The Wiz lost by 33 points in their preseason opener! I gotta tell you, very seldom does a time come around when I know a team as a whole isn’t trying, but that first game was something to behold. I’ll write that game off as first-game jitters or something…No where to go but up!
They followed that stinker up with another loss to the 76er’s. Although the second game was closer the Wiz lost it at the end. These Sixers aren’t world-beaters. Yes, they made the playoffs last season but to get beaten the way the Wizards did, twice, should make every Wizards fan worried for the upcoming gauntlet of a season.
Anyways, last week I left you guys with the Wizards’ likely starting five. Now, we’ll take a closer look at the reserves for the Wiz. Most of these guys are young and inexperienced, old and slightly washed-up, or a complete mystery from Eastern Europe; but I’m going to do my best to give you the low-down.
First Guys Off the Bench:
Jordan Crawford SG (23 years old, 11 ppg, 2 ast, 2 rbs last year): After the Gilbert Arenas trade last season the team was in a state of flux. One of the unheralded moves GM Ernie Grunfeld made was the trade with the Hawks that got him Crawford, Mo Evens, and a draft pick. For a team full of young players trying to make a name for themselves it wasn’t clear where Crawford would fit in, but after only a few games with the team he found his niche: gunner.
Crawford has never found a shot he hasn’t liked. He’s never apologized for jacking up 30-footers or not passing to open teammates. He’s a scorer first and foremost. After the trade Crawford averaged 16 points as a Wizard. He filled the scoring void left by Arenas and took pressure off John Wall and Andray Blatche when they were having off-nights offensively. The only problem with Crawford is we already have Nick Young who’s a more athletic version of Crawford. When you have two shooting guards who average less than three assists a game you’re offense will become stagnant; can Crawford expand his game?
Trevor Booker C/PF (24 years old, 5 ppg, 4 rbs):A rookie last year, Booker played with energy and effort. The Clemson product has better-than-average hops and can finish hard at the basket. He can block shots, defend better than Blatche, and is a good change-of-pace in the paint when he comes into the game. Still, his mid-range game is non-existent to date and he brings very little on the offensive side of the ball. He’s an energy guy and should see more time on the court this season; has he improved his offensive game?
Verteran Role Players:
Maurice Evans SF/SG (33 years old, 9 ppg, 1 ast, 3 rbs): Mo Evens is entering his eleventh season in the NBA and is playing for his seventh team. He’s a journeyman plain and simple. Still, he’s got some athleticism left and can defend on the parameter better than most of the players on the Wiz. With the amount of young talent at his position on the roster he’ll most likely play more minutes early in the season and see his minutes diminish as the young players learn the game. He’s a strong veteran voice in a locker room that desperately needs one.
Roger Mason Jr. SG (31 years old, 3 ppg, 1 ast, 2 rbs *with NYK last season): Mason last played for the Wizards during the ’07-’08 season. During that season he averaged 9 ppg and accepted a contract from the Spurs the following season where he had his best year as a pro (12 ppg). Since then he’s dealt with injuries and fell out of favor with the Spurs and Knicks. Now he’s back home in the tail-end of his career. He’s a knock-down shooter who offers little in terms of defense and rebounding. Still, he’s been with the organization in the past, he’s a pro, and he’s a welcome addition to the Wiz-kids.
Ronny Turiaf C/PF (28 years old, 4 ppg, 3 rbs, 1 ast *with NYK last season): Turiaf may be best known for his dancing on the sideline during his time with the Lakers at the start of his career. But he’s been a capable pro since he entered the league. The Wizards front court will be crowded this year with young players trying to find their way, so Turiaf should be able to find playing time based solely on the fact that he knows what he’s doing and he’s been there before.
Jan Vesely SF/PF (21 years old rookie 6th overall pick): Vesely is a complete mystery to me and to most Wizards fans. He known mostly for this kiss and these dunks. Aside from that, we know he’s athletic, very confident, and many people are high on him being a solid pro in a few years. Until then we’re going to have to wait and watch him learn how to play in the NBA, and sometimes European players never grasp the speed of the game.
Chris Singleton SG/SF (22 years old rookie, FSU): Singleton played in the ACC at Florida State so anyone on the East coast had a chance to watch him grow into a solid defender and activity player. He’s still very raw offensively but the moment he steps on the court for the Wiz he’ll be their best defender bar none. Of all the young players I’m most excited to see what Singleton could turn himself into in a few years. He’s long, has the defense and athleticism, and has a shot he can improve easily through practice.
Shelvin Mack (21 year old rookie, Butler): The junior left Butler after two straight trips to the national championship game. He’s quick but small, he has a high motor but lacks great ball handling, and like most second-round picks he’s a project that may never make it in the NBA. Still, with limited depth behind John Wall at the point, Mack will see ample time on the court this season, what he does with that PT is up to him.
The Two ?’s on the Bench:
Hamady Ndiaye (24, 2nd year player) barely saw the floor as a rookie. He’s a big guy who can block shots but has a very limited game and is clearly a project the Wizards may never complete. Kevin Seraphin (22, 3 ppg, 2 rbs last season) saw the court more than he should have last season and led the team in fouls per minute played. He, like Ndiaye, is a project; but unlike Ndiaye when he got on the floor last season I saw some skill and promise. Still, for both of these guys the front court may be too crowded for them to get a shot this season.
So there you have it. This is what the Wizards front office has decided is a team worth putting out there. They lost both of their preseason games and John Wall has looked rusty. The season starts against the Nets tonight (Dec. 26th) at home. We’ll see how far this team comes as the season progresses, but my guess is their too young to win on the road, and just not experienced enough to win enough home games to be in the playoff race by mid-season.
If they stay in the playoff hunt through March it’s a win, but they’ll likely come out of the gate slowly and never recover.
Prediction: 19-47 overall record
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.