The Wizards Select Team kicks off the first Summer League action DC fans have enjoyed since John Wall-to-JaVale McGee looked like the pipeline of the future. Shelvin Mack, Bradley Beal, Chris Singleton, Jan Vesely and the in-famous Tomas Satoransky are all slated to attend and I couldn't be more pumped. The Wizards are heading towards a season with expectations of competitiveness and a still brighter future. This is the moment at Walt Disney World when you finally get into the air-conditioning after half an hour (or more) in the humidity and direct sunlight. Or maybe it's just a patch of shade. Whatever.
First up is the Hawks. Do you remember [random big man] hanging [career numbers] on the Wiz? Mike Scott is the Summer League version of that guy. Not our Mike Scott, by the way. There was immediately talk Atlanta had reached with the #23 when they selected John Jenkins out of Vanderbilt. In the wake of the Joe Johnson trade, the Hawks will need buckets in the worst way (Lou Williams notwithstanding), and I expect the SEC's leading scorer sporting the 43.9% from the college arc to give Bradley Beal an early test. Beal's defense is purportedly a strong point, and hopefully we'll see him fighting over screens later today. John Shurna, Derrick Caracter, Pape Sy and Paul Millsap's brother Elijah round off a squad with fringe NBA talent that should let our guys get up to speed without getting overwhelmed.
The gloves come off, talent-wise, when the Wiz take on the Rockets. Of course, a possible Dwight Howard trade could play havoc with that roster. Assuming Houston hasn't pulled the trigger, Chandler Parsons will head up a Rockets Select Team including Royce White, a point forward whose pteromerhanophobia caused him to fall from a likely Top Ten-lock to No. 16 while being projected to fall farther. If he's bringing the ball up the floor (which is not out of the realm of possibility) with Jeremy Lamb spreading the floor, look for our bigs to get pulled away in help defense. If the rotations and recoveries aren't on the money, you can count on Mr. Parsons and Terence Jones to make the Wizards pay. If you're going to watch one Summer League game this year, make it this one.
The Wizards are also set to make their debut against the D-League All-Stars. I literally have no idea what to expect...except points. Lots of points. Like most of the Summer League, but here's what I'm most curious about. The Wizards ended the regular season on a high note and were of course much better following the Nene Hilario acquisition. Does the defensive intensity that fueled the finish carry over? Typically, the Summer League is where 'No Defense Wins Glory'. I'm hoping to see the furiously kinetic play the Wizards will be known for, and I'm hoping to see it on both ends of the court.