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When noteworthy events happen in the land of the Washington Wizards we like to break down our opinions in a feature we call the “Pick and Pop”. Ending a 12 game losing streak to open the season and winning your first game in over 200 days seemed like as good a reason as ever to polish the old P&P off to share with you all today.

1) Thoughts on finally winning a game?

Willis: Celebrate good times, come on? How am I supposed to feel about winning one game in twelve? I’m a smorgasbord of emotion, mostly because we won a game in which no one played particularly well against a sub .500 team for the first time this season. We turned the ball over way too much (16), lost the rebounding battle (45-42), shot 15 fewer shots (86-71). The difference was literally that we made one more shot. If it weren’t for Jordan Crawford and the Trail Blazers missing nearly every shot they took, this is more than likely a loss.

But again, I’ll take it, because an ugly win is still a win. Kevin Seraphin got himself a double-double, and Damian Lillard was held in check by A.J. Price (who had himself another bad shooting night). I have a hard time being upset with the effort level, although blowing that 16 point lead shows clearly that we still have to work on some things.

Bohlin: IT HAPPENED!!!  WE DID IT!!! Last night’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers was much needed for this franchise and its fan base. In typical Wizards fashion, this win did not come easy as Washington nearly choked away a double digit lead in the fourth quarter as they finished the game just one for their last eleven from the field.

That one shot was massive though. Jordan Crawford’s three pointer late in the fourth quarter and some timely free throw shooting by Emeka Okafor are what solidified this victory for the Wizards. Until Wall and Nene are back and healthy, or in Nene’s case as healthy as he can possibly be, it will take efforts like the one from last night and a few lucky bounces going our way for the Wizards to continue to notch victories under their collective belts.
2) What do we need to do to win a second game?

Willis: Continue to have some bounces go our way for once. The clutch shots toward the end of the game started going in for the Wizards, and that really helped out a bunch. Washington finally went on one of those runs that end up being insurmountable for an opposing team, and that 16 point run was what decided things. The starter still have to play better, as Ariza is not going to be 6-of-9 every game for Washington. Someone has to continue to emerge as a scorer outside of Kevin Seraphin. We’re looking at you, Bradley Beal.

That being said, the bench should simply continue their strong play with Jordan Crawford igniting the offense. I said in the offseason that his ideal role is a sixth man who can command a second unit and beat up on “scrubs”, and that’s what Crawford does. Portland’s second unit was horrible, and the Wizards beat them down.

Bohlin: Compete. The fact of the matter is that right now the Wizards don’t have the talent necessary to win NBA games with any sort of consistency. When a team is lacking in that area their best chance to be successful lies in the amount of effort they put towards their goal, victory. Until the Wizards get John Wall and Nene back for the long haul this team is going to have to outwork every opponent they face if they want to continue to enjoy the feeling that was felt throughout the Verizon Center by the Wizards faithful last night.

3) What is your starting five and why?

Willis: Beal, Crawford, Singleton, Nene, and Okafor

I don’t care if this means the Wizards don’t have a point guard, but I think these five give the Wizards the best chance to win and score points. Nene can dish out to Bradley Beal at the point, Crawford, at times, has proven himself to be a talented passer, and Singleton is a defensive presence that can guard wing players effectively. Meanwhile, Okafor takes up space. You could argue that Seraphin should be in there, but Nene and him are very similar in nature and would not really mesh that well.

I keep Beal in there as a starter because he simply has to get minutes. Relegating him to the bench with scant minutes and pummeling his already fragile confidence is the wrong thing to do. Eventually, he’s going to figure out how to play the game, and that comes with experience. No, we don’t want to give him the experience of losing, but when Washington won that game he really had nothing to do with it. His play was poor, and he got benched. He should still start.


1)      Shaun Livingston

2)      Jordan Crawford

3)      Trevor Ariza

4)      Kevin Seraphin

5)      Emeka Okafor

The rotation for the Wizards has been a point of contention for a couple of weeks now. Randy Wittman has tried just about every possible combination imaginable for this team through the first 13 games and until last night not a single one of them had proven to be effective enough to win a game. If I making the lineups for Washington night in and night out this is how I would start each and every game until Wall and Nene return.

With Livingston running the offense players such as Jordan Crawford have the opportunity to do what they do best, score, because Livingston’s first inclination on offense is to create for others as A.J. Price’s first inclination has seemed to lie closer to finding his own shot.

Jordan Crawford, to this point, has been our most reliable offensive weapon which is saying a lot considering his reputation of being a volume shooter. His best role with this team will inevitably be coming off the bench as the team’s sixth man, however, with the Wizards performing as woefully on offense as they have been early on this season his inclusion into the starting lineup had to take place.

Ariza and Okafor need to start as they are our best two options at their respective positions and also the fact that they are two of the highest paid players on the team which, more times than not (Sorry Rashard Lewis), equates to big minutes and many starts over the course of 82 games.

Kevin Seraphin is my last choice as a starter. Seraphin has proven that the offensive display he put on at times in the Olympics was no fluke. His baby hook shot move in the paint has been largely unstoppable this season as Seraphin has become highly effective when taking that shot. He has earned this distinction with his play so far and will likely continue to see big minutes as the Wizards ease Nene back from his foot injury.

