Tag Archives: steven gray
Nothing like some early morning Wizards news! As reported by Hoopshype.com the agent for Steven Gray has confirmed that his client has received an invitation to the Washington Wizards’ training camp. In three games played with the Wizards in Vegas Gray averaged 7.3 PPG on 50% shooting.
Gray is the first member of this years summer league roster to earn an invite to training camp. The Wizards currently have 13 players signed for next season with two more slots open before reaching the 15 player roster limit.
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.
The Washington Wizards are facing off against the Atlanta Hawks today at 4 o’clock in their first game of the Las Vegas Summer League. If you’ve been paying any attention to the Wizards this offseason, then you’ll have already realized that the 14 man roster (see below) features a lot of players who won’t be with the Wizards this upcoming season. The reason is simple: Washington doesn’t have enough roster space to take on even half of the players trying out for the team. When it’s broken down, there are really only a few players who have even a remote chance at playing for the Wizards next season. Let’s take a look:
G: Steven Gray, Gonzaga
G: Bradley Beal, Florida
G: Earl Calloway, Indiana
G: Tomas Satoransky, Czech Republic
G: Shelvin Mack, Butler
G: Ravern Johnson, Mississippi State
F: Jan Vesely, Czech Republic
F: LaRon Dendy, Middle Tennessee State
F: Mike Scott, Kent State
F: Jeff Brooks, Penn State
F: Shavlik Randolph, Duke
F: Chris Singleton, Florida State
C: Garrett Siler, Augusta State
C: Kim Tillie, Utah
The players in bold signify those that are already on the roster, meaning that they’re virtual locks to remain on the team for the upcoming season. Beal was the first draft pick, Vesely is part of the future, Singleton is a promising small forward, and Mack is the only person available to back up John Wall. Basically, they’re here to stay. Assuming they are all on the roster, that brings the open slots to only 2 spots. Two spots for 10 players? Feel free to do the math. Using this knowledge, though, means we can even further slim down the amount of players who even have a shot of getting picked up by the Washington Wizards.
As the roster is currently assembled (including the four players in bold and Andray), the breakdown consists of:
3 Centers: Nene, Okafor, Seraphin
6 Forwards: Ariza, C. Singleton, Vesely, Booker, Blatche, Martin
4 Guards: Wall, Beal, Mack, J. Crawford
Based on that breakdown, the front court is completely stocked. 9 of the 15 roster spots are dedicated solely to players who are almost non-negotiable in their ability to play any positions other than the 4 and 5. Any power forward or center the Wizards signed would be looking at never seeing the court outside of the practice facilities. With that many minutes dedicated to youthful players and experienced veterans, there would be so many DNP-CD’s that I’d think Ernie would reason, “Why bother picking them up anyway?”
Furthermore, the small forward position is basically filled up as well due in large part to acquiring Trevor Ariza via the Okafor-Rashard Lewis trade. He and Chris Singleton are expected to consume the majority of those minutes, with Vesely also soaking up the last bit of them when he slides over from the power forward slot. Again, this just means that signing any forward is a futile effort.
The only thing the Wizards might even be considering is picking up another center. I say this because the front court, with Nene and Okafor, is an injury prone unit. Both players aren’t perpetually injured guys, but they always seem to have ticky-tacky injuries that prevent them from playing a full season. So, with Blatche being highly considered as an Amnesty International candidate, maybe the Wizards could pick up either Siler, Tillie, or Dendy to fill in for injury a few times during the season. I’m not banking on it, though.
Out of the Running? Dendy, Scott, Randolph, Brooks, Siler, Tillie
Where the Wizards could clearly use some help is at the guard positions, where there are only four players on the team who are to play an entire 48 minutes. Mack did nothing to help his cause last season in securing the backup point guard position so cannot be considered a perfect option as the first point guard off the bench. Crawford may have locked down the starting position for now, but Beal is going to eat into his minutes severely since he is the real future of the franchise. I actually think Beal is much better as the starter, whereas Crawford can bring instant offense off the bench, but I digress.
Another thing to note is the case of Tomas Satoransky, the other Czech on the roster. Satoransky is almost already out of the running since it’s been reported that he is going to be heading back overseas to play in Spain next season. In order for him to stay, he would have to perform so incredibly well that Grunfeld became convinced he is part of the playoff equation this season. I don’t predict that happening coming from a guy who has no jumper yet, so I’m assuming he’s gone.
Out of the Running? Satoransky
That leaves us with three players left in Earl Calloway, Steven Gray, and Ravern Johnson competing for two spots. If that’s the case, then it’ll be interesting to see which route the Wizards go with these final roster spots. They could choose Earl Calloway, the 6’3, 28 year old point guard who has played over in Europe for the past 4 seasons. Most recently, he averaged 7.6 points and 3.1 assists per game for Sevilla in the ACB League. Where he was teammates with Tomas Satoransky. His veteran presence and playing experience at the second best league in the world would be incredibly welcome for the young guards in Washington. Considering how young all the guards on the Wizards are, he might be the most logical choice as a guy who can play a Derek Fisher role in mentoring young players. If we’re talking about changing the culture in the locker room, what better way to do it than to bring in a professional like Calloway?
Then there is another intriguing prospect in the 6’5, 23 year old Steven Gray. Gray is interesting in that he’s been called “a west coast, guard version of Etan Thomas” by people smarter than me, and he has also played professionally over in Latvia. His specialty is the fact that he is a fantastic three point shooter. The Wizards were one of the absolute worst teams from long range last year, so he could be a nice addition as a stretch two guard. His athleticism may be a serious hindrance for him, and he couldn’t even guard Jimmer Fredette in college, but his character is that of a very nice guy, and he could add a nice presence in the locker room (again, we always go back to that).
Finally, we have Ravern Johnson, a 6’7, 24 year old guard out of Mississippi State who also happens to be a three point specialist. This young man is a definite deep threat, as evidenced by his college career where he shot 40% from long range on 7.4 attempts per game. Think Nick Young with less athleticism, and you’ve got Ravern; basically, he doesn’t contribute much of anything else except for his shooting. He may actually be the best one of them all if basketball were a three point contest, but it isn’t, so he’s not.
Either way, this is going to be very exciting to see who the Wizards decide on selecting throughout this Summer League (if they pick up anyone). Just to note, I think that Washington is going to select a big man to round out another one of the spots on the bench all year, and I think it is going to be LaRon Dendy. If Washington amnesties Blatche today, then it is likely they would be more receptive to adding another big man. Why we did not decide to draft one with the second pick will be peculiar if that’s the case, but that’s for another day.
In the Running: LaRon Dendy, Earl Calloway, Ravern Johnson, Steven Gray