Category Archives: Summer League
By: Willis and Bohlin
The Maryland Terrapins and the Georgetown Hoyas have quite a few players competing for roster spots this year in the NBA Summer League installments in both Orlando and Las Vegas. The DC Dime has been following these former Hoyas and Terrapins stand outs as they continue to chase their NBA dreams, in this post we will break down what these players have done up to this point.
Hollis Thompson: As we previously posted, Hollis Thompson signed a three-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder after going undrafted. Thompson had been nursing a groin injury for which he had to have minor surgery. This procedure has kept Thompson from competing in any summer league games for the Thunder. All indications are that Thompson will be with the Thunder after training camp and into the regular season so this should only be a minor bump in the road for Thompson as he begins what will hopefully be a long NBA career.
Henry Sims: Sims is pulling double duty this summer and played for the Utah Jazz entry in the Orlando Summer League and is also on the Chicago Bulls roster for the Vegas Summer League, basketball obviously never stops for Sims. Sims had trouble getting steady minutes with the Jazz summer league team averaging only 11 minutes per contest. In those 11 minutes per game of playing time Sims was able to average 4 PPG and 2 RPG.
While these numbers will not blow anyone away they were more than enough to garner Sims an invitation to play with the Chicago Bulls entry in the Vegas Summer League this week. Sims made his Bulls summer league debut last night and chipped in four points to go along with six rebounds. With the Bulls recent loss of Omar Asik to the Rockets in free agency there is a more than decent chance that Sims, if he performs to the level he did his senior year at Georgetown, could realistically receive an invitation to training camp and have a legitimate chance at making the Bulls roster. If you want to catch Sims in action in Las Vegas his next game will be today, July 18th, at 6 pm EST against the Houston Rockets.
Jason Clark: Jason Clark has fared rather well through two games with the Miami Heat entry in the Vegas Summer League. Even though the stats don’t show it in his VSL debut against Toronto where he did not register one point, rebound or assist, Clark was very much involved in the action. For some reason however, his teammates were not looking to get him involved on offense. Despite this Clark did quite the job when given the opportunity to guard Raptors lottery pick Terrence Ross as Clark helped hold Ross to only 14 points on 14 shots.
Clark was more aggressive on the offense end in his second game, a 50 point blowout win against the hapless Los Angeles Lakers summer league team. In this matchup Clark was able to contribute six points, five rebounds, one block and one assist. Clark will need to continue to pour in these types of contributions to the Heat in order to receive an invite to training camp but knowing his work ethic I have little doubt in my mind he will continue to perform. If you want to catch Jason Clark’s next game in Las Vegas his Miami Heat will be going up against the run and gun Golden State Warriors tonight at 10:30 pm EST on NBA TV.
Terrell Stoglin: There’s not a whole lot to report on for the 6’1 Stoglin, who decided to forgo his junior year at Maryland, yet remained undrafted. Stoglin is not playing many minutes for the Toronto Raptors this summer, and even though he has appeared in 3 games thus far, the results have not been good. Stoglin’s most prominent performance came against the Miami Heat, where he played 5 total minutes. In those minutes, he got to the line twice and scored 5 points right off the bat. His aggressive mentality that he showed off in college also came out that game immediately. While you’d think he would get more minutes, that simply isn’t going to be happening this summer. I’m sure the Raptors aren’t disappointed with his play, but in order for them to truly gauge his abilities, they need to showcase him a little more.
Ekene Ibekwe: Yes, there has been an Ibekwe sighting in Las Vegas! Ekene is playing for the Portland Trailblazers this summer, and he has appeared in two games thus far (playing 10 minutes in both). I got the chance to see both games, and Ibekwe has shown off his rebounding ability that he had way back in ’07 for the Terps. He has collected 7 rebounds so far (4 against Miami, 3 against Houston), playing hard and trying to show his value as an offensive board cleaner. Ibekwe’s shot hasn’t gone down a lot, as evidenced by his 2-of-7 shooting in two games thus far, but the fact that he’s looking to score and getting quality chances is something, right?