4) MVP and LVP so far

Willis: MVP is spelled Nene in my book. He’s our best player when healthy, and Washington plays considerably better the second he touches the floor. Without him, we’re still winless. I know he only had a modest 6 points and 6 rebounds last game, but his impact is felt in so many more ways than just in the box score.

I think back to when he actually manned the point and dribbled the ball up court (in a very unsightly manner, however), and didn’t turn the ball over. He scooped up a rebound, couldn’t find anyone right away, but took the ball up the court to eventually find a man. It’s not even a huge deal, but it’s just the smooth, calm, do-whatever-it-takes manner in which he plays that gives the Wizards a big boost of confidence.

LVP – Jan Vesely for so many reasons. He’s not very good and his PER of 4 shows that. Outside of Nene, Crawford, and Okafor, everyone else has been below average on the PER scale (15 is average, everyone aside from those three is below it). Beal and Price sit around 10, Ariza and Singleton around 13, but Vesely? Four. FOUR. He’s done nothing to convince me that he won’t be out of the league in another year or two when his contract runs out, mostly because I can’t think of anything he can do particularly well aside from rebound.

His complete lack of an offensive game from anywhere on the court outside of dunking tells me that he really, really needs to find a mentor or be relegated to trying to deflect tip ins at the end of games (as he did against Portland last night).

Bohlin: MVP: Jordan Crawford

Could you imagine how uncompetitive this team would be were it not for Jordan Crawford? Honestly, I don’t want to and am glad it is not something that is worthy of discussion. The shooting guard from Xavier has been exactly what the Wizards need him to be so far as this team has struggled to put points on the board without him on the floor. It is very likely that Crawford’s role will change as the Wizards get closer to full health but he will remain a much needed weapon nonetheless.

LVP: Jan Vesely

As much as I want him to be good for this team the progression just hasn’t been there. David Aldridge said it best on Tony Kornheiser’s radio show in DC that Jan simply “Can’t play”. Aldridge went on to say how he doesn’t feel that Vesely will last five years in the league. That is the number six overall pick we are talking about here people. In last night’s win over Portland, Jan played a total of 0.2 seconds…and that was just so he could guard the Blazers last ditch inbound pass from half court. To say Jan has been a disappointment thus far isn’t doing justice to the word disappointment. He may turn it all around and prove Aldridge, Kornheiser, myself and thousands of other Wizards fans who feel the same way wrong, and I legitimately hope he does. I just don’t see it happening for him or this franchise any time soon. It’s really hard to take up for a guy who has five more fouls on the season than he does total points and is 3-13 from the foul line.

5.)  Bradley Beal – What gives?

Willis: He can’t shoot, that’s what gives. That is largely based on the fact that he has little confidence in himself, so that will hopefully change. But he takes a lot of midrange jumpers, and those are suicide for a rookie scorer in the NBA. That’s a veteran shot, not one for the young bucks like Beal. His tendency to be inanimate on the offensive end kills him overall, and he simply has to work more on being aggressive (while playing smart at the same time).

On a positive note, he can rebound relatively well for his position, and he knows how to move the ball around and not have the offense die as soon as he touches it. But until he can start to contribute on the offensive end, which is what he was brought in to do, his play will draw the ire of Wizards fans who watch Damian Lillard, Brandon Knight, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shine.

Heck, of all the rookies playing right now, Beal has been far less impressive than almost all off them. Harrison Barnes is starting to get it, Andre Drummond has been surprisingly effective, John Henson has done the same thing. Of the first ten picks, only Terrence Ross and Austin Rivers have had less of an impact. That’s not good.

Bohlin: It has been an up and down start to young Bradley Beal’s NBA career. Being shoved into the spotlight without your starting point guard, John Wall, and one of the league’s best big men in creating space for shooters, Nene, has put him behind the 8 ball. Unlike Vesely, Bradley Beal has shown flashes of the skillset that many fans saw during his time at Florida. I said it over the summer before we drafted Beal that he will benefit more so than any other player on our roster from playing with Wall and Nene. The addition of those two to the lineup will provide Bradley with more opportunities to take open shots while not being the main focal point of the opposing defense. I still think Bradley Beal is going to be a very effective NBA player for a long time, it’s far too early to pass judgment on him otherwise.

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6:33 PM – Thirty minutes until tip off, and we’re hearing that Jan Vesely is going to start the game. Phew, now we at least know someone will be out there who can guard Gordon Hayward!

6:37 PM -  Looking at the stats, Vesely is 1-of-9 on free throws this season, so it might be wise to look out for the Hack-A-Jan strategy if things get dicey later in the game

6:39 PM – I guess tonight Wittman decided that enough was enough, the starters are now: Price, Crawford, Ariza, Vesely, and Okafor. Beal has played his way to the bench. I guess Randy was a little upset that Beal was 4 for his last 25. What’s in a number?

6:43 PM – The Utah Jazz take the court for warm ups and are met with a resounding chorus of boo’s…from all sixteen people at the arena. Mo Williams feelings = hurt

6:48 PM – Wizards come out to 2 Chainz for warm ups a bit later. All I want for my birthday is a big blowout win!

