WASHINGTON (The Wiz Kid/WUSA) The Wizards 103-78 home loss to the Philadelphia 76ers got down right repulsive Friday night. Trailing by as many as 40 points in the third quarter, the Wizards shot just 32.9 percent from the floor and committed 20 turnovers.
As bad as the shots and shot selection were, the troubling number in the box score is under the passing category. The Wizards had a mere 10 assists and head coach Flip Saunders recognized the problem. "When you go into a game thinking about yourself as an individual [rather than the team] that becomes very contagious."
The Sixers on the other hand utterly exploited the Washington defense with an array of quick passes that led to dozens of wide open looks. Some would think that the Wizards would completely try and demolish this game from the memory of the players. But Saunders indicated that the team will break down the entire game on film before tomorrow's practice.
Here are my first observations on the 2011-2012 Wizards.
*I've never walked away from a preseason basketball with the complete notion a team will miss the playoffs.
Hey, it isn't just me either. Look at some of the notable quotables below. Flip Saunders gave no effort in trying to defend his team. They clearly have their own agenda when they step out onto the court, which in all likelihood is all about their statistics. The expectations for John Wall are for him to become the Russell Westbrook/Derrick Rose type. Those guys had some help around them though. I'd go ahead and lower your expectations for the Wizards this season.
*The Wizards have one person who can consistently hit a deep jump shot.
His name is Roger Mason Jr. and he's 31-years-old. This is a severe problem, especially given that Michael Lee of the Washington Post noted that free agent Nick Young is looking for 9 million dollars a season. The Wizards guards (Wall, Jordan Crawford, Shelvin Mack) are exceptional in most areas of basketball expect shooting. So that brings me to...
*The Wizards will cave-in and give Nick Young a contract.
After invigorating practices and lots of hope headed into the season, the Wizards looked like six-year-old kids who just found out that Santa Clause wasn't real. They were stunned and dejected with how they were dominated by a team without superstars.
I still am in the anti-Nick Young bandwagon, but there is no way I could blame Ernie Grunfeld on pulling the trigger and signing him to a multi-year deal. The Wizards haven't tried to resign Young because he's selfish at the shooting guard position, which would be fine if he was elite, but he's not. Jordan Crawford is suited for a sixth man type of role off the bench, where he can dominate the ball.
*The small forward/power forward position is awfully crowded for Washington.
Andray Blatche was solid offensively, ending up with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting. If you look at his shot chart, all five of his makes were inside the paint and all six of his misses were mid-range shots. That's just who Blatche is going to be though.
Chris Singleton is a player who could dive head-first into the starting lineup sooner rather than later. The rookie from Florida State only had five points in 25 minutes. Still, his effort and particularly his defense set the tone for the lone Wizards bright spot, a 27-16 outdueling of Philly in the fourth quarter. If Rashard Lewis isn't hitting three's, there is no point in having him play minutes other than the fact that his contract says he should.
Jan Vesely showed some signs that he could contribute early on too. He can run with any forward in the league and threw down a nice one-handed alley-oop in the fourth quarter.
*Point some blame on JaVale McGee.
If you believe McGee could one day dawn an all-star jersey, you need to wake up from that dream. McGee went 2-for-7 with 9 points Friday night against a team who might have the biggest weakness at the center position in the league. What's worse is McGee allowed Spencer Hawes to go for 10 points in the first quarter. I noticed McGee turns his back quite often on defense. Now entering his fourth season, we're still waiting for McGee to play mistake free basketball. Yikes.
"We came out acting too cool." Flip Saunders
"We weren't being aggressive, we weren't helping on defense. There was no effort or passion. Guys were just out there to be out there." Andray Blatche
"The positive was that all of our rookies played pretty good. The second group played hard and did some positive things." Flip Saunders
"They came in here and took over our court. They took any shot they wanted too." John Wall
"Terrible. He was just bad. He didn't play with the same aggressiveness and passion we've seen." Flip Saunders on John Wall.
"We don't have any superstar guys on this team. This not that kind of team. In order for us to win, we're going to have to do it together." Roger Mason Jr. Very interesting quote. I didn't have a chance to follow up with Mason Jr. on that, but I will in the near future. I wonder what Wall would think of that.
"I was tired of looking at that sh*t" Flip Saunders on pulling all of his starters after an 8-0 run by the Sixers to start the second half.