July 13, 2012 Wizards Summer League Game One Grades
Jan Vesely: B
The knock on Jan heading into the offseason was that he was completely bereft of a jump shot. Though he had plenty of athleticism, his shot would be the thing holding him back from becoming a valuable player. Well, if today’s game was more statistical norm than abberation, Vesely is going to be a major contributor moving forward for this franchise. In the first half, Vesely knocked down all three of his jumpers from 15 ft. and out. He looked to have a newfound confidence in his shot, and it certainly showed. If he can continue doing things like that, as well as contributing with his defensive length, his career is going to be more like Andrei Kirilenko’s rather than (insert Euro bust here). On the night, he finished with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
He did miss three dunk attempts, which was a very disheartening thing to see, but somehow I don’t think that’s going to define his career. What Vesely needed to work on was being a more controlled player. He picked up 10 fouls in a Summer League game! That’s a joke, and shows me that he really has some work to do mentally in not getting overexcited out there. Part of the reason he was picking up fouls as such a high rate was because Shavlik Randolph and Kim Tillie were doing their best traffic cone impression out there. But a sixth pick shouldn’t be out there to collect fouls, he should be able to contribute in a lot of ways.
Chris Singleton: B+
Singleton deserves an A, but I’m not inclined to give out any of those. Despite struggling in the first half with turnovers (he had 4 total), Singleton picked it up to finish strong with 20 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 2 blocks. It’s not his offense that is going to be his ticket into the NBA, but his versatility is becoming harder and harder to ignore. Sure, he has a very hard time getting to the basket because he can’t dribble, but his defense more than makes up for it. Singleton showed off his nose for grabbing steals, oftentimes just taking the ball from defenders using quick hands. He always seems to be in position on defense and rarely gets beaten in a one-on-one scenario. He just looks like a player who is going to stick in the NBA as a great defender, and his rebounding ability has greatly improved. His positioning helped, and as a result he was the best rebounder on the court.
But then, we already knew that. And don’t let his 18 points fool you, those were very hard earned buckets. He didn’t score those with ease, and they weren’t always pretty. Singleton gets his shots in crafty ways, like on the fastbreak off of steals or wide open threes after beating his defender in a crowd. It’s not necessarily going to translate amazingly at the pro level, as we evidenced similar play last year, but he did look a lot more assertive today. Unfortunately, that assertiveness comes at a cost; Singleton turned it over five times. His ball handling isn’t where it needs to be just yet, and he has to continue to show that he has enough quickness to beat anyone off the dribble. All in all, I’m not upset with his performance, but I expected this from him.
Tomas Satoransky: D
Satoransky wasn’t expected to do much, and turning it over three times in 5 minutes was pretty much par for the course. Tomas was flat out bad, and it shows why he is going to be considered a project. Another year in Spain playing top level competition will do him some good, because in his short stint with the Wizards he looked overmatched.
One thing he did well, though, was move the ball. When he’s not turning it over, he does know how to cut into the lane and make nice, spot on passes to bigs down low in the paint. Other than that, the cupboard is barren.
For the most part he was just hard to watch, guys.
Shelvin Mack: D
Shelvin Mack really wasn’t able to manage the offense with the poise of a backup point guard. He’s a step slow in everything he does, and the offense doesn’t flow when he has the ball. Mack dribbled into defenders too many times to not mention it, and failed to create too many shots for anyone. In fact, when he didn’t have the ball everything else started clicking. He defends just as well as he did last season, but he’s not going to completely shut down anyone. Mack’s jumper wasn’t really impressive either, and it showed little improvement from last season, where it was pretty horrible.
If Mack can’t get better and impress during this summer league, he may have to look elsewhere for a job because the Wizards could desperately use a veteran backup to spell Wall.
Bradley Beal: A
Real Deal Beal was everything the Washington Wizards expected when they drafted him, scoring 22 points in 33 minutes of play. Beal looked a little slow at first, but that’s because we didn’t realize that his game is just always completely under control. He never forces anything (almost to a fault), and gets shots within the flow of the game. He hit jumpers from everywhere on the floor, three pointers, long two’s, pull up jumpers at the top of the key. You name it, Beal shot it. He also showed, at least at first, an agressive side in that he got to the line a whole lot. Beal finished strong after contact and drove to the line looking for it. His sturdy frame really shows when he’s going at the rim, because he’s able to absorb hits and maintain body control.
One thing Beal might want to work on is his defense, because even though he got two blocks, he tended to sag off of defenders. I’m not suggesting he’s bad at defense at all, because he’s not. He gets in front of his man all the time, but I think he might be trying to compensate for his slower first step by backing off people around the perimeter. He also didn’t grab a single rebound despite being billed as one of the best rebounders at his position in college. That’s largely due to the size difference in the pro’s and not being aggressive enough in grabbing boards.
Either way, it’s incredibly hard to be upset with his first game in a Wizards jersey. Bradley Beal flat out killed it tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing him throughout this summer.
Everyone else: D
Where to begin with the players the Wizards brought in? Kim Tillie and Shavlik Randolph were horrible at the center position. They were completely abused down low, and looked like they hadn’t played basketball outside of a rec gym in a long time. The Wizards couldn’t find better talent than these two? Offensively, neither player hit a single shot from the field, though Tillie contributed with 6 points off of free throws. He drew contact down low, but didn’t show any amount of offensive game. Their five rebounds combined were pretty bad. Going forward, I’m not expecting them to get as many minutes on the floor.
In the backcourt, it didn’t really get much better. Ravern Johnson looked as he always has: like a chicken wing. He did come in immediately and hit a three pointer, showing off the range that made him dangerous in college. Other than that, he didn’t do anything of note and looks like the only way he’ll make a roster is as a three point specialist.
Earl Calloway was the only impressive player, to me. At 28 years old and having played numerous seasons of professional basketball overseas, it showed in his short amount of playing time. Calloway played with a bit of court savvy that’s hard to describe, but signifies that he knows how to manage an offense. That’s not a great thing, but he did have 7 points in 9 minutes, and I’d like to see him working with the first team offense to see how he sets people up.