The Wizards did not have a good week. They lost to the Heat and the 76ers, who have a combined 5 wins against teams other than the Wizards. The only thing that saved the Wizards from a winless week was a strong outing against a fairly disinterested Knicks squad.
In a week like this, it’s tempting to shut everyone out of the palace and just berate everyone for their performance. But that doesn’t reflect the reality of what happened this week. There were a few players who put together good weeks who should be recognized.
Keys to the Palace
If nothing else, last week served as a great example of how much better the Wizards are when Markieff Morris is on the floor.
He got into early, somewhat questionable foul trouble against the 76ers that limited his playing time. Despite that, he still scored 19 points and finished with a +13. Had he simply been able to avoid one of those early fouls, the Wizards probably beat Philadelphia.
The following night, he put together an outstanding defensive performance against Kristaps Porzingis, who was coming off a career night the game, to help the Wizards cruise to a win over the Knicks.
On Saturday, the Wizards got off to a nice start against Miami but everything turned when he rolled his ankle halfway through the second quarter. Once he went out, the Wizards struggled to generate offense and Marcin Gortat didn’t have any help to slow down Hassan Whiteside.
Typically, when Beal returns from an injury it takes him a few games to get back into rhythm. Usually, he’s very tentative and tries to pick his spots while he gets his legs back under him. That wasn’t the case his first two games back. He shot 45.9 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from deep, made all of his free throws, and had 9 assists over his first two games back. This is the Beal the Wizards need to get to justify the big bucks they spent on him this summer.
Part of me wanted to demote Wall to a guest pass this week because the team had a rough week and while it wasn’t all Wall’s fault, he wasn’t blameless. Still, the man had 84 points in 92 minutes of action, had a 3.57:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, had an effective field goal percentage of 56.3 percent, and the team was +17 when he was on the floor. While there are some minor things to quibble with, his only real crime this week was that he was only able to play 92 minutes.
Good News: Porter was bound to catch fire from deep after starting out so poorly, and that’s exactly what happened. He shot 8-16 from deep over the past three games.
Bad news: Porter was bound to regress from inside the arc after such a blazing hot start. He was 7-24 inside the arc the past three games.
Satoransky was basically the definition of guest pass this season. He didn’t do anything terrible, but in a week where the Wizards needed a spark, he didn’t bring it.
The Wizards sent House down to the D-League over the weekend to get some playing time with the Delaware 87ers. He promptly responded by averaging 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game before the Wizards called him back up. Let’s hope the Wizards can build on the confidence he gained in Delaware and turn it into some on-court production.
His numbers looked great this week, but they undersell some of his struggles last week. He didn’t make a big enough impact against the 76ers, who were missing Joel Embiid, and he was just way overmatched against Whiteside, particularly in the second half.
Oubre is still just way too predictable offensively. He had to be the only player in the arena who didn’t realize Hassan Whiteside was going to stuff him on this play:
Nicholson got some playing time this week and he shot the ball well, going 4-6 from the field, but other than that he did almost nothing on the floor. He didn’t grab a rebound or record an assist in his 25 minutes of action. If it wasn’t for the one steal he grabbed and the five fouls he committed, he wouldn’t been shut out of the non-scoring parts of the box score entirely.
The Wizards were a -10 with him on the floor, which continues a very disturbing trend of the Wizards just not being competitive when he’s out there. The team is being outscored by 19.5 points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. That’s the second-worst Net Rating on the team behind Trey Burke. Yes, those numbers are influenced by spending a lot of time with other bench players who have struggled this season, but the worst part is the team struggles most offensively when he’s out there, scoring 89.1 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. By comparison, the 76ers are scoring 95.8 points per 100 possessions this season.
We all knew McClellan’s outburst against the Bulls wouldn’t be sustainable, but it would have been nice if he had brought a little bit more to the table in Wednesday’s game against the 76ers. But he didn’t, and as a result, we’ve been treated to an unhealthy dose of Marcus Thornton instead. He’ll undoubtedly get some more chances to make an impact later in the season, hopefully he can take a firmer grasp of the opportunity the next time around.
Trey Burke, Jason Smith, Marcus Thornton
You all know the stories about these guys. We don’t need to rehash everything we’ve already said here.
No Evaluations due to lack of play
Hang in there Ian Mahinmi and Daniel Ochefu.
All numbers via stats.nba.com