The Wizards dropped their fourth preseason game, 98-88, to the Brooklyn Nets. The game was close until a fourth quarter surge, led in part by a slimmed-down Andray Blatche, put the Nets ahead by a comfortable margin. The Wizards struggled to create quality shots, shooting only 39 percent from the floor as a team, and failed to find an answer for Deron Williams' post game. Martell Webster came up big tonight (18 points, 10 from the charity stripe), along with Bradley Beal, who scored 13 points in 30 minutes. Jan Vesely looked lost and was in foul trouble all night.
Martell Webster: When did this guy turn into Paul Pierce? He scored like crazy, defended reasonably well, hit almost every key shot, made the extra pass and always seemed to know what he was doing.
Bradley Beal: He continued to score well and within the flow of the offense. I know that his lack of a strong one-on-one game is considered a pretty major weakness for him, but it might actually be good for team chemistry that he's not going to break a play and launch a 20 footer once a quarter.
Jan Vesely: It's really amazing how bad Vesely is at catching and shooting. He bobbled the ball a lot tonight and always seemed to need to gather himself before going up for a dunk. He could have a really nice career as a defensive ace if he could just learn to catch and dunk, but unless he improves, I don't see how he can be anything more than a bench player.
Trevor Ariza: He looked completely lost on both ends of the floor tonight. He put up decent numbers, but a player like him need to contribute more than empty stats.
- Ariza's defensive activity seems to have a positive correlation with his offensive assertiveness. He really seems to be far more interested in getting steals than actually locking down his man.
- The first half provided a sequence that summed up Ariza's strengths and weaknesses. He used his length to easily nab a steal that he had no business being able to reach, leading to a fast break. A few minutes later, he caught the ball on the wing, thought about splitting the defense, couldn't do anything, then passed the ball back out. They help a lot on defense, but those long arms really seem to hurt his handle and shooting stroke.
- Beal had a breakaway dunk sent back spectacularly by Humphries, then saw Keith Bogans hit a three right in his face on the next play. Ouch.
- The Martell Webster pick-up is looking smarter and smarter every day. In addition to getting buckets -- something he's always been able to do, at least to an extent -- he was really active and was very good about hustling after rebounds and making the extra pass.
- Andray Blatche was very active and really seemed to want to stick it to the Wizards. If he was the type of guy who'd want to stick it to 28 other teams, he'd probably still be here.
- Jannero Pargo could actually has the tools to be a pretty good defender.
- Vesely is really good at tapping rebounds out to his teammates.
- Ariza can still run the floor with the best of them. He had a nice dunk early in the fourth quarter and should really benefit from playing with an up-tempo point guard like Wall.
- Blatche looks like he lost a legitimate 25 pounds over the summer and looked quicker than I've ever seen him.
- Deron Williams' post-game is really good. What I like most about it is that he can score or pass --most guys only do one (Kidd, Davis) or the other (Billups, Arenas).
- Blatche was good over the last few minutes, but the fundamental changes in his conditioning and effort level wouldn't have occurred in Washington.