Despite the improved offensive numbers, especially from the starting line up, I refuse to acknowledge Trevor Ariza or Emeka Okafur as the MVP of tonight’s game. I think it’s a no brainer that it’s Bradley Beal. Besides his game high 22 points, he was also clutch from the line making all eight of his free throws and showing lots of maturity in setting up the offense. Not to mention, he went out with a bang after committing a hard foul and receiving a flagrant 2 late in the game on Monta Ellis as the Bucks guard went in for a lay up to try and ice the game. From this blogger’s perspective, the game ran and operated much smoother for the Wizards when the ball was in Beal’s hands. He showed a lot of patience when bringing the ball up court, played 36 minutes and showed that he can handle a full NBA work load. Lots of positives for Wizards fans.
Monta Ellis continues to fly under the radar as one of the best guards in the game. Fundamentally sound, attacks the basket and can shoot the ball with the best of them. He quietly goes about his business and then before you know it, you look at the box score and see him as the leading scorer in the game half way through the 3rd quarter. He ended up tying Bradley Beal with a game high 22 points. Fluid shooter, lethal when attacking the basket and can step back to nail a jumper right in your face.
Bradley Beal. As much as people point to the last game in Boston, I feel like tonight’s game showed Wizards fans what they can expect from the highly touted 3rd overall pick from Florida. Slowly but surely, Beal continues to show signs of progression and overally, maturity. It’s the little things in the game that really make the difference. For example, after the Wizards go down 50-39 with 3:10 left in the 1st half and A.J. Price took two ill advised shots (totally unlike him). Beal grabs the third offensive rebound of the possession, brings the ball out past the three point line, and sets up the offense the way the starting point guard was unable to in the previous possesions. He calls the play, drives the basket and draws the foul. His raw talent is hard to miss but his adjustment to the NBA is what’s fascinating to watch.
Bradley Beal. I know this sounds like a broken record but plain and simple, the dude can play. To be quite honest, he’s probably the only one of the current starting five that Randy Wittman has gone with over the first few games that should be a legit starter. I guess one could make an argument for Trevor Booker but as of right now, Bradley Beal is the best Wizard on this team not named Kevin Seraphin; who, by the way, also is not a starter on this team. Where is the coaching?
Aggression: Both teams came out and played a very uptempo style of basketball. This was especially surprising for the Wizards who have notoriously gotten out to rough starts in games falling behind 11-2 and 12-2 in the opening minutes of the first quarter in the last two games against the Boston Celtics. Tonight’s Wizards team came out and set the tempo. However Milwaukee was able to respond and go on a 21-4 run after the Wiz Kids opened up a 12-0 lead. Both teams shot a high percentage early on, hit difficult jump shots and rebounded the ball.
Maybe I’m just being pessimistic but I feel like when your team is down 7,8 or 9 points throughout the course of the 4th quarter, you have to put your best offensive players on the court. Especially with under 6 minutes left to play. I understand Ariza and Okafur finally showed up to play (somewhat) but as I looked to the court with 6 minutes left, I see both Seraphin and Crawford on the bench while Jan Vesely, Janero Pargo and A.J. Price let Monta Ellis drive past them and casually put up points with no regard. Almost as if he was blowing kisses in Randy Wittman’s direction for allowing such travesty. Sorry coach, I’ve had your back up until this point. I just can’t see how you can justify putting those guys late in during crunch time. Forgive me not associating Okafur with “late game scoring.”
Janero Pargo and Jan Vesely. Where do I even begin? The guys have contributed nothing to the game, they’ve combined to shoot 2 for 9 from the field with 1 assist. Keep in mind that Pargo was 0 for 6.
Where’s Jordan Crawford? Where’s Kevin Seraphin? Why aren’t your best offensive players in the game when you need them to score? It’s easy for us fans and bloggers to talk about this team’s lack of talent but I think there’s quite a bit of coaching arrogance that’s going in to late game decision making. I’m not blaming Randy for the turnovers, inabilty to make shots or boxing out....but I am blaming him for putting in who he believes to be as “the best players” late in games to try and get this team its first win.