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Wizards Preseason Wrap-Up: Seven Key Takeaways

October 24th, 2014 at 2:21 PM
By Matt Graber

The preseason is finally over, which means that meaningless games are behind us and the regular season is merely five days away. This preseason was a mixed bag for the Wizards, as solid individual performances were offset by turnovers and offensive sluggishness, and positive results were marred by injuries to key contributors like Bradley Beal and Kris Humphries. Nevertheless, the preseason gave us a closer look at the team and helped crystallize some key observations. Yes, it is still the preseason, so take these observations with a grain of salt, but here’s what we learned over the last eight games.

Shooting guard is still a question mark

Glen Rice Jr. had a solid preseason, demonstrating improved shooting and a newfound aggressive streak. But he was streaky, mixing efficient performances with a few duds, and he still settled for too many bad shots. He’s a talented offensive players and a solid on-ball defender, but he’s still a bit too inconsistent and inexperienced at this point to handle a starting role. Garrett Temple offers similar shooting and defense, and guys like Otto Porter Jr. or even a training camp invitee (should one of them make the team) could snag some minutes at the 2, but the Wizards still don’t have a clear-cut solution. They should be able to stay afloat with Beal hurt, but the sooner their star guard returns, the better.

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Preseason Recap: Wizards 100, Knicks 103

October 23rd, 2014 at 1:30 PM
By Matt Graber

Now that's more like it. After a series of disappointing outings, the Wizards and the Knicks put on a show last night in an entertaining and competitive matchup that felt like a regular season game. With the starters playing big minutes and both teams battling it out until the end, this felt like a meaningful season preview rather than yet another pointless game. Here's a few takeaways from what may have been the Wizards's best performance of the preseason.

Otto Porter Jr. is legit

Porter has gone a long way towards silencing his doubters after a disappointing rookie year. From Summer League on, he's looked healthy, confident, and ready to contribute. He's playing solid defense and rebounding well for his position, and he looks much more comfortable on offense, moving without the ball well and making threes (4-7 last night). It remains to be seen if he'll get minutes at shooting guard in Bradley Beal's absence, but he's earned the opportunity to play significant minutes behind Paul Pierce and he should be ready to step into an even bigger role if needed.

Good players will be left off this team

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NBA GMs Like Wizards to Win the Southeast Division

October 22nd, 2014 at 3:46 PM
By Matt Graber

NBA.com has released their annual GM survey, with general managers around the league responding to 5 questions and weighing in on topics like predictions, player rankings, and breakout candidates. The survey was kind to the Washington Wizards, as 59% of GMs chose them to win the Southeast Division, followed by the defending Southeast champion Miami Heat with 29.6%. It's a nice endorsement for the Wizards, who many have pegged as a breakout team and Eastern Conference contender. 3.7% of those surveyed went as far as to pick the Wizards to make the Finals. Predictions can be wrong, obviously, but it's nice to see the team get some validation and respect around the league.

The survey favored the Wizards in a few of the ancillary categories as well. John Wall tied with Russell Westbrook for the title of 'fastest with the ball in his hands', while Bradley Beal was runner-up to Anthony Davis in the category of most likely breakout season. The Paul Pierce signing was voted as the fourth most underrated offseason acquisition. Andre Miller also received votes as 'current player who will make the best head coach someday'.

The entire survey can be found here

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Report: Washington Wizards Close to Signing John Lucas III

October 21st, 2014 at 10:28 AM
By Matt Graber

ESPN's Marc Stein is reporting that the Wizards are close to signing free agent John Lucas III, according to sources. In the wake of Bradley Beal's wrist njury, the team has been looking for backcourt depth, and Lucas, a DC native, could be a possible solution. The 31 year old veteran has played for the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz in his six year career. He has career averages of 4.9 points and 1.4 assists per game.

While the move to add another guard is hardly surprising, it seems like the team would look for a shooting specialist to replace the sharpshooting Beal. Lucas, a point guard, is more of a lead guard and ball-handler than a shooter, but he can still provide valuable depth and help run the offense. He's good in the pick and roll, he has playoff experience, and while he's never been a volume three point shooter, his career average from deep is 35%. It's an unexpected signing, but it could be a solid one.

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Preseason Recap: Washington Wizards 84, New Orleans Pelicans 88

October 21st, 2014 at 10:10 AM
By Matt Graber

The Washington Wizards fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 88-84 last night after an ugly performance where the offensive couldn't get anything going. John Wall, Paul Pierce and Glen Rice Jr., all sat this one out, and their absence was definitely felt .While the box score would indicate a close game, the Wizards were never in this one, falling behind by as many as 29 before a furious 4th quarter comeback. It's still preseason, so it's hard to but too much stock into the comeback into the loss or the comeback. But after another disappointing performance, it looks like their are some real concerns about the Wizards' offense.

That was brutal

Don't let the score fool you; this was far from a competitive game. The offense looked stagnant and sluggish without John Wall orchestrating, and for large stretches of the game the Wizards' couldn't get a shot to fall, missing everything from threes to layups and tip-ins to free throws. The loss demonstrated how valuable Wall is to this team, as he's really the engine that makes this offense run. He'll have to carry even more of the offense with Bradley Beal out, and he's gonna need someone to step up and become a consistent offensive option.

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