payitforward wrote:Is this more or less how we'll go into the season?
PG -- Ish Smith, IT, Justin Robinson, Bonga, John Wall (injured)
SG -- Bradley Beal, Jordan McRae, Tarik Phillip
SF -- Troy Brown, Admiral Schofield, Jemerrio Jones, C.J. Miles (injured)
PF -- Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, Moritz Wagner
C -- Thomas Bryant, Ian Mahinmi
I hope we are fun to watch, especially the kids. We are not going to win many games, that's for sure.
I think the interesting exercise is to examine the roster and project our questions and best hopes onto each. Then throughout the season look for areas of improvement or hopeful signs for future play.
Every player on the roster has something intriguing about them. Especially the young guns.
Point: Ish Smith
is a known quantity. His job in this roster is as a practice squad version of John Wall. He is an uptempo guy who has no great outside shot but plays best in transition and has a decent passing and set-up game. His role on this roster is as a training wheels version of Wall. Can the new guys gel with this playing style if and when in fact we do get Wall back. We have commonly had guys in the back-up PG role who were a radical chance of pace and play style from Wall. Why not have a guy whose style is similar? This way young players will have one less thing to adjust to and compensate for while they are learning their own role on the court. The team will miss Sato, but his slow pace of play and more cautious and deliberate play style is a significant switch from John. Chemistry issues may have been caused by integrating the injured Wallstar back into the line up from teammates who had gotten used to the more lateral, extra pass, side to side, version of play than the down hill full speed ahead methodology we play with John at his best.Isaiah Thomas.
The Player Formerly Known as King of the Fourth. Hopefully an unknown quantity. Coming back from injuries, but a tough and prideful player. Could be useful as a veteran example to Wall in either how to come back, or a lesson in how all can disappear in a moment if you are not focussed. Still, as a veteran with a history of glory, he can exemplify a winning attitude and mentor younger players. He's bright and will have a future in coaching if he wants it. Most hopeful was his evident chemistry with Bryant in summer play, even if his own shots were stuffed on the backboard by lesser defenders. Bryant looked good when IT hit him in rhythm. It will be nice for Brad to have another young vet on the team who can command respect. Granted he won't exemplify how to defend, but he will show anyone that no matter how big you are you can always play with heart and never be intimidated by anyone who looks to test you. Justin Robinson.
Young point guards have a steep learning curve coming into the league. I full expect our end-of-roster PG prospects to shuffle back and forth between the Association and the GoGo squad. There is opportunity with the G squad to learn leadership and defense and groove the long ranged Jumper that will help the most at the next level. Isaac Bonga
Very young and very raw, Bonga was on the German National Team that played world cup qualifier games. (You'll start to see a theme here). He has an intriguing mix of talent and size that has not yet found a skill set or position to go with it. Is he a PG or SF. He plays both positions -- often on the same possession-- and was all over the place in lower level play. Long strides good body control decent handle, he's comfortable handling the ball in an uptempo attack. With our young team, low expectations and no solid roles settled on the roster, we can take advantage of a developmental year to play the team 15 deep and see what we have. This may prove an advantage in an 82 game season. We have waves of potential excited young guys we can play, to tire out opponents with a constantly fresh group of players. Especially if we are running an uptempo attack. In that environment a guy like Bonga can be a mismatch for teams who cannot figure out his position or who to send against him. In G league play he posts up and also runs the break. Additionally interesting is to see if he can carve out a role in World Cup play with the usually well coached and disciplined German squad. Germany was best in their qualifying group and should probably have an easy first round at least. Getting additional free coaching and being surrounded by overseas professionals can only help him.
we know about. The only question is if he can continue improving and what is the next level for him. He's been more than reliable. If he can lead a group of overlooked young players to a surprising record then there's no doubt he will make one of the all-NBA rosters. No matter what he becomes an ideal example of how to play on the perimeter: run, every play, use screens, make the smart pass, rebound bigger than your size. If players follow the example of our team leader and add to their game and iron out their weaknesses and improve their nutrition and exemplify good character then we will have a squad to be proud of and they will get better year after year.Jordan McRae
was going McCrazy in G-League play. But found play time hard to come by with the grown ups. He's older, but on his career last chance. Without established wing players ahead of him on the roster at 2-guard, and with the team lacking go-to scorers, he will get his reps and a chance to find his game in the league. Is he only a G-League legend? Or without fear of the quick hook can he go on a streak that surprises a team that hasn't bothered to scout that deeply into our bench. If so he can give Beal a rest a few minutes a night and show that microwave instant hot scoring for which he was known at the lower level.Garrison Mathews
. Every team needs a sweet shooting outside gunner with a quick trigger. Mathews is all of that. Moves well off the ball, shoots from range and has a release that is mantis quick. And at the level he played his defense was overlooked but underrated. Solid, smart, he rebounded played good positional defense and his D rating improved significantly every year. A two-way player, he will be a fan favorite if he hits a sweet streak. At the G-League I'd worry that he'd disappear into the background if we don't have good PG play to find him the ball. But Robinson doesn't need to be a 2-way player to be sent to the second unit team, maybe they are sent in pairs so they can develop continuity and comradery.Tarik Philip.
