The Washington Wizards Summer League experience has mercifully come to an end. The team finished with a 1-3 record after having one game cancelled due to COVID protocols. The team looked disjointed, especially on offense, but there were a few positive moments, like Corey Kispert’s 18-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks.
On this week’s Bleav in Wizards podcast, Larry Hughes and I interviewed Gonzaga broadcaster (and former All-American) Dan Dickau. Dickau has seen most of Kispert’s games over the last four seasons so he had a lot of unique insight about his fellow West Coast Conference MVP. Dickau and Hughes provided several compelling reasons for why we shouldn’t read too much into Summer League performances.
Dickau made an interesting point that even if a player doesn’t look good in Summer League, that’s actually still a positive outcome because it allows the coaching staff a head start on identifying areas where they need to improve. The Wizards’ two draft picks, Kispert and Isaiah Todd, showed some positive flashes but also what they need to work on. In my opinion, both guys would benefit from some early season run in the G League.
Later in our show, we spent some time discussing several of the other players we would like to see on the Capital City Go-Go this season. Now that Summer League is over, I thought this would be a good time to list the players who I think deserve a Go-Go roster spot.
Caleb Homesley, 6’6, wing, Liberty, undrafted in 2020
Homesley led the team in scoring with 12 points per game in 26 minutes of play. He also contributed 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1 block while shooting 30% from three. Those may not seem like overwhelming stats but Homesley just looked the part of an NBA player. I think he would look even better with more structure and a real team concept to fit into.
Mason Jones, 6’5, guard, Arkansas, undrafted in 2020
Jones was a bit too ball dominant on this team for my personal liking but he has experience putting the ball in the hoop in an NBA game. For that, it’s worth seeing if he can continue to add more to his game with additional coaching. In Vegas, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and, an unfortunate, 4 turnovers.
The turnovers were hard to ignore and he was very foul prone, averaging 3 per game in just 19 minutes of play. Jones would have to score at an insane clip to earn NBA minutes if he is going to be that sloppy with the ball and poor defensively. The G League seems like a good proving ground to see if he can improve in those areas.
Isaiah Todd, 6-10, forward, G League Ignite, 2021 second round draft pick
Given the glut of forwards currently on the Wizards roster, it seems like the best development move for Todd would be to start the season in the G League but with frequent call-ups to be exposed to the Wizards’ coaching staff and environment. In three games, Todd averaged 8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and took a lot of three-pointers. He made 1.7 of his 7 attempts per game, which is only 24%. On the bright side, at least he was confident enough to take them?
Jaime Echenique, 6’11, center, Wichita State, undrafted in 2020
Echenique was probably the one pleasant surprise for me on this whole team. In 9 minutes per game, he averaged 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1 block. He showed good footwork, touch around the basket, and solid mechanics on his jump-shot.
I knew almost nothing about him coming into Summer League but I saw enough there that I want see more of him. He’s already 24 years old so who knows how much better he’s going to get but his combination of size and skill should be incentive enough to find out.
Jordan Goodwin, 6’3, guard, St. Louis, undrafted in 2021
I hoped that Goodwin would be a steadying force for the team offensively once Cassius Winston was ruled out due to health and safety protocols. But the offense never seemed to come together and while it’s fair to partly attribute that to his play, I’m not sure Chris Paul could have made this group look organized and cohesive.
Goodwin shot the ball very poorly but he brought other things to the table that would be beneficial to see more of on a G League roster. He averaged 5 rebounds a game, which is great for a guard and shows the type of hustle you hope would be contagious to teammates. He also averaged 3.3 steals per game (7 of those came in one game), which also shows he has a nose for the ball and will get after people defensively.
The physical tools are there and it’s worth seeing if he can put it all together with more structure around him. We interviewed Goodwin on Bleav in Wizards and it’s also immediately apparent he’s the kind of high-character guy Tommy Sheppard wants around.
Jay Huff, 7-1, center, Virginia, undrafted in 2021
I was really underwhelmed by Huff but I think he’s another guy who was at a disadvantage in this setting. He’s used to an extremely structured environment coming out of Virginia and that was clearly not the case in Vegas. In 18 minutes, Huff averaged 4.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. It’s worth seeing if he can anchor a G League defense and knock down a few shots when someone can create better looks for him.
Xavier Rathan-Mayes, 6’3, guard, Florida State, undrafted in 2017
Rathan-Mayes didn’t show me much to make me think he can eventually contribute at the NBA level but he was pretty careful with the ball. Considering their troubles valuing the basketball, his 4.3:1.5 assist to turnover ratio was pretty solid. Like Goodwin, he also shot the ball very poorly. I think he’d be serviceable in the backup point guard role for the Go-Go but I wouldn’t rely on him for anything more than that.