Let's hope this isn't an omen, because I couldn't think of a worse way to end the preseason. First, we go into Detroit, and they simply wear us down in the third quarter. Then, against Toronto, the game was never close, and they just got destroyed on both ends of the court.
Here's the thing. It's just preseason, but the Wizards picked the wrong preseason games to play badly. Most teams play their starters more at the end of the preseason than they do at the beginning. The Wizards may have finished 4-4, but after starting 3-0, the only team they beat was the Lithuanian squad. They won the games where other teams were trying to catch their rhythm.
All through the last couple games, there have been warning signs. Without Gilbert in the lineup yesterday, Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler shot 3-18, Brendan Haywood looked lethargic again, and the defense surrendered 49 percent shooting. Andray Blatche, after dominating in the first few games, shot 2-10 yesterday. DeShawn Stevenson and Nick Young both played well yesterday, but both struggled early in the preseason. Even Dominic McGuire wasn't the same force defensively as he had been.
Perhaps it means nothing, but I'm not all that encouraged going into the season. I'm worried about Gilbert's knee, and I'm wondering whether the bench will be able to put forth a real consistent effort night in and night out. I'm worried that Stevenson is going to play more like he did at the end of last year than he did at the beginning, and I'm a little worried about the frontcourt depth.
Ultimately, though, it all comes down to Gilbert, which is exactly the scenario I was hoping we'd avoid. Right now, that's not a big deal, because our bench still isn't cultivated, but it could be later in the season. That's ultimately going to be the key to the season.
What did you take away from this preseason?