6:52 PM – While I’m not excited for the thumping that may be Okafor vs Al Jefferson, I am excited to see two forwards who play incredibly similar games go up against one another in Kevin Seraphin and Paul Millsap. The two are extremely similar in their abilities, with Millsap being a bit older and a bit better at rebounding. Seraphin, however, has a much softer touch than him, and could potentially end up having a similar career if he gets more opportunities.

6:58 PM – Fun fact: Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster are the only two Wizards who warm up with their tops off.

7:00 PM – I was right in my assumptions: the Utah Jazz do not have a good traveling fan base. Unfortunately, the Wizards do not have a good fan base…so it really doesn’t matter. This place is emptier than Jessica Simpson’s head.

7:07 PM – That awkward moment when John Wall and Nene are the features of the pregame video and neither one has suited up for the team…

7:10 PM – Big Tigga is now telling everyone to remain standing until the Wizards score…boy has he fallen off since running The Basement on BET. Well, not really. Of course, the Wizards miss their first three shots down the court, causing the elderly considerable pain.

7:12 PM – Vesely attempting to box out against Jefferson, Millsap, or Favors is going to be funny all night. Fortunately, as the ball bounced off his head we got a rebound. Note: The header is NOT illegal in basketball. It’s just strongly discouraged.

7:15 PM – Of course, the next possession someone tries to pass to him and it bounces off him for a turnover. I think Vesely is going to try the “Look Ma, no hands!” strategy this game, which I’m okay with.

7:17 PM – On the Washington Wizards T-Shirt toss, I’m confident that three or four shirts literally just fell into empty chairs due to poor form by the Wizards cheerleaders and attendance…

7:21 PM – Vesely is now 2 of 13 on the season hitting free throws! Hack-A-Jan has already begun in order to stall the Wizards 15-2 run to start the first quarter. I can honestly say that it may just work. The Jazz have come out just as they were expected to, completely flat. They may in fact be a worse road team than the Wizards, and we are the worst.

7:23 PM – Gordon Hayward and Jan Vesely both defy the notion that white guys and Europeans are shooters. But then, Marco Belinelli may have defied that trend a long time ago.

7:30 PM – Apparently Bradley Beal can name more “car models” than Trevor Ariza with 16. Except I think that the Florida school system failed Bradley because “station wagon” and “sedan” aren’t models. Ariza was going off, naming Ferarri 599′s and Range Rovers

7:35 PM – Shaun Livingston checks into the game! Forgive me if I get extremely emotional about his presence on the court. For a kid with such promise, it was truly a shame to see him go down with that knee injury earlier in his career. He has recovered to have a very good one, but I can’t help but constantly think how much better it could have been. He is, however, a perfect example (and slap in David Stern’s face) of the advantages of taking the money and running with it. Had he gone to college and sustained such an injury, there would have been no chance for him. Prime reason why that rule is stupid.

7:36 PM – Every time I see G-Wiz, I can only hope that there is a barf bag nearby

7:40 PM – Jamaal Tinsley, a relic of the days when you could jump in the stands and punch fans out in Indiana, checks into the game. The Wizards also lose their lead. Coincidence? Doubtful…

7:42 PM: Bradley Beal with his first dunk of the year! It’s good to see him do well, it’s unfortunate that he was nowhere near ready to start for the Wizards at the beginning of the season. That being said, hopefully this will help him get some confidence back and return to proper form. I still have my reservations about his shot being able to fall consistently, but this is a start. Four points in the second quarter alone.

7:47 PM – Of course on the day I bash Gordon Hayward for not being all he was cracked up to be coming out of college he turns into the Hulk and drops 13 off the bench in about a quarter’s worth of playing time and dominates the Wizards. I remember watching him in college and thinking that he had the athleticism of a small forward in the NBA, because his moves were actually really silky and he could shoot a bit. Then when he came in, I realized he couldn’t shoot that well and he was just an athletic white guy who I had a man crush on during the tournament. Either way, he does have a place in the NBA somewhere.

7:52 PM – Trevor Ariza scores his 11th point of the game off a fastbreak steal. I mean, I know I’m critical of him but if he can become a defensive wing player who scores 11 points a game, I’ll be happy….

No, no I won’t. He has games like these that make you want to believe he’s a starter in the NBA, but it’s fool’s gold. I promise you it’s fool’s gold.

7:57 PM: Per my previous statements, I realized he’s dominating a game that is 33-31 with 2 minutes left in the second quarter and felt better about not being a fan of his just yet. Somehow, however, there is an entire section of Verizon chanting “MVP!” after Ariza converts an And-1. SMH

8:00 PM – Wizards lead at the half and the fans are happy. Solid 40 point outing for the first half? I’ll take it! 40-38 Wiz Kids

8:20 PM – Al Jefferson starts off the second half by giving Emeka Okafor a quick four points. It only took a half of basketball, but there’s a good chance from here on out Emeka is going to get lit up.

8:25 PM – AJ Price securing his status as the human microwave by hitting two three pointers, stealing the ball, making a layup, and then getting an assist to put the Wizards up 53-45. I love it when AJ is like this, I hate it when AJ is like how he could very well be the rest of the game (ill advised three point shots early in the clock). Such is life with Price.

