Wizards 97, Mavericks 94: Quick thoughts on John Wall's preseason debut

Quick thoughts on tonight's win, with the obvious caveat that it's one preseason game.

  • John Wall is really fast.
  • John Wall is really fast.
  • Holy crap, John Wall is really fast.
  • It's possible I underestimated the effect of John coming at you in transition will have on his stats and the team's performance.  Dallas isn't exactly the fastest team in the world, but their only chance at stopping Wall coming at full speed was to foul him.  
  • Wall's half-court execution does still need work, especially his pick and roll offense.  He's still learning how to attack the pick in such a way where he actually uses it well.  But on the bright side, he didn't turn the ball over much and he realized that Dallas was often playing him to pass.  All in all, it was a pretty great debut, with the obvious caveat that Dallas always struggles with quick guards.
  • I wish Flip Saunders didn't play Wall so many minutes.  Why keep him in for 38?  Seems kind of pointless to me.
  • Gilbert Arenas looked efficient playing off the ball.  His catch-and-shoot game, if he chooses to use it, looks very good, and he can still bail the Wizards out on possessions where the shot clock runs down.
  • Andray Blatche clearly isn't all the way back, but he looked much stronger than ever in his few minutes.  I mean strong like upper body strong, not "strong" in vague terms.  He was finishing in traffic better than he has in the past.
  • JaVale McGee - sigh.  The alleyoop was nice, but you could see the concerns Saunders had about his style-over-substance game.  To his credit, JaVale seemed to be in position more, but he struggled to control the defensive boards, which is kind of his job.
  • The nice thing about Kirk Hinrich is that he's not afraid to let it fly.  That's a welcome change from Mike Miller, who never shot the ball.  Hinrich also stripped the ball from Caron Butler several times, which was nice. 
  • That great post game that Yi Jianlian had in FIBA play certainly didn't carry over, which was unfortunate, yet expected.  That said, Yi's defense was pretty great tonight.  He did a wonderful job showing and retreating on the pick and roll, and was also very good on the glass.  I've been thinking a bit about Yi as he relates to the whole "Back to Basics" training camp theme, and I'm wondering whether he, more than anyone, would benefit from that.  He came in as a pretty raw player that didn't understand all the defensive communication because of the language barrier, so maybe focusing on basic things will do wonders for his game.
  • Al Thornton did little, as did Nick Young.  I worry the small forward position is going to be an issue all year.  The biggest concern I have is that the small-ball lineup has become a necessity just to get the best defenders and shooters on the floor.  It's fine as a change of pace, but I can't see how it's a good long-term option against teams that will actually use their size and take advantage of it (aka teams that don't employ Caron Butler).  If it's the best hope Saunders has, that's not so great.
  • The end of the game - whatever.  It's preseason.  Wall was out.  It happens.
  • You'd think that Lester Hudson solidified his spot on the roster with that game-winning shot.  Every team needs a guard that can create shots, and Hudson's better at it than Earl Boykins.  As a 13th man, you can do worse.  I say keep him.  
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