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Five things we learned from the Wizards’ season opener against the Mavericks

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The Washington Wizards lost 108-100, but there were some positive take-aways as well from Rui Hachimura and their supporting cast of European players. Still, they need to improve their ability to get to the free throw line.

The Washington Wizards lost 108-100 to the Dallas Mavericks yesterday night. Watch highlights of the game in the video above. Here are two key stats and after, five things we learned from yesterday:

Stats of the Game: 33-18 and 32-22

What’s 33-18? That’s the total number of free throws the Mavericks took compared to the Wizards last night. Since both teams shot over 80 percent from the free throw line, the Wizards could have made this game more interesting toward the end if they were able to get to the line more often.

Now why did the Mavericks shoot so many more free throws? That’s because of the second stat. The Wizards committed 32 personal fouls compared to the Mavericks’ 22. Since the game got closer toward the end, it is expected that Washington would foul more to force Dallas to shoot free throws and slow down the clock.

However, Washington still committed 24 fouls through the first three quarters compared to Dallas’ 18. The Wizards will need to make some adjustments to limit their fouling.


Now, that the stats are out of the way, let’s get to five things we learned from the game!

Bradley Beal could be a 25-6-6 player this season

Last season, Beal averaged over 25 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game. This season, he could realistically average 25 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists per game. He only scored 19 points last night, but he grabbed 6 rebounds and dished 9 assists. It will be interesting to see how his rebounding and assisting numbers look over the next month to see if this becomes a more concrete possibility.

Both teams’ European players were in full display!

The Wizards and Mavericks, like most NBA teams have several European players on their rosters. The Mavericks’ Europeans played larger roles on their team than the Wizards’. So as you might expect, they made a bigger impact on the game as well.

For Dallas, Slovenian guard Luka Doncic scored 34 points and Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis added 23 more for Dallas. I think we all saw Doncic poised for a special year after his impressive rookie campaign last year. He got into a bit of a one-on-one with Bradley Beal (more on his ejection later) but still showed great poise.

Porzingis played his first game in over a year due to injury and could form one of the Western Conference’s best frontcourt duos with Doncic as they get acclimated to one another.

Finally, Dallas’ starting center Maxi Kleber is German. However, he was scoreless though he did get 8 rebounds.

The Wizards may not have a European star like the Mystics do in — WNBA FINALS MVP EMMA MEESSEMAN! (OK, I just couldn’t help adding her name on this piece!)

But really, Washington’s Europeans played considerable supporting roles last night. Latvian forward Davis Bertans shot just 2-of-8 from the field and scored 7 points off the bench. This will be a long season so Bertans should have better nights as the season goes on.

German wing Issac Bonga was a somewhat surprise choice to start at the small forward position ahead of Bertans, but he scored 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 23 minutes of play. And fellow German center Moritz Wagner scored 13 points off the bench though 11 of them came in the fourth quarter when the outcome was all but decided.

Rui Hachimura could be the power forward the Wizards need long term!

The rookie forward had a 14 point, 10 rebound performance last night while playing just 24 minutes. I wrote a bit more in detail about that earlier this morning here, but let me say that I am impressed that his pro debut was very good. Over the long run, he could be a major piece of a future contending Wizards team.

Washington isn’t afraid to shoot the three, but it still isn’t a true strength

The Wizards attempted 41 threes last night but made just 11 of them. That’s a 26.8 percent shooting rate. Before we scream at the Wizards for shooting so poorly from deep, Bradley Beal only shot 1-of-11 from deep. So without Beal, the Wizards made 10-of-30 from long range, which isn’t very good, but not terrible either.

Alan pointed out last weekend that the Wizards are likely moving in this direction as a three-point shooting happy team. While basketball analytic-philes (is that the word?) want teams to shoot more threes, the Wizards still need to improve their three-point shooting and be ready for long rebounds when they don’t happen. Beal’s numbers from deep should improve with the law of averages.

Beal’s ejection was a bit overboard

The Wizards were behind by single digits with just over one minute left to go in the game before Beal was ejected after getting into some trash talk with Doncic. I don’t think Beal deserved to get the boot, but he also can’t get involved in these situations. The last thing we need is the Wizards leading in technical fouls.