8:30 PM – Here’s a beef with Jordan Crawford. Vesely extends a play with a fantastic rebound on the offensive end and mid air passes to Jordan Crawford for a wide open jumper. Crawford then backs up to the three point line, looking down to ensure that he’s behind it, and shoots a three pointer. While his head is still down looking at the three point line. Obvious miss.

8:35 PM – As predicted, Al Jefferson has 15 points and is now giving Emeka Okafor work from everywhere on the court. Even if Jefferson is the softest center since Kwame Brown to step foot in the Verizon Center, he is a great rebounder and absolutely kills so-so centers. Offensive machine.

8:40 PM – Nene looks great in a suit….

8:45 PM – Shaun Livingston just looks great on a basketball court. Running hook for two points, his game is throwback like an opposing team’s home run ball

8:50 PM – I think it’s safe to say the Wizards need to work on their interior play. Favors just jammed over two players, but Jefferson has been running roughshod over the Wizards the entire game. It’s not a matter of effort, it’s a matter of being taught the proper positioning in the first place. Talking to you, Randy.

8:55 PM – Bradley Beal finally enters the game a little into the fourth quarter. He didn’t touch the court during the third and I’m wondering why. Not that it really mattered, because the Wizards were up anyway. But they’re down now, so maybe he should play. That’s my logic and I’m sticking to it.

8:56 PM – If Derrick Favors had missed both free throws, the entire arena would have won a free Chik-Fil-A sammie. Never heard Verizon louder than at that moment. Maryland, everyone.

9:00 PM – Five minutes left, the Wizards are down five points. This is where they shine!

9:01 PM – Correction. This is when Randy Wittman shines. Chris Singleton is in the game after sitting the first three quarters. Randy must have been impressed with his cheering ability. Me? Not so much.

9:05 PM -Correction again. The Wizards are now down 80-69 with 2 minutes and some change left. This is not their time to shine. What in God’s name happened?

9:07 PM – The entire stadium is emptying out, but the game is far from over. I have seen Tracy McGrady score like 13 points in 3 seconds so I don’t see what the BFD is

9:10 PM – That’s a ball game, ladies and gentlemen….Wizards let one slip right through their fingers 80-71…well it’s 80-71 with 45 seconds left so I think you can get the picture.

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By: Bohlin

Perhaps it the fact the Wizards were coming off their third game in as many nights, or it could have been that they did not take the D-League Select team, made up of the top players form last season who had not caught on with a team this summer, as seriously as they should’ve. Either way, the Wizards were dealt their second loss in their first three games in the Vegas Summer League after the D-League Select team withstood a late push by the Wizards to hold on for an 85-78 victory Sunday night.
The D-League Select team stormed out of the gate with a 9-0 run looking like the team that was much more prepared for the game. Shelvin Mack, presumably thinking we were in the white uniforms again last night, was turning the ball over left and right and the D-League took advantage. The Wizards battled back though and managed to cut the D-League Select lead to only three,19-16, by the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter was dominated by the Wizards as they outscored the D-League Select team 21-9. Earl Calloway got the Wizards started with two big three pointers on successive possessions and then Shelvin Mack and Bradley Beal took over going on a 14-2 run by themselves. Beal matched the D-League Select team’s output in the quarter by scoring 9 points for the Wizards.
As great as the second quarter was for the Wizards, the third quarter might as well have been a bad dream. The D-League Select team absolutely owned the game coming out of the half outscoring the Wizards by a 13-2 margin. The D-League continued their run as the quarter went on eventually out scoring Washington by 18 points in the quarter.

It literally felt like I was watching two completely different teams on the floor from the second quarter to the third. The Wizards looked tired and were not as quick to loose balls and rebounds as they had been earlier in the game. While three games in three days will take a lot out of any player the majority of this roster is fighting for a mini camp invite so I was surprised to not see a better effort.

The Wizards found their legs in the fourth quarter and made a late charge but ultimately fell short. The D-League Select team was not going to let a win slip away from them and closed the Wizards out at the foul line. When a team can go 32-38 from the foul line, hitting the tough ones late in the fourth quarter, they’re going to be tough to beat. 

It was like a chapter out of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde for the Wizards on Sunday night. While, as a team, Washington fell short there were still some impressive individual performances for the Wizards worth noting.

Bradley Beal: The Wizards top pick continued to impress Sunday night finishing with a team high 20 points. While he only shot 6/15 from the field Beal lived at the foul line, converting on 7 of his 8 attempts. Beal’s outside shot was off (Shot 1/7 on the evening) but he was much more effective when he took the ball inside the arc where he was 5/8 from the field. Like we have seen in Vegas Beal is going to hit the boards and hit them hard, as evidenced by his 6 rebounds against the D-League Select team.

Shelvin Mack: Mack overcame a rough start to have a solid game. Once the case of hiccups he had with the basketball had concluded, Mack settled in and ended up being the Wizards second leading scorer finishing with 14 points. On a night where there weren’t many bright spots on offense for the Wiz Kids Mack provided Bradley Beal with some much needed support.

Chris Singleton: Singleton got the Wizards started with a ferocious dunk over a D-League defender but never seemed to settle into any sort of groove thereafter. He went 2/6 from the field the rest of the way finishing with 9 points, 8 renounds and 8 fouls, just shy of the elusive Summer League triple-double.

