A few thoughts from Washington's preseason opener
Washington guard Sheldon Mac drives and finish
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Washington Wizards opened their preseason schedule earlier this evening with a win over the Guangzhou Long-Lions, some of our pregame thoughts can be found here. The Wizards handled their business, beating the Long-Lions 126-96. There's not a ton to walk away from when an NBA team plays someone outside of their league, not to say some overseas leagues aren't filled with good players, simply that in this match-up Guangzhou came in knowing they were over-matched.
John wall, Tim Frazier, nor Devin Robinson was available tonight.
Several players took advantage of the opportunity for extended minutes and showed what they've been working on over the summer and in training camp. Below are a few nuggets I took away from the game. We're definitely looking forward to the next two games on the preseason schedule in which the Wizards will face NBA competition. Still, it wasn't a bad night for them at all.
Beal the play-maker. With Wall out, seemed to have primary ball handling duties even with Sato on the floor. He operated well out of the pick and roll and saw the floor well when operating without it. He is still dangerous as a shooter and the ability to create should only enhance his effectiveness going forward. While this was against non-NBA competition, it was still another sign of the work he's put in on his ball handling. It'll be interesting to see if he's just as effective later this week doing so against typical NBA competition.
Oubre. Against lesser competition, his attention to detail and sheer grit was a huge positive. He was playing defense as if this was a postseason contest. What was far more impressive was his new found comfort level and confidence on the offensive end. That added weight to his frame allowed him to attack the rim and absorb the contact, while he didn't finish thru the contact, he wasn't picking himself up off the ground afterwards. He had a couple of drives to the basket that weren't of the straight line variety, one of which took a while, but the work he put in on his ball handling was evident. He didn't shoot it great from deep, but he was hunting for his shots versus sitting back and waiting for the ball to get to him. Definitely a good step in the right direction.
Sato's confidence. We all know Tomas had a good summer in the FIBA tournament, but he's brought the confidence from that success with him back to Washington. He was a bit loose with the ball at times, but like Oubre he seemed to hunt for his shot a bit more. His effort on defensive end was impressive, he showed off his willingness and versatility to guard several different positions.
Meeks effect. No surprise here, but the veteran sharp-shooter made the most of his 16 minutes and 23 seconds of playing time. He was extremely efficient, knocking down 7-of-9 shots, going 4-of-5 from deep. He would finish with a game-high . He came on the floor with the second unit tonight, but that won't diminish his possible impact against stiffer competition. It's simple, stay with him or give a knock-down shooter good looks. Opposing teams can't afford to let him roam free, definitely won't expect as many iso-situations as the competition increases, but what he does well only helps the Wizards spread the floor.
Length/Athleticism. This year's team is far more athletic on both the perimeter and interior. Again, it was against lesser competition, but the Wizards have some guards and wings with great length. They can guard several positions and really just make life difficult for opposing players. The additions of Scott and McCullough paid dividends against the Long-Lions (small sample size) and should going forward against NBA teams as well. This can be an advantage for Washington night after night against most teams.