Tags: basketball, Big East, ekene ibekwe, ernie sims, Georgetown, Georgetown Hoyas, Hollis Thompson, Hoyas, jason clark, Maryland, Maryland Terrapins, nba, sports, Stoglin, Summer League, Terps, Terrapins, Terrell Stoglin, vegas summer league
Bradley Beal: C
I suppose Bradley Beal eventually had to have a relatively poor game during this Summer League. After shooting 41% over his first three games as a Washington Wizard, Beal came back to earth Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies with a relatively poor 14 point performance on 5-of-15 shooting (33%). Beal didn’t look for his shot early on, and the result was that he appeared to be going through the motions. I was particularly disappointed with his drifting around the perimeter on offense, where he didn’t seem very engaged in the offense. Beal didn’t really get to the line in the same manner as the last three games, where he shot 28 total free throws (tonight he had 4 but missed two). What made him so impressive the last few games was his ability to draw contact, because believe it or not his shooting, while it looks pretty, wasn’t lights out. If he isn’t doing that, he’s got to figure out other ways to impact the game, or at the very least draw contact.
On a brighter note, Beal continued to impress with his rebound ability that he showed off in college. He grabbed six rebounds on Tuesday, which brings his total in the last three games to 16 (not a shabby number for a guard). If Beal’s shot is not going down, he either has to demand it more and shoot out of the temporary slump, or get to the line. If not, then get others even more involved by creating open shots. But by and large, tonight was not one Beal’s best, hence the low grade.
Shelvin Mack: D
A good barometer in deciding how effective a point guard is playing during any game is whether or not they have more assists than turnovers. It’s not an exact science, but it’s an indicator of how well a point guard is creating plays and protecting the ball. If we hold Shelvin Mack to this standard, he has been absolutely horrible during this Summer League; Tuesday was no different. Mack coughed the ball up 5 times yesterday, bringing his four game total up to a disastrous 16. He also had 4 assists, but that wasn’t enough to offset his poor play with the ball. When the competition is not as good, players should thrive; instead, Mack has played worse. And his shot isn’t going in either, as his 3-of-9 shooting performance brought his summer league average to 38% from the field.
Perhaps the worst part about Mack’s game is the fact that he got flayed by Josh Selby all night long. He looked like a traffic cone the majority of the night, and Selby (not the greatest player ever) blew by him like an Enzo Ferrari. Mack was just too slow to guard anyone, and while we had our suspicions during previous games, tonight made his weaknesses glaringly apparent. It’s been a tough summer for Mack, and he has really put his future with the Wizards into question.
Chris Singleton: B-
Singleton has been a very confident player throughout this Summer League, taking a lot of shots and affecting the game in a lot of facts with his aggressiveness. Against Memphis, Singleton’s shot just wasn’t going in, as he was held to a 3-of-12 performance from the field. He was kind of overextending himself out there, and forced up a lot of unnecessary, low percentage jumpers all over the court. Those skills just aren’t in his repertoire yet, and he would be better suited playing a more conservative style. Singleton may just be feeling out what he can and cannot do with this newly found confidence, and the Summer League is the perfect place to do such a thing.
What helped Singleton offset his poor shooting performance is his tenacity. He got to the line 7 times and made 6 of his attempts; he grabbed double-digit rebounds for the first time this summer with 10 boards; he had three steals. Singleton is just so good at being a glue guy that even when his shot is not going in, he has a Shane Battier type effect on the game because of his need to go 100% all the time. As ugly as his game looks sometimes, he is always going to give you a consistent effort. Sometimes it just doesn’t show in the box score.
Jan Vesely: C+
Jan is a young project with tons of potential, but because of that fact most of the games he plays are going to be all over the place. When he is blocking shots, he isn’t passing. When he’s grabbing steals, he’s turning the ball over. When he’s shooting well, he’s missing dunks. It goes on and on because Jan can’t put an entire, complete, game together just yet. Tonight was no different, as Jan had one of his best rebounding performances as a Wizard on Tuesday with 12 rebounds, including 5 of those on the offensive glass. He was active on the boards down low, and it was clear that something clicked for him, making him realize that with his length it should be hard for anyone to outrebound him. While his jumper wasn’t going down today, he still looked to take it and that alone is a progression from last year. That’s the good part.