Jan Vesely: Jan had the type of game we have come to expect from him. He was all over the floor, seemingly involved in the action on most possessions. Vesely could have looked for his shot more, only attempting 6 shots from the field, but he contributed in other ways finishing with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. It is worth noting that Vesely is making the most of the 10 foul rule in Summer League, after fouling out in Friday’s opener Vesely picked up 8 personals last night.

Tomas Satoransky: Satoransky didn’t play his best game so far in Vegas last night. He did, however, lead the Wizards in assists with three for the game so there is that.

Earl Calloway: Calloway was a major bright spot for the Wizards last night, and seemingly the only player who could make a three-pointer. Calloway went 4/6 from behind the arc last night and was the only other Wizards player to crack double digits. I have been impressed with the 28 year old guard in his first three contests with the Wizards in the VSL. If he continues to shoot like this in our final two games he would have made a strong case for a training camp invite.

The Wizards are off until Tuesday the 17th when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies Summer League entry at 6:00 pm EST on NBA TV.

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By: Willis

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.

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By: Willis

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.

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By: Bohlin

Yesterday, the Washington Wizards officially announced their 2012 Vegas Summer League Roster. As you can see every Wizards draft pick from the last two seasons are listed on the roster. Tomas Satoransky, while on the roster, is still noncommittal to participating as he wants to continue to focus on training with the Czech National Team.

Like with any NBA Summer League team the Wizards roster is filled with familiar faces and total unknowns. That is the beauty of the summer league. Anyone (Marco Belinelli) can have a huge performance on any given day, it makes for intriguing basketball.

It will be interesting to see which players step up come tip off against the Hawks at 4 PM (EST). All Vegas Summer League games will be shown on NBA TV.

2012 Washington Wizards
Summer League Roster

3 Bradley Beal G Florida

40 Jeff Brooks F Penn State

51 Earl Calloway G Indiana

16 LaRon Dendy C Middle Tennessee St.

19 Steven Gray G Gonzaga

30 Ravern Johnson G Mississppi State

22 Shelvin Mack G Butler

32 Shavlik Randolph F Duke

14 Tomas Satoransky G Czech Republic

21 Mike Scott F Kent St.

9 Garett Siler C Augusta St.

31 Chris Singleton F Florida State

34 Kim Tillie C Utah

24 Jan Vesely F Czech Republic

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By: Bohlin

I remember the draft pick like it was yesterday – and, boy was I annoyed.

“With the sixth pick in the 2011 NBA Draft,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern dryly into a microphone, “The Washington Wizards select…Jan Vesely, forward from the Czech Republic.”

I was annoyed because everything I had read on Vesely stated he was an athletic player but was limited on the offensive end.

Why would you take a player like that in the lottery?

I was convinced Ernie Grunfeld had just said screw it, threw his hands in the air and took O-Pec 2.0 (Oleksiy Pecherov , for those of you who don’t remember the O-Pec era). This seemed like the type of move that Wizards fans have grown accustomed to seeing during the tenure of Grunfeld. I came away, much like the rest of the country, more impressed with Vesely’s post-selection smooch given to his girlfriend than the actual selection.

Yet, as it turns out, my initial reaction is precisely the reason why they play the games on the hardwood as opposed to paper.

In a lockout shortened season which featured essentially no training camp— meaning Vesely had little opportunity to gel with his new teammates before being thrust into the meaningful games— I came away more than impressed with our most recent lottery-pick player.

While his game might not be aesthetically pleasing in any way shape or form, Vesely has infused this lineup with something it has desperately lacked recently, especially in the front court: Hustle. As the season bore on and Vesely began to log more minutes before eventually cracking the starting lineup, it became plain to see that while Vesely may be a bit of a project, he will certainly be no bust.

Indeed, my fears of O-Pec 2.0 had proven unfounded; to quote Patrick Bateman, the feeling of “relief washes over me in an awesome wave.”

While his offensive game it still somewhat, well, offensive— in the not-so-good manner— everything else Vesely brings to the table for this team drastically outweighs the fact he still occasionally hits the side of the backboard and the side of the backboard alone on some jump shots.

If there is one thing you can teach any basketball player, regardless of their level of play, it’s how to shoot a jump shot. It is strictly a matter of proper mechanics and hard work in the gym.

Why am I now convinced this will not be an issue for Vesely moving forward?

In watching him improve throughout the season, not only on the floor but mentally as well with his confidence in his own abilities, I found myself blown away at times with regard to how hard Vesely seemed to be working on the floor. The guy sold out on defense every time down the floor and continuously would break out in transition and run with John Wall giving him the option to dish to Vesely so that he can do what he does best right now, finish at the rim.

This type of work ethic he displays on the court leads me to believe that, with proper coaching, he will develop a jump shot. The fact alone that Vesely has made it this far in his career without having developed a reliable shot speaks for itself, the guy is as hard of a worker as they come.

Now that I have gotten the fluff out of the way, let’s dive right into his statistics. It was almost a tale of two seasons for Vesely in his rookie campaign. The first half  was bad, as he received little to no PT in favor of Booker and Blatche. It really took until we officially shut down The Captain for Jan to begin to get solid minutes night in and night out in Wittman’s rotation.