Played for the last place British team in World Cup qualifiers. Overseas experience professionally as well, he has to be hungry to find a role, and push players with more talent to work hard or themselves find a roster spot on a team in Hungary. That's got to be a sobering lesson for young players: Go hard or go Hungary. My candidate for a last roster cut, but who knows.
Wing forwardTroy Brown Jr
. Troy took a leadership role with the summer league squad vocally and in play. His PG background means he looks to make his teammates better in game play and otherwise. Due to effort on court he ended up our leading rebounder in Summer League. With so many young players added he figures to carry a similar role, even while still being one of the youngest players on the team. His job will be to fill the role that Satoransky carried for us both on court and in the locker room. Positive, hard working glue guy who gives effort on every play, makes smart reads, sets up his teammates on offense and does the little things on D. He needs to develop his standstill 3 to really be useful, but that is a skill that reliably improves with hard work. Admiral Schofield
displayed resilience and moxie in his Tennessee career. Hitting the weight room he burned off his fat and chiseled his body into a solid if undersized forward. That clearly would not be enough to allow him to play at the next level so he developed a dependable three point shot. Questions exist whether he will have the lateral speed to guard the outside in the NBA, but no questions exist about how hard he will work to do so. It is useful on any team to have a weight room demon who can inspire other players to hit the iron and motivate themselves to improve. With big time training staff the parts of his game that are subject to improvement with offcourt drills, will likely see him grinding away to improve his weakness there. Most importantly the coaches seem to love his curiosity and drive to learn. He wore them out with questions so that he could not only improve but pass the knowledge on to his teammates and act as a coach on the floor. He will receive the attention needed to improve, and won't be forgotten this way. Coaches told him he needed to work on his ball handling so he took that away from summer play as his offseason homework. What if he can get solid enough to play as a 2/3 wing? That’s a big guard. Too tough. Jemerrio Jones
. Defensive and rebounding savant. If Lou Williams will cite you as the guy who will eat your offensive game inside out then let's see if he can earn a name for himself in training camp reps against Beal. If so there will be a roster spot for him. We definitely need rebounding, something fierce. Rebounding something fierce seems to be the majority of his game.
Three international players here.Davis Bertans
. Second Leading scorer on the Latvian national team that will be playing in World Cup play coming up. Sweet outside stroke. Listed at PF I can see him essentially playing SF since he is most often used at the top of the key instead of banging down low. In international play this makes sense. His play in World Cup games may give this coaching staff some ideas. Yes he will have lateral defensive issues. We will have defensive issues no matter what. If opponents are sending their bigs to the three point line to chase down a 6'10" sniper then we are open underneath for drives and backdoor cuts or our young high energy Center to stomp on smaller players. His range at his size changes the court on the offensive end. A smart coach can find a way to use that. That 42% from outside is a problem for other teams to solve. Combine this with Beal scoring on over 50% of his drives, and all we need is a ranged center who can score in pick and roll and backdoor options or bail-out scorers when the team is stretched thin. Rui Hachimura
. Offensive savant. He plays a nice face-up game from the wing, still has to improve his defense, but can score from anywhere inside the arc. He's still learning defense, which is tricky to practice in a gym alone from watching video. But we saw in summer league he is willing to give good effort there with weakside blocks etc. Gonzaga taught him Big Man school, in FIBA play he was outside in, we will see how quickly he develops even if he has lapses from moment to moment in his rookie season. Its a nice report when coaches interviewed say he has to be told to go home and not overwork himself. Hopefully our coaches also pay attention. He figures to be the star player for Japan in world cup play.Moritz Wagner
. Bigs commonly struggle adjusting to the speed and size of their opponents in the NBA. Hopefully last year was a throwaway year and Wagner manages to put his energy and attitude into work. His reputation is a vocal and firey player, it just hasn't yet translated to production on court. Still here is yet another ranged Big who is noted for high energy and effort. I do wish that some of the players with international background were draft and stash players for us, where they would get the standard Euro team schedule of 1 or 2 games a week and practice the rest of the week. Some of these cats figure to try the NBA then not find a role, go overseas and improve significantly then get called back stateside to produce for a different team. Anyway. If Wagner can discover his three point shot then he is a candidate for small ball center given that we are shallow at 5.
. Basically all that you are asking for on offense from a player developing at the center role in the modern NBA. He scores when you give him the ball, doesn't turn it over. Hits an outside shot with reliable efficiency if left alone at the three point line. Needs to pass better in traffic. The rest of his game will require improvements on defense. But bigs are seeing resurgence in the NBA, especially those that can hit a long range shot.
All of these players have question marks and areas of improvement. But all have intriguing qualities that will make it interesting to watch their development. Pretty much none are locked in to long contracts that will hamper the team, but under the current CBA nobody is, so all teams can feel free to renew themselves every three years or so when there is a new crop of free agents. Meanwhile as Wizards fans we are back to rooting for moral victories and draft position and signs of improvement. If we like what we see in flashes and feel we can draw it out of them then we can decide along the way which players we want to extend on the cheap to have them grow up with our team.
Right, yes. Not a great team, but should be interesting to see. And if you squint you can imagine a few flash images of hope here and there.