportunity to see what the young Wizards can do. The team will be led by the Wizards’ 7th overall pick in the 2023 Draft, Bilal Coulibaly, and Johny Davis, the 10th overall pick a year ago. The chemistry between the two and how each of them performs individually will be the most important thing to watch throughout the summer.
For Davis, the most crucial skill development to watch out for is his playmaking and ability to create separation and good shots for himself. He will get plenty of opportunities to showcase his on-ball ability, and how well he does this summer will be an important factor for his role and playing time next season. He will need to be able to demonstrate that he can create good looks for himself and his teammates and score at an efficient clip.
For Coulibaly, his defensive ability is the most important thing to watch out for. In the near term, Coulibaly’s main role will be as a defensive disruptor and tone-setter. How well he fares against the best players in the Summer League will be fascinating. Against Indiana, he will likely get some reps against the likes of Ben Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard. If Coulibaly can stay in front of them reasonably well, it will be a great sign going forward. If he can make some plays offensively without turning the ball over too much and hit open jumpers, that will be more than satisfactory for the Wizards for now.
Another player to watch out for tonight is the Washington Wizards’ 42nd overall pick in the draft, Tristan Vukcevic. The 20-year-old Serbian is a skilled offensive center who can put the ball in the basket from anywhere. The question marks about him are about his athleticism and defense. If he can prove he can survive defensively in the pace and space style of NBA basketball, he can carve himself a role on the team in the 2023-24 season.
The latest additions to the Wizards’ Summer League roster, Patrick Baldwin Jr and Ryan Rollins will also have a chance to show what they are capable of in a larger role on their new team. They might have an opportunity to start and play significant minutes. Baldwin Jr profiles as a stretch four with a versatile outside shot while Rollins is a tough shot-maker and scorer. How confident each of them is with their jump shot and how well they score will determine their role on the Wizards next season.
Despite all this, the most important thing to remember while watching Summer League is to not overreact. Player development is not linear. Certain prospects will blossom earlier and some will be late bloomers, and this will take time and patience, so the best thing we can do is sit back and enjoy the ride.