Because of this disparity in the amount of playing time Jan was given it is hard to truly analyze his stats. Prior to March 21st, when he began logging double digit minutes per game, Vesely only took more than five shots in a game a total of six times. For this reason, I am throwing those 44 games out of the window and will focus on the final third of the season where Jan not only began to play more but slipped into the starting lineup.

Perhaps the most important stat over this stretch is the Wizards record. Starting with that March 21st date the Wizards closed the season with a record of 10-12. While this cannot be attributed solely to Vesely, it is certainly telling of how his insertion into the rotation impacted the rest of the team. A 10-12 record might not be something to fire confetti into the air over, but when you only win 20 games on the season closing like this is nothing to scoff at either.

During this stretch Vesely posted his best numbers of the year, averaging 7.6 PPG while shooting 58% from the field all the while chipping in 6.2 RPG. Going by these numbers alone, Vesely would’ve finished third amongst rookies in rebounds per game. His shooting percentage would’ve left him behind Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets amongst rookies who played more than 10 games. Lastly, his points per game would’ve landed him tied with none other than The Jimmer for 14th best amongst all rookies.

While the sample size for these averages, it speaks volumes about what we can expect from Vesely as a player when given regular minutes. For a guy I originally compared to one of the biggest busts this franchise has selected in recent memory, I must say I have made complete 180 on what I think Vesely can do for the Wizards going forward.

In an interview with Czech media that was posted today at, big thanks to them for the providing the quotes, Vesely has publicly stated that he will be a part of the Wizards Vegas Summer League team this July. This is a great move by Jan to stay in the States for at least part of the summer so he can continue to work with his coaches on improving his still raw skill set.

There have also been preliminary conversations between Vesely and the coaching staff of the Czech National Team concerning a spot on the team this summer as they prepare for Eurobasket 2013 qualifying.  “I said to him (Czech Assistant Coach Mike Taylor who came to D.C. for Vesely’s season finale) that if I can combine it (playing for the National Team) with the preparation for next season, then I can’t rule out my participation in playing for the National team. But the priority is to prepare well for the next NBA season and to improve,”.

As a Wizards fan, this is exactly what I want to hear as we move forward in the rebuild on F Street.

Remember Jan: keep your elbow straight and always reach for the cookie jar on your follow through.

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By: Bohlin

It’s a bittersweet feeling. This season may have left much to be desired record-wise, but it is hard not to go into the offseason with at least some hope about the state of our franchise. Sure, we finished with the second-worst record in the NBA and will be a fixture at next month’s lottery for what feels like the better part of the last decade, but it is hard to ignore the results on the floor. While a 6-game winning streak to close out a season where you finish 26 games under .500 is far from anything to be excited about, I saw competitiveness out of this ball club the last couple weeks that was not there at the beginning of the year (or for the larger part of two years, for that matter).

There was a culture change that occurred inside this franchise this past spring. Getting rid of players who placed their own self-interests before the team and banishing The Captain for the last two months allowed for the core we are going to build around to gel and see what being successful felt like. While the games they won may have been meaningless, this feeling is not. Winning six games in a row in the NBA is not an easy thing to do, especially for a roster made up of mostly first and second year players, and as fans we have to hope the Wizards want to keep that feeling of success going next fall.

Our front office has been rather transparent with regards to the fact that this was year two of a three-year rebuild. “There’s no turning back,” as we found out from a direct quote when Ernie Grunfeld joined the Mike Wise radio program last week and the Washington Post writer, along with co-host Christopher Johnson, for lack of a better term grilled EG for an answer to this bloggers question regarding that quote and what it meant for this team going forward (Got to love how easy it is to communicate in the Twitter age). In pure GM speak Ernie went on to speak about how we have accumulated young talent through the draft and will continue to build upon those pieces already in place. It seems we have established building blocks in Wall, Nene, Seraphin and to a much lesser, more developmental, extent Jan Vesely. It is imperative that every one of those players continues to develop their games over the offseason as I can imagine this time next spring they want to be playing meaningful games at the Phone Booth.

Contrast that with the blog post by Ted Leonsis today clarifying parts of “The Plan” for the rest of us; Leonsis wrote that the plan all along was to be bad for two years and then become good. It is so simple I can’t believe I did not think of that earlier on! It looks like we will be left hoping that the ping pong balls bounce our way once again this summer, if that happens maybe year three of the rebuild on F Street will be more entertaining than the two years that preceded it.

The impending offseason is an important one for the Wizards. If we are supposed to be taking the next step going into year three of “The Plan” we must continue to rid ourselves of dead weight (Andray Blatche pun!) as well as continue the youth movement that has started in D.C. There is promise that in this summer’s draft we will be able to land an impact player that we can pair with John Wall in order to take that next step from laughable losers to “Hey, these guys really don’t suck that bad after all”. Couple that with the addition of some assets via free agency (Something we will lay our plan out for in the coming weeks) and this team could, and should, be much more competitive in 2012-2013.

As our first (half) season covering the Washington Wizards comes to an end, I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to check out TheDCDime and hope that you stick with us over the coming months as we keep a close eye on the draft, free agency and, of course, my favorite way to waste time in July…The Vegas Summer League!!!!

