Rick Kamla and Steve Snapper Jones guiding us on Comcast via NBA TV tonight....Chenier and Buckhantz are probably getting sloshed at the Green Turtle. Kamla promises that Nick Young will dazzle. I've never been as pumped about watching a Wizards summer league game before, even when I made it to one live in Vegas in '06.
This is a very mature summer league squad, it's worth paying attention to the quality of shots (I know, obscene to expect they will be anywhere near decent) and turnovers. Let's start the show.
Nick Young starts out with a smooth fading baseline turnaround over Jerryd Bayless for the first points of the game. He looked very comfortable in doing so.
Travel Troubles: Last night, the Wiz were scheduled for a Sunday 8:30 pm commercial flight out of DC to Vegas. The rain hit hard beginning around 6:30, I know, I had to honor of leaving the apartment just as it began. The Wizards flight was at delayed until 9 pm and then canceled. Early on Monday they bused to Philly (the commercial flights out of BWI only had middle seats) and took an 11 am flight, which was also delayed. The team landed in Vegas at 3 pm local time, boarded a bus and got to the gym at 4 pm to start a game at 5 pm. It retrospect, it could've been worse.
JaVale McGee hits a turnaround baseline jumper....off the glass...with Duncan-esque technical form. 5-4 Blazers.
This Petteri Koponen guy is getting places a little to easily.
PK then picks McGuire who is attempting to bring the ball end to end. Koponen takes it down the court for a layup under heavy defensive pressure.
Portland gets a rebound, but Andray Blatche sticks around with veteran craftiness, gets a steal and a dunk....more vet moves as Andray jumps out in the passing lane off a side-out and takes it for an uncontested layup. 8-7 Wiz.
With 5:16 and the first commercial break, Wiz up 8-7. JaVale McGee has done well to contest shots without fouling.....so far, he's almost too quick to jump.
4:10 - Bayless took it to the hoop so fast and hard that McGee had no time to react and didn't even jump. I suppose he could have displayed more awareness.....plus c'mon dude, you get 10 fouls. 9-8 Blazers.
I like Dee Brown because he plays with a purpose and doesn't seem to hesitate with his decision making.
Vladimir Veremeenko checks in...for D Mac, who wasn't playing very well. The Cleaner tried to force the issue on both ends a couple times. Dontaye Draper checks in for Brown too.
Nick Young thinks he's Kobe....put his hand out to the defender to assist his positioning, Bayless fell and ref called a charge. Some players get away with it, as they should, but this is summer league and The Bean Burrito is not The Black Mamba.
Some guy named Frank Elegar got a bucket, and one......he kinda panicked when he got the ball in the paint with Bayless under him. Jerryd tried to draw a charge, but he was too far under the basket and Elegar hit a lucky shot. 14-12 Blazers.
Vladimir doesn't impress in missing two FTs, at least those were created by an offensive board.
Dontaye Draper with a great outlet to Gary Forbes for a breakaway hoop....the first assist in the game with 15 seconds left in the first. Quarter ends with Portland up 16-14.
Taj McCullough with a nose for the ball to snatch a rebound from a crowd on one end, an athletic Frank Elegar displaying flying put-back dunks and post moves on the other end. 21-19 Blazers after the dunk and two Elegar FTs on the subsequent possessions.
Elegar then catches a tough pass as he was running the floor on the break and coverts the basket, and 1. That's right, seven straight Wizards point from some guy named Frank Elegar
G-Town's Jonathan Wallace comes in at the seven minute mark, along with the nouveau Bill Walton, Arkansas' Steven Hill, for the Blazers.
Wallace's first move is to hit an arching, quick trigger deuce. 24-21 Wiz. Wallace has some nice handles too, bringing it up against Bayless on the break.
5:30 - All the starters have checked back in...Andray Blatche has lost the headband, sporting the bald head and hanging goatee. Kamla is disappointed with Nick Young so far. He's made some nice moves, but those mostly get him fadeaways and off balanced shots...he's missed 3 of 4, all jumpers.
Speak of the devil, and that's why Steve Snapper Jones warned Rick not to speak too soon, Nick Young gets another jumper, but this time he got a spot in the paint and made it easy on himself. 27 tie game.
I'm not sure Andray Blatche's arms look much bigger, but his "core" looks sturdier. He's also showing some nice footwork and quickness when working the baseline.
2:48 - Blatche continues to impress with a composed up and under after receiving the ball in the paint from D-Mac (behind the back) on the break. 29-30 Portland.
Good break by Dee Brown gets it to Blatche, who has nothing, but stops, doesn't force the issue, gives the ball back to Brown, who finds Nick Young in the corner for three. 35-31 Wizards.
