It's just the Charlotte Bobcats, but it was nice to see the Washington Wizards get the Randy Wittman era off to a good start with a 92-75 win. It's hard to find anything too instructive since the Bobcats might be one of the worst teams I've ever seen play professional basketball, but the sign of a major gap in talent comes from blowout wins like this. For one game at least, the Wizards really got after it defensively, moved the ball and were able to get easy buckets in the open floor.
Some more notes on a game where there wasn't a ton to pull out.
- Wow, the Charlotte Bobcats are really bad. That might be the worst starting lineup we'll see in the NBA all year.
- Nick Young definitely got beat by Matt Carroll a couple times, but the Wizards also did a nice job finding him for some early opportunities. His shots were within the flow of the offense, though it should be noted that the Bobcats were providing very little defensive resistance.
- I liked seeing Andray Blatche commit to being in the paint with his offensive rebounding and post-ups. I reserve the right to not make too much out of it until he plays the not-Bobcats.
- Liked the action that the Wizards used at the four-and-a-half minute mark with Wall screening for Young along a number of high screens. Definitely a new look, even though Jan Vesely ruined it with an offensive foul on a bad screen. Projecting forward, it'd be interesting to see Wall give it up to a shooting guard and circle around to catch the ball on the move with two big men up high to set screens for him.
- The Bobcats' frontcourt is terrible. Boris Diaw, D.J. White and Derrick Brown couldn't create anything offensively. The Wizards played good defense on them, but it was only the baseline kind of good defense. The Wizards' defenders cut off the initial move and that was enough to force a turnover.
- Nice job from Jan Vesely in limited time. Wittman continued to play him at power forward, and I think he's a bit more comfortable there because he's quicker than most power forwards and can guard smaller ones. He still isn't a great rebounder or screen-setter, but with the league going smaller and smaller, I think his future is as a small 4.
- Lots of good screening action to free up Jordan Crawford curling into the middle. Again, consider the defense, but if Crawford can do that against better defenders, he'll have begun to figure out how to play within a team setting instead of freelancing just to get his own points.
- Before the game, Randy Wittman said he wanted JaVale McGee to make it his sole focus to lead the league in blocked shots. I think McGee took that to heart in this game.
- Two hands, Andray. Please.
- I honestly can't think of a serious talking point for why the Wizards went up 20, other than to say the Bobcats are one of the worst teams I've ever seen.
- Good to see some off-ball movement. The Wizards seemed to be diving into open space more, especially into the lane. Very little pick and popping.
- Shelvin Mack locked down Kemba Walker at the end of the first half. Very nice job.
- Liked seeing the ball denial of the Wizards' big men on the passes the Bobcats tried to make to initiate the offense. Again, want to see more of that against teams that aren't the Bobcats.
- Easy to blame Blatche and Rashard Lewis for bad plays that allowed the Bobcats to go on a mini-run, and that's deserved, but I think everyone kind of got sloppy. Wall took a mad dash to the rim that was very unnecessary, for example. Those are the kinds of plays you have to avoid when up big.
- Blatche's missed dunks and general inability to actually get any lift caused him to pas up a wide-open lane when he did dive to the basket on a pick and roll.
- John Wall, folks. Nice floater, great defense to force Derrick Brown into the self pass, great block and finish, great push to set up Blatche for an unmissable dunk. He's the best player on the floor, and that very brief stretch of stardom shows what he is capable of doing. Reminder: this was the Bobcats.
- Liked seeing Crawford shot-fake and drive instead of settling for jumpers.
- Mack got a lot more burn than he did in previous games, which I kind of like. One thing I'd like to see Wittman try: play Mack off the ball with Wall for short stretches. I know Crawford and Young have the position on lockdown, but Mack played off the ball at Butler, so I think it could work for short stretches.
- Really not much to say about that fourth quarter. All I'll say is that it was good to see the defensive effort continue all throughout the quarter.
- Blatche's stats for his first game under a new coach: 20.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 55 percent shooting. This is in three games.
A win is a win, and that's the most important thing. Hopefully everyone involved doesn't get too giddy about the win and makes sure to build on it rather than assume it'll always be this easy.