*Editors note: We’re going to Vegas.

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By: Bohlin & Willis

What are your thoughts on the move?

MB: While I don’t believe it was the right move, I can understand why it was made. Ted Leonsis wanted Grunfeld to overhaul the roster and build through the draft, in effect hit the reset button on the Washington Wizards franchise. Grunfeld has done exactly what his boss wanted him to do and that in it of itself would explain why Leonsis felt comfortable extending his contract. While that is all well and good, it doesn’t take into account the lack of major success in building a winner in D.C. in the seven years prior to Leonsis taking over the team. As fans we better hope our front office is making the right decision in retaining Grunfeld as our General Manager as his track record is far from earth shattering (Grunfeld History).

MW: I feel like I just got Grunfelted, again. It’s a rarity that this sort of thing happens twice in one season, but alas here it is again. I’m a big fan of Ted Leonsis and “The Plan,” as I’ve seen the success proper rebuilds have had with the Capitals, but this was his first slip up. I just don’t understand what constitutes a fireable offense at this point during Ernie’s tenure. Was it the league’s worst record last year? Nope. Was it the league’s second worst record this year? Nope. Was it putting together some “youth (Nick Young, JaVale McGee),” and then summarily trading all of those pieces because they were “toxic” and shutting down the last one (Andray Blatche) because he was unplayably bad? Nope: This is the problem with Washington, D.C.; when will we learn from our mistakes and move in another direction? As it stands, we’re treading water.

What are your thoughts on Ernie?

MB: The numbers speak for themselves. Since taking over in June of 2003, Grunfeld is 155 games under .500 as General Manager. One second round playoff run, and three other first round exits courtesy of LeBron are his postseason accomplishments. He also gave Gilbert Arenas just short of a max contract coming off of major knee surgery. His draft record is questionable and we all are aware of his affinity for the European player. For the last nine years we have seen the same thing from Grunfeld and I have no reason to believe that will change with the youth movement in the Nations Capital.

MW: Ibid. He might be a nice guy off the court, but Ernie Grunfeld is a bad GM. How many of his drat choices have been hits? That Mike Miller and Randy Foye trade for Ricky Rubio (the draft pick we traded for those two players) turned out awesome. In fact, of all the players that Ernie has drafted, only five of them are even on the roster at this point. That’s 5 out of 16 players drafted that remain on the roster, and three of those five are from one draft class (Vesely, Mack, and Singleton). Neither one of those players are starters in the NBA at this point, and only John Wall can be even remotely in consideration for a franchise player (or a non-tradeable asset). That’s not a rebuild, that’s a joke. Grunfeld has fumbled through countless picks, and it doesn’t seem like he has the ability to lead the Wizards to the promised land. Even if, at some point, these lottery picks in Vesely, Wall, and whoever we get this year turn the Wizards into a good team, that’s not a testament to Ernie Grunfeld’s ability to form a unit; it’s a testament to what happens when tons and tons of talent plays on the same team. We may not even get that talent if Ernie decides to trade it away anyhow, since he’s already gotten rid of two Top 5 picks during his tenure.

Was this the best Washington could do?

MB: If we have plans on becoming a contender for the playoffs in the next two years then no, we did not. If “The Plan” entails another couple of seasons similar to what we’ve been watching in order to get high lottery picks to continue to build around, then we could have done worse. Let’s face it, D.C. loves a winner and while the Skins may be the biggest draw, the district is a basketball city. When this team was competitive, the Verizon Center was a great place to watch a game. This move to keep Grunfeld is going to leave a sour taste in the mouths of many Wizards fans. Personally, I believe this summers NBA Draft is the most important pick the Wizards will make in quite some time and I cannot say I have confidence that Ernie won’t screw it up if we don’t land the #1 pick.

MW: Stability is an important thing for every franchise, and in a weird way, I get the message that Ted Leonsis is trying to send with this one. Ernie doesn’t have to make any desperate moves in trying to save his hide, which could potentially have cripple the franchise in the long term. And since every single one of the players on the roster are Ernie’s, if he does have some type of plan for the Wizards to be successful, it’s best he holds the reigns. Another GM might want to take over, clean house (again), and install some of his players. I’m not sure how much more power and control we want to give to Overlord Grunfeld, though, since we’re the laughingstock of the NBA. There were much better GM options out there, however, in Billy Knight (former GM of the Atlanta Hawks), Donnie Walsh, and Mark Warkentien.

It’s only 2 years, what’s the worst that could that happen?

MB: Remaining stagnant and losing more of a fan base that has already lost interest in the product on the floor. That’s exactly what will happen if the backlash from this wildly unpopular decision is as bad as it could potentially be. People were outraged when it came out that Grunfeld allegedly turned down an extension offer we made to him a month ago. The fact that he is officially signed up for the next couple of seasons is not going to sit well with many fans, including this one.

MW: Again, ibid. There’s a good chance that next season, the Wizards could find themselves treading water at the bottom cellar of the NBA again. Look no further than the Sacramento Kings if you want an example of how stockpiling youth with a bad GM doesn’t work at all. Because for all the young players we have, not one of them has been capable of changing the game up for us. In two years, Ernie could easily trade away talented players, draft bad ones, and saddle the Wizards with another big contract to a so-so player. Believe me, in two years Ernie Grunfeld could leave this franchise in a world of hurt and a prime candidate for contraction.