The bad part is that Jan failed to hold onto the ball, turning it over an alarmingly high 5 times. For a big man playing against a Memphis team bereft of quality big men, that number is simply unacceptable. Again, this goes back to Jan not being able to play a complete game just yet, but it still isn’t good. If Jan wants to play any minutes at small forward, his ball protection has to continue to develop. Oh, and he still had 6 fouls. #makingthemostofit
Steven Gray: B+
Gray finally showed off his shooting ability that made him so effective during college at Gonzaga. Gray scored 8 points in 18 minutes of play, bolstered by his 2-of-4 shooting from long range. He moved well without the ball and spaced the floor, getting wide open looks around the perimeter. If he keeps this sharp shooting up in his final game, he could very well get an invite from the Wizards in his final game. I still have questions about his athleticism and whether or not he can fight through picks or defend anything, but for now we’ll focus on the positives.
LaRon Dendy: B+
#UnleashTheDendy finally happened Tuesday, as LaRon got the most minutes he has all Summer League long. It wasn’t much, but in the 9 minutes that Dendy played, you could clearly see why I was harping about this kid so much. He extended possession after possession on the offensive glass with his knack for being in the right place down low. He never leaves that spot, and his 3 offensive rebounds are only a fraction of the plays he actually affected. That’s what I like the most about him; he is very tough down low and longer than his 6’9 measurement suggests.
Dendy also showed off his scoring ability and soft touch, connecting on 4-of-6 shots of 8 total points. All of them came from down low, but that’s what he is built to do. I fully expect him to get more minutes next game given his impressive “debut” with the Wizards. Defensively, he looked a tad slow on his help defense and I think it’s an area that Dendy really needs to work on. It looked like he was not fully prepared for the speed of the NBA game, but that is likely to change.
Note: Shavlik Randolph had himself an A game with 16 points and 15 rebounds, but I really, highly, doubt that he fits in with the future of the Wizards. Therefore, he gets two sentences.
One of the more obscure players on the Washington Wizards Summer League roster is a guy by the name of Earl Calloway. Calloway’s career is a testament to the fact that an NBA roster spot is a remarkably elusive goal to attain. That being said, his career to this point also shows off the fact that there are other ways to make a living playing basketball that don’t involve the NBA. Even though most basketball fans in America barely give a glance over at the Euro League standings, there happens to be loads of talent over there playing some incredibly good ball. One of those players is the guy we’re covering today.
Calloway was born in 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia, which believe it or not makes him a little under two years younger than 11-year veteran guard Tony Parker. He played his high school basketball at Atlanta Westlake, where he is a bit of a local legend. During his senior year, way back in 2002, Calloway was named a member of Street & Smith’s All-American team (S & S was merged into TSN’s publication back in 2007, so that’s why the accolade may not ring a bell). He was also first team All-State in Georgia after dishing out a record 632 assists (at around 9 assists per game). Calloway led his team to a 31-1 record and the 4A State Championship, finishing his career with 1,300 points. Despite these great achievements in high school, Calloway would face an uphill battle in becoming a college superstar.
Instead of signing with a top ranked program, as his abilities would suggest he should, Calloway decided to enroll at Georgia Perimeter College. GPC is actually an enormous junior college, with over 26,000 people enrolled per year as of 2011 (for reference, it’s about 6,000 shy of the University of Georgia). It is by no means a small school, and is actually a very accomplished JUCO program. While there, Calloway managed to become an NJCAA All-American and GJCAA All-Conference after averaging 18 points, 5 steals, and 4.8 assists per game. After being successful there, he caught a break with a major college program in New Mexico State.
Unfortunately, Calloway didn’t have such a great time with the Aggies as he thought he would, because nothing went as planned. After traveling across the country from Atlanta, Calloway played scant minutes backing up Jason Fontenent (the former Oregon State transfer). Earl finished the season averaging 1.9 points per game, and appearing in 28 games. He was more than likely a bit more talented than Fontenet, but like most freshman, had to wait his turn. That turn never came to fruition, though, because Calloway was suspended indefinitely during his sophomore season after violating team rules. It’s hard to say exactly what he did, but one can be sure that it was a serious offense because he was suspended for the entire season.