Blatche continues to be all over the place.....and fouls continue to plague him as he picks up his 5th before halftime.
JaVale McGee is having his share of tough times, 1-8 from the field so far, Snapper Smith points out his "finesse" game.
At the half: Andray had 11 points and 5 boards, to go along with his 5 fouls. Jerryd Bayless played bigger than he looks (6'3") with a scrappy 17 points.
JaVale McGee with a nice hook with his left should heading baseline, he floated the ball with his right hand. 40-36 Wiz.
McGee drives baseline and gives a no look pass to Andray Blatche when the help comes.....dunk. 42-37 Wiz.
Not much else of note going on......the reserves come in an play with desperation. Vladimir Veremeenko looks like he has potential, but is visibly in the process of adjustment. Some miscues and some sparks on both ends. In the least, he's showing some hope for increased development when he goes back overseas.
Snapper talks to Eddie Jordan.....Health is the key word of the convo.
9:00 - Dominic McGuire with a great block....leads to a JaVale McGee long baseline jumper on the other end. Very nice to have a legit seven footer with that skill....makes me think Žydrūnas Ilgauskas with agility.
Eddie says that the final stage of Gil's development is leadership and that Arenas says that even he doesn't believe some of the things that come out of his mouth at times.
7:44 - Andray Blatche hitting baseline trey balls now. 62-53 Wizards.
Jordan also jokingly admits that in this, the first summer league game, many of the players think they are Gilbert Arenas' in their attempts to score......the players need to recognize their role a little more when it comes to the real season.
Koponen is a nice player....hits a trey to give him 13 points for the game. 64-61 Wiz with 5 minutes left. Another player who may continue his development overseas.
Kamla is an opponent of tracking turnovers in fantasy leagues....I'm not sure how I feel about this. In leagues I've managed in the past, I've tended to count them. But Kamla makes a good point in that most of the turnovers are committed by the best players and that reality in this case, need not be translated to fantasy.
3:05 - Koponen representing Finland with another trey...tied at 64.
2:07 - Koponen with yet another trey, 67-66 Portland. Dee Brown is having trouble keeping up....taking a shot to the face from Koponen before the Fin got free for that last three doesn't help.
1:33 - Nick Young has trouble keeping up with Bayless....who only makes one of two FTs. 68-66 Blazers.
1:12 - Great work by the future big three... Young doesn't have it on the baseline...lotta defensive help coming his way..pulls out...to Blatche on perimeter with a fake and dribble drive.... AB finds Dominic McGuire cutting on the baseline....I know we've see that play before, more to come..... Game tied at 68.
On the other end, JaVale McGee does a terrible job in getting caught in the air on a pump fake...not surprised, he's been contesting without consequence all night, a FT gives the Blazers a one point lead.
0:25 - Blatche can't control the board, Bayless gets the loose ball and hits a basket (Blatche found a way to pick up his 7th foul and hurt his shoulder in the process). Bayless misses the And1, McGee can't secure the ball, he may have gotten fouled, but it goes out of bound to the Blazers with 23.5 left and the Wiz down 71-68.
The Wiz foul the big man, Josh Davis, but he makes both and puts the Blazers up 5.
McGee aims to amend all those previous transgressions with a trey...and nails it. 73-71 Portland.
As you would expect in a summer league game, Nick Young is fouled (leg kick) attempting a three with 7.6 left. He misses the shot and makes 2 of 3 free throws. 75-73 Blazers.
And the Wiz just kinda blow it. Bayless misses a second FT, Wiz down three, but Portland gets the board.....McGee blocks a shot by this Aleks Maric cat with 2.5 left, not sure why that attempt happened...but Portland gets it again and that's it.
Overall, the team played with more energy than one might have expected after their travel situation. But Eddie Jordan, or Unseld Jr., must have convinced them to release what was bottled up by planes and buses as they displayed decent effort in that category.
I suppose the pent up jitters led to 22 turnovers and only 11 assists. But aside from the numbers, I would have liked to see the first unit play like they had somewhat of a plan. That crew hasn't had much late game experience with each other, so I'm glad the game was close. But in the end, someone has to take charge and Andray, Nick, Dominic and Dee weren't sure exactly who would fill that role. Portland had someone ready to step up, Jarryd Bayless dropped a game high 28 points.
Thoughts from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress via True Hoop:
TrueHoop: Washington's Javale McGee didn't look good at all out there. What did you notice?
DraftExpress: No surprise here whatsoever. This is how he looked in college often. The Wizards would be the first ones to tell you that he is two or three years away. Still, you can't ignore his physical tools. The guy is a freak, look at his arms and athleticism. He just needs to learn how to play.
As a result, the blogosphere is alive with talk that Milwaukee is the worst NBA city.