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By Willis

Foreigners and Three Pointers = Your 2012 Washington Wizards

PG: John Wall finally ended his streak of sub-50% shooting on Sunday against the Raptors. His seven previous games (in which the Wizards compiled a 2-6 record), Wall had taken a total of 97 shots, but only hit 34% of them. His solution to the problem? Simply stop shooting. The Great Wall brought his shot total down to 8, and managed to hit half of them. That number would be even better if Wall decided to stop shooting three’s, which he seems to have decided he loves lately. Problem with that is, he’s not good at them; for the year he has hit 3-of-32 from deep. That number isn’t indicative to exactly how bad he is, because he does take a lot of last second shots.

As John Wall goes, so do the Wizards, and he needs to be able to score and dish in order for the team to be effective. His 13 points and 11 assists would be great for the Celtics, but the Wizards need his scoring to push them over that hump. The loss to the Raptors hurt, because it was winnable. Wall needs to shoot us into games like another certain someone…

SG: Jordan Crawford, has to try really hard to not shoot us out of games. Crawford’s play has cooled a bit from that string of eight straight games in which he scored 20 or more points. But  he was the Wizards best scorer, and was showing an ability to play the game under control. Sure enough, his propensity to take wide open, uncontested, pull up three’s early in the shot clock reared its ugly head again. Against Indiana on the 29th of March, Crawford attempted a Reggie Miller-esque 10 three pointers, making three of them. He is a dreadful shooter from long range, but can’t help himself. If Crawford could ever manage to stop taking them, or actually hit them, the he’d be a legitimate threat in this league.

His straight away speed is better than most 2-guards in the NBA, and he can finish at the rim incredibly well. He’s a fast break animal, and paired with Wall it’s scary at times to think of how much better they could be under control. Unfortunately, he plays reckless basketball that does not matriculate to wins on the court, which is a very different style of ball than…

SF: Chris Singleton, who is finally starting to show a bit of NBA ability over the last 3 games. Statistically on the year Singleton has been flat-out bad this year, but the reality is that he’s a rookie who isn’t completely prepared for the NBA yet. What Singleton needs to continue to improve on in the off-season in order to maintain some playing time is his rebounding, and his three point shooting.

As highlighted by his 4-for-4 from deep performance against the Raptors, Singleton is definitely a passable three point shooter. Dare I say that he could even become a specialist? Seriously, he’s looking more and more like the knock-down three point shooter that the Wizards could desperately use. No, he probably shouldn’t be a starter (at least not now), but his skill set is such that he can be a huge contributor off the bench with his tough play. Singleton already rebounds pretty well for a 3, and if he can score off some put backs once or twice a game on the offensive end and chip in with some three’s…then he’ll be here to stay. Which I’m not certain I could say the same for with regards to another rookie…

PF: Jan Vesely, who got his sixth start of the season on Sunday. Vesely hasn’t been any better as a starter than as a sub in his previous outings, averaging about three points, three rebounds, and two dimes per. But he played surprisingly well against the Raptors. By Jan’s standards. His 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists mark the fourth time that he’s scored in double figures all season while tying his career high in assists.  The only issue with this performance is that there’s no real reason to start him again, given that he plays exactly the same regardless of starting or not. Vesely isn’t terrible at basketball, he just plays within the flow of the game. He doesn’t change the pace, but rather he gets his occasional bucket through dunks created by moving consistently on offense. He’s athletic, but he’s not a starter in the NBA (again, at least right now). But another big foreigner…

C: Kevin Seraphin, is making the case that he should be the starting center for the Wizards. It’s hard to argue when he has games like his 18 point, 7 rebound performance against the Raptors. The big Frenchman has scored in double figures in 8 of his last 11 games, two of which were double-doubles. He’s solidified the role of either the 4 or the 5 for next season, which means he’s going to have to find a way to coexist with Nene on the court. They haven’t necessarily played well together on the court, partially because they’re both just big athletes of similar stature. That being said, I do think they can work well together and become a very, very formidable force down low. While undersized, they’re both a lot stronger than their counterparts on a night in and night out basis, and can easily establish position early on to negate whatever height disadvantage they will have.

Now if only Nene could stay healthy so we could gauge the potential of that lineup, much like the potential of a certain…

#6: Cartier Martin! Any Wizards fan should really be rooting for a guy like Martin, who scoured away in D-League and abroad from 2007 (where he went undrafted out of K-State) until this year. It appears that he may have found a permanent spot on the Wizards, after showing in his three appearances that Cartier can shoot the deep ball well. Against Philadelphia on March 30th, he went for a career high 20 points, aided by his 4-of-7 shooting from long range. His ability to stretch the floor played a huge part in the Wizards routing the 76ers. He’s someone who changes the game up for Washington, because John Wall and Jordan Crawford are so athletic that when the shots are falling, they can absolutely shred other teams in the paint. Martin isn’t the key to winning, but he is a contributor. He’s got a better all-around game than Roger Mason as well. Plus, he’s got plenty of experience on the professional level, that his hunger might be enough to help fuel the Wizards in the future.

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