After having enough of the Aggies, Calloway became the first junior college player since 1999 to transfer into Indiana University. It was as a Hoosier that Calloway’s career finally started to take off. During his first year there in ’05-’06, Earl averaged 5.7 points per game while shooting 37% from long range while playing around 19 minutes per game. Calloway finished the season incredibly strong, including an 18 point on 8-of-9 shooting, 6 steal performance against San Diego State University and a near triple-double (13 points, 10 assists, 9 rebounds) against Gonzaga. This allowed him to secure the starting guard spot for Indiana during his final season at Indiana. He followed up that strong performance next season (his senior season), where he averaged career highs in points (9.6), assists(4.3), and rebounds (3.2) while playing in 29 games.
Upon finishing his career at Indiana, Calloway’s performance, while improved, did not merit being drafted into the NBA. Instead, Calloway played in the NBDL for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in hopes of gaining some attention there from NBA scouts. He followed that up by being named the MVP of the team after averaging 19 points per game and shooting 40% from three point range. During 50 games as the point guard there, he racked up 289 assists and averaged 2 steals per game. His all around game may not have given him an NBA spot, but it did get him job offers over in Europe playing against top-level competition.
During the ’08-’09 season, Calloway found himself playing for KK Cibona, a Croatian team that competes in the A-1 Liga and Adriatic League (two top regional leagues in Europe). While there, his Cibona squad continued to absolutely pummel the competition over there as they had historically done (they’ve won 17 of the last 21 A-1 Liga Cups). While there, he proved himself to be an adept scorer in the Euroleague, averaging 12.6 points per game on 59% shooting (from two-point range) in 16 total games. That showing continued to move his career forward, as he was invited shortly after to play for the best leauge in Europe (Liga ACB) with Cajasol Sevilla in Spain.
Calloway has played with Cajasol Sevilla since 2009, and his results there have been variable. European statistics are pretty hard to decipher and translate into NBA statistics, but Calloway hasn’t been bad overall. He’s averaged around 9 points per game there, but one interesting thing to note is that Calloway also plays with Wizards second round draft pick Tomas Satoransky. That may actually have been Ernie’s reasoning for including Calloway on the Wizards Summer League roster in the first place, as he may serve as a mentor to Tomas in some ways.Perhaps one of Grunfeld’s moves makes sense now!
This entire journey brings us to Las Vegas, where Calloway has been a bright spot for the struggling Washington Wizards (1-2). Through three games, Calloway has been a sharp shooter from long range, connecting on 5-of-8 three pointers. He also collected seven rebounds over the two games he has played in, which is important because he has been dreadful at getting assists for whatever reason (he has 0 total). If Earl Calloway continues to impress, he may end up wresting the Washington Wizards’ backup point guard position away from incumbent Shelvin Mack. Here’s to hoping that Mr. Calloway can officially crack an NBA roster, regardless of if it’s the Wizards or not!
Earl Calloway Highlights!
Jan Vesely: B
You know when a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter and you’re really not supposed to talk about it? This is basically the situation with Jan Vesely right now, because he appears to have developed a
jump shot new weapon but I’m not about to speak out loud of it and jinx the entire thing. But that jump shot new weapon turns him into a completely different player than the one we saw last year. When a 6’11, long, player like Vesely has a jump shot new weapon like the one he’s been showing, it’s exceedingly difficult to try and guard. Dirk made a career out of being unguardable because of his length. If Vesely can keep this up and continue with his development in other areas of the game, look out!
That being said, his game wasn’t great overall despite his
jump shot new weapon being unleashed again. I think Vesely may have become a little gun shy after picking up 10 fouls in Game 1, because at times he looked to be disengaged down low. He didn’t play bad defense against Houston’s bigs of Terrence Jones and Royce White, but he could have had more rebounds than he did. Vesely was moving the ball relatively well on offense, but I’d like for him to be more aggressive like he was yesterday. And this time, convert the alley oops which he’s very good at getting.
Chris Singleton: C
Singleton played with a lot of tenacity, as per usual with him, but he didn’t match his fantastic summer league debut yesterday. His follow up performance was a bit of a dud, as he finished with 10 points, 2 rebounds and 2 blocks. He failed to be as active on the boards when faced with the plethora of talented wing players thrown at him by the Rockets. When he was matched up with Terrence Jones, he got beaten down low. The occasional time he was covering Jeremy Lamb, he got shots drained in his face. Singleton did make a lot of attempts to get to the basket but because his dribbling isn’t where it needs to be, he often puts up a forced ugly, ugly, jumper. He’s still developing, but I was hoping for something better from Singleton.
