Some Observations of the Wizards Midnight Madness Scrimmage

Wizards Midnight Madness

There was a lot going on at the Wizards version of Midnight Madness, which made it easy to lose sight of the drills and brief scrimmage.  Below are some observations of the on court action once the scrimmage tipped off.  Please note that the action was closer to what you might see during a typical NBA summer game - lots of shots, little defense and very few set plays.  Consider this when trying to glean anything meaningful from my observations.

"First half" starting units:

Black team

White team

Some observations:

  • Early on, Hinrich showed some of his perimeter defensive skills by contesting a Nick Young three point attempt causing Nick to miss badly. He also forced a miss by John Wall largely through being in the proper position.
  • There were flashes that indicate that Gilbert has regained his quickness. Early in the scrimmage it was clear that Nick Young could not stay in front of him, when Gilbert decided to drive to the hoop.
  • Yi's pick and roll defense appears to have improved as he set a number of solid hedges. However, at one point after setting a nice hedge he did not rotate to the proper man, Al Thornton, who hit an open jumper.
  • While Adam Morrison may not be the quickest player in the league, he does play well off of screens and is able to finish with his left at the rim. Not to mention that he has a great stroke that could work very well with this team.
  • When JaVale sets a screen, he tends to rub off the player and sprint back towards the paint. It happens so frequently that I am beginning to wonder if this is by design.
  • John Wall had a few occasions in which he clearly over dribbled. And much like in Summer League, there were times that after he passed the ball, he did not move without the ball - making his defender's job much easier.
  • There were a couple instances in which Morrison's length and position made up for his lack of foot speed. One example was when he was crossed up by John Wall; however, Morrison still forced a missed shot due primarily to his length.
  • Similar to the old Arenas / Hughes days, Gilbert and Hinrich shared bringing the ball up court when both were on the floor.
  • Nothing seems to have changed with Gilbert's range - as evidenced by the 30 ft bank shot he sunk before the buzzer went off.
  • Nick Young could benefit from getting to the hoop and/or hitting a few mid-range jumpers before he starts firing long range shots. Nick never really appeared to get a rhythm with his shot, but in his defense that could have been in part due to how frequently the players were rotated in and out.
  • It appears that after seeing the success that John Wall and JaVale McGee had in the Summer League that the Wizards are trying to incorporate the alley-oop into their offense ala Chris Paul to Tyson Chandler. While the passes were a little off on a couple of occasions, this could easily lead to some easy buckets for JaVale and generate excitement for the Wizards.

After a brief break in action, there were some modifications to the two units.

"Second half" starting units:

White team

  • Gilbert Arenas
  • John Wall
  • Al Thornton
  • JaVale McGee
  • Yi Jianlian

Black team

A few observations:

  • JaVale displayed a nice looking turnaround jumper from about 12 ft over Kevin Seraphin as play resumed. Based on his form, this appears to be one of the moves that he worked on this off-season.
  • While both are in slightly different stages of "raw-ness" it is clear that both Ndiaye and Seraphin like to be physical in the paint and both appear to be in good position to block shots. On one play in particular, both were in great position to block a drive by Arenas. Ndiaye actually blocked the shot, but was called for a foul.
  • There was a brief but interesting matchup between Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin. Both players immediately went to their strength to try to exploit their opponent. When Booker had the ball, he used his quickness to get around Serapin near the three point line and hit a runner in the paint. On the other end of the floor, Seraphin used his bulk to "bang" Booker in the paint, but ultimately missed the shot.
  • It appeared that due to time missed while recovering from his knee injury that Kevin Seraphin is not yet in top condition yet. And while he may not have played as much basketball as some, he does appear to be a little more NBA-ready then some may have thought.

The scrimmage finished on a dunk by John Wall who followed his missed foul shot.   This scrimmage gave us a brief glimpse of how some of these players may fit together, particularly Wall, Arenas and Hinrich.  Clearly, in this brief display you can see evidence that these three will play well together and can actually help one another develop as players.  The battles during practice the rest of the week should be very interesting.

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