I always enjoy the thing Sports Illustrated does every year where they ask anonymous scouts to give their take on all 30 NBA teams. I don't accept it as absolute truth, because they say some wonky things (the Pacers preview in particular), but it's a good snapshot of how people in the league gameplan for each club.
The Wizards' section is here and is a lot more complimentary than I expected. In years past, scouts would pick apart the Wizards' weaknesses relentlessly, and you left feeling like your optimism was shot down. There are definitely questions this year, but overall, it was a fairly balanced perspective. Here's what the scout said about John Wall, for example:
Wall got a big five-year contract extension during the summer, but he still has a lot to prove. His shooting is always going to be an issue -- people are going to continue to load up the paint against him and challenge him to beat them from the outside. Defensively, he gets steals but takes a lot of chances on the ball that his teammates have to clean up. He can affect the game defensively with his size and quickness, but he can also be attacked.
Wall is a beast pushing the ball, though. What makes him transcendent is his speed. It puts so much pressure on you. He can push it after a make or miss and get the ball up the floor before defenders have their heads turned.
I think that sums up Wall pretty well. We know about his shooting, and I and others on this site have documented his defensive gambling while playing up the many benefits of him pushing the ball. What's left unsaid here is that Wall's speed gets the Wizards into their halfcourt offense so quickly. Of course, if Wall shows the lack of focus and poor jumper he's displayed too often in the preseason, then we have cause for concern.
Some other tidbits that I found interesting:
- The scout questions the Emeka Okafor/Nene combination, saying it doesn't "fit their style on offense" because both play in the paint. Al Harrington is mentioned as a possible "best fit."
- Martell Webster is seen as someone that can be "an instant scorer off the bench," while Trevor Ariza is someone that can defend, run and "hit some threes." Maybe Randy Wittman isn't so crazy to switch the starting lineup. (Note: I still think it's a bad idea).
- Speaking of Wittman, the scout's a fan. "No one would say Wittman is James Nasmith, but he is underrated."
More from Bullets Forever:
- Wizards vs Cavaliers Final Score: Wizards rally in second half to win 101-82
- Wizards vs Cavaliers: Wiz take control in second half, blowout Cavs
- Wizards vs Cavaliers: Rivalry (sorta) Renewed (I guess)!
- Wizards vs Pistons recap: Comeback not enough as Washington falls, 99-96
- Wizards vs Pistons preview: Can Andre Drummond be contained?