Tomas Satoransky: C+
After yesterday’s performance, the old adage of not judging a book by its cover rings true right now, because Satoransky erased the memory of his previous stinker. No, his game wasn’t so good that it’s going to change my mind about him being ready for the NBA, but Sato did show that he might be able to play one day. He showed a little bit of range in hitting a long two pointer, and displayed his athleticism with a big dunk (and a Vesely-esque alley oop). I guess those Czech’s like to dunk, because it’s what they’re prone to doing this summer league. Because Satoransky doesn’t have a great first step, he does a good job shielding the ball with his body, then waiting for a screen to move around.
He’s a smart player, and I wasn’t upset with his 11 point performance. He does have to work on holding onto the ball a little better, as his 8 turnovers in two games isn’t going to fly forever. But overall, you can’t be upset with him when he shows clear improvement from one day to the next.
Shelvin Mack: C+
Shelvin on the shelf Mack didn’t get as much burn today as he did yesterday (he only played 17 minutes), likely because of him being incredibly unimpressive yesterday. In the minutes he did get, however, he played much better. Sam Cassell decided to let other, more athletic guards take the ball up the court and initiate the offense. Mack thrived when he wasn’t forced to create his own shot (which he’s unqualified for), and knocked down open jumpers when his number was called. He finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists but he still couldn’t keep control of the ball as he coughed it up 3 times.
His game two was better than the first one, but I’m not sure he did a whole lot to help his case for the backup PG spot. He can’t create offense, and he’s not an amazing shooter in spite of hitting a few this game. If he can’t create , he can’t shoot as well as others, and he turns the ball over a lot, then what’s the case for keeping him with the team?
Bradley Beal: B+
Real Deal Beal couldn’t repeat his performance in game one, where he scored 22 points in his debut as a Washington Wizards, but he did show off yet another skill of his. Beal finished with 14 points, but he could have scored a whole lot more than that if he is capable of hitting over 50% of his free throws. Beal left points on the board after going 5-for-10 from the line, but the good sign is that he actually initiates contact. He was not nearly as good at drawing fouls in college, so it appears that he’s either learned the skill or taken the necessary adjustments to get the calls. That’s going to help him a whole lot more later on in the year on those nights where his shot isn’t going in (much like tonight).
Overall, he played a more well rounded game than yesterday, as he grabbed 5 rebounds in total to go along with 4 assists. Beal grabbed three offensive boards, and it’s a credit to his deceptive length. At one point, he scored on a putback with two big men to the left and the right of him; he did that because his arms are long and his positioning was right. Beal can clearly rebound, and it showed tonight. He also displayed an ability to pass the ball, throwing cross court looks with ease while creating shots for others. That may end up being a welcome surprise for John Wall, to be sure.
Steven Gray: D
Gray didn’t look like a whole lot of anything special during game two, mostly because he’s really not physically capable of playing in the NBA. He looked slow at times, failing to create his shot or stay in front of his man. Even when he did get open, he failed to knock down shots from the wings all night. He proved himself to be a pretty decent passer, though, finding Vesely for a nice bounce pass en route to a jumper. Gray finished the game with 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists, but I wasn’t impressed with his game.
Garret Siler: F (for Fat)
I really hope Siler was wearing a Tyler Perry fat suit, because if his frame is actually that 305 lb. mess that we saw on Saturday night, he doesn’t belong on an NBA floor. It was downright gross to watch him plod up and down the court, and he looked like if he played more than the 13 minutes he got then he would end up having a heart attack. I’m not going to completely bash him, but I’m not sure he’s ever hit a weight room before. Jamarcus Russell looked better than him on that court, and while he did show off some low post skill and tenacity rebounding, there is no way he can keep that up for an entire game. Andray Blatche is already out of shape, the Wizards don’t need two big men occupying the same space.
Jeff Brooks: B
Brooks was the one reserve I was relatively impressed with during tonight’s game. His 6 point, 9 rebound performance wasn’t blow you away great, but his effort level was. He seems like a very competent rebounder and someone who might be able to help Washington out in the future. Brooks turned the ball over a lot, but he also got to the line and played quite aggressively. I’m hoping he gets a little more playing time, because he might be worthwhile to have on a bad rebounding team like Washington.
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.