The Washington Wizards completed their preseason schedule with a 140-11 victory over the visiting Guangzhou Long-Lions . As expected, just two of the Wizards starters played in this one. Washington was led by Devin Robinson and Troy Brown Jr with 23 and 21 points. The Guangzhou Long-Lions were led by former NBA forward Mareese Speights, he shot early and often on his way to 41 points. Regardless of the outcome, the visitors put on a display of shooting from beyond the arc, knocking down 19 of their 41 attempts (46.3%).
A few of the youngsters for Wizards stood out, Troy Brown Jr and Devin Robinson leading the way in that group. A passing display was put on by Washington's first round pick, including a lob to Robinson from just inside half court. There were also several no-look passes that led to easy baskets as well. Robinson can jump, really really jump. The Long-Lions found that out as the youngster had several dunks in which he was looking down at the rim.
Preseason got off to a slow start with a loss to the Knicks, then Washington ran off three** consecutive wins to close things out. Up next is the real thing, the 2018-2019 NBA regular season and Washington starts that off next week when they host the Miami Heat on October 18. Below are a few things that could be taken away from preseason play.
Depth. This has been said in the offseason ad nauseam, because it's true. This is the deepest team Washington has had since drafting John Wall. John doesn't have to worry about being the primary ball handler as the roster is full of players that can bring the ball up off a rebound. During preseason Otto Porter Jr, Bradley Beal, Tomas Satoransky, Austin Rivers, Kelly Oubre and Jeff Green have brought the ball up at times. There is now more than just one forward capable of coming into the game for Markieff Morris and gives Scott Brooks several different options in small-ball lineups. First round pick Troy Brown Jr. will have to truly earn his minutes this season and if he is able to do so, that only adds to the depth.
Defense. Washington's perimeter defense wasn't the greatest last year, but we've seen an improvement during preseason play. There's been times when guards have just refused to be screened. Obviously we haven't seen the complete picture with Dwight Howard out with an injury, but it's not hard to imagine him being there to alter shots. The challenge is if that mindset and pride in guarding their men on the perimeter.
Athleticism. This is another area in which this team has improved, both in the front court and on the perimeter. Rivers, Green, Brown, Bryant, Howard and the young two way guys (McRae and Robinson).
Mentality. This is something to keep an eye on all year, Washington's struggled with this over the years as well. The addition of Rivers and Green helps in this area as no team can have enough "dogs". The type of players that play with an edge, it's infections and much needed.
Youth. The Wizards are obviously in a win now state from a franchise standpoint, they have three max players and have to get it done in the postseason. Despite that, it's hard not to focus on what's waiting in the wings. Troy Brown Jr has a special feel for the game, his versatility will allow him to be utilized in numerous lineups. Devin Robinson is an extremely bouncy wing with the ability to shoot the three and he plays above the rim. He'll obviously have to work on putting the ball on the floor, but he also has lineup versatility possibly even playing small ball four. Jordan McRae is a big guard that can play a couple of positions as well, he's the more polished scorer of the three. His ability to finish at the rim has been a plus in preseason. Lastly Thomas Bryant, he's a bit raw offensively, but he has a good motor. He also has to improve his hands, drops passes at times, but he hits the glass and competes hard. Washington has a ton of potential between these four and it will be fun to see how they develop this season.