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Wizards preseason ends with a dud

A player-by-player review of the preseason that was

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks
Wizards forward Deni Avdija against the Toronto Raptors.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In just four preseason games, the Wizards got all that The Jordan Poole Experience has to offer. On Wednesday, he lit up the Knicks with 41 points. On Friday, he shot 1-15 from the floor to tally just 7.

So it goes.

If nothing else, the thumping they took from the Toronto Raptors should serve as a reminder that bookmakers set the over/under for the Wizards at 24.5 wins for a reason. More specifically, they couldn’t shoot (42.2% effective field goal percentage), got hammered on the boards (60-42), and couldn’t defend (they allowed the Raptors a 128 offensive rating).

Some thoughts on the players in order of minutes played:

  • Bilal Coulibaly — The 19-year old had his worst outing of the preseason. On offense, he shot 1-5 from the floor and 0-3 from three-point range. He looked eager to get the ball out of his hands. He was better on the defensive end, where he came up with a steal and a spectacular blocked shot. He also got pushed around in the post by Pascal Siakam. (That’s an observation, not a criticism.)
  • Tyus Jones — Worst game of Jones’ preseason — 5-11 from the floor, 1-4 from deep, 3 assists and 3 turnovers. He got a couple steals and seems to have reasonably good defensive instincts.
  • Ryan Rollins — After a terrific performance against the Knicks, Rollins got 24 minutes to make a closing argument for being part of the 15-man roster. He shot 1-7 and did little else to distinguish himself.
  • Jordan Poole — As former Wizards beat writer Fred Katz used to say, “Yikes guys.” Poole shot 1-15 from the floor and 0-6 from deep. He made his free throws (5-5) and had four assists but his play was brutal.
  • Deni Avdija — Positives: 4-7 from three-point range and 5 defensive rebounds. Negatives: 3 turnovers in 20 minutes, no free throws, no assists, steals or blocks. For at least one game, he joined the ranks of inefficient gunners — his usage rate was 34.4% and his offensive rating was 100. Still, he was pretty good, and if he can replicate this kind of performance consistently during the regular season, he’ll have some value to the Wizards.
  • Corey Kispert — Had trouble getting his shot against Toronto’s arsenal of rangy defenders, though he did have a nice dunk.
  • Daniel Gafford — I get it, he’s a lob threat, he dunks hard, and his teammates want to feed him for those spectacular alley-oops. It’s just that it seems to me that opponents are also aware he’s a lob threat who dunks hard, and that his teammates want to feed him for those highlight dunks. Also, the Wizards need him to play better defense and do more rebounding.
  • Delon Wright — Shot well (4-5 from the floor with a three) and produced a couple assists in 15 minutes. Solid tune-up game for the veteran.
  • Danilo Gallinari — I know it would take an hour, but I want to see a 100-meter footrace between Gallinari and Otto Porter Jr. Gallinari takes “old man game” to the extreme. I’ll charitably call what he does as “economy of movement.” Even if he can’t move, he can still ball fake and shoot.
  • Eugene Omoruyi — That’s how you preseason, if you’re a fringe guy. Omoruyi had a 45.4% usage rate (not a typo) and an offensive rating of 128. He scored 16 points, and tallied 3 rebounds, a steal and an assist in just 12 minutes on the floor.
  • Jared Butler — I had Butler with a first round grade in my draft analysis. Having seen him throughout preseason, I can’t say I like his game much. Too much dribbling in place and chancy passing. Last night — 3 assists and 2 turnovers. In his favor, he is a willing and sometimes effective defender.
  • Patrick Baldwin Jr. — Like Rollins and Omoruyi, Baldwin had the chance to put some positives on film and force the coaches to make a difficult decision about whether to keep him on the 15-man roster or send him to the G League. He made it easy — 0-5 from the floor. For a guy reputed to be an excellent shooter, he doesn’t make many shots.

Mike Muscala, Xavier Cooks, and Taj Gibson also played, but I don’t have much to say about any of them. The way they’re playing Cooks at the end of preseason games suggests he’s on the bubble to make the team or be released.

Next up for the Wizards: the season opener on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at the Indiana Pacers.

Next up for me: The Forecast. I have the numbers in, and...well...you’re gonna have to wait until Monday.