It's just one game, folks. One very bad game, but still one game.
It's honestly not really that surprising either. Well, okay, it's surprising, but a blowout was a realistic result. Having to open at Orlando was a massive challenge for a team like this. Not only is Orlando playing better than anyone right now, but they're the kind of big, smart team that is going to destroy the Wizards all season. You couldn't script a worse matchup for a rookie point guard who still doesn't have a jump shot and a front line that's weak and lacking in basketball IQ. We shouldn't have expected a win or even a close loss, to be honest.
That said, you saw so many of the warning signs with this team. I'm not really sure where to start, but let's start with Andray Blatche. One of my biggest concerns that I never really put out there was that Blatche's foot injury would prevent him from doing the necessary work to build on his successful season. Based on how he's come out tonight and in preseason, that fear has come to fruition. Blatche had absolutely no flow to his game, and I honestly can't think of anything he did right. I guess he managed to walk onto the court and not get injured, so good for him.
The rest of the bigs were just as bad. JaVale McGee and Yi Jianlian looked like two guys who have never guarded a pick and roll in their lives. It seemed like they were so worried about Dwight Howard that they hung back in the lane and let the guards do whatever they wanted. I get that, but it was still pretty awful. They have to pick one, and when a guard is coming at you, you need to live with the big man beating you.
John Wall can't be blamed for this one. He couldn't shoot, but we knew that was going to be an issue. He had trouble driving and drawing fouls, but with Howard around, that's to be expected. He didn't get out in transition, but you can't run if you don't rebound. He just needs someone else to help him with the scoring load and some big men who actually know how to defend basic NBA sets.
- I still don't understand how Ernie Grunfeld can look at this roster coming into the season and decide not to invest in more shooters. When you have the fastest point guard prospect in basketball, how do you not go out and get more 3/D guys? There were so many available.
- Kirk Hinrich didn't have a very good game, which disappointed me. He got free for a couple threes in the third quarter, but otherwise, he struggled with his shot and was uncharacteristically poor guarding Jameer Nelson. In his defense, I just don't think he can guard point guards anymore. He's better as a clamp defender on wings who are stronger, but not as quick. I think Flip Saunders overcoached by having Kirk guard Nelson and Wall guard Quentin Richardson. The idea was to create mismatches in transition, but I think it just confused everyone on the Wizards. Wall is too fast for any player in transition anyway.
- Al Thornton played fairly well, but as long as he can't shoot from the outside, he's hurting the team because people can just cheat off Wall.
- The rebounding was just awful. I believe the Wizards were outrebounded 5,732-3. Yi Jianlian was overmatched tonight.
- The lone bright spot was Cartier Martin, who looks like he gets how to move without the ball. He's the only guy on the team that looked like he knew where he was supposed to be on both ends of the floor. You have to think he's done enough to bump at least Nick Young from the rotation. Honestly, I'd consider starting him at small forward until Josh Howard gets back. That way, you at least have two shooters on the wings around Wall.