The Washington Wizards tipped off their season in relatively forgettable fashion last night against the Cavs. Undermanned, out-coached, and strucken with the inability to contain Kyrie Irving, the patched up lineup for the Wiz instilled a familiar sense of disheartenment amongst their faithful following with a collective murmur of “here we go again”.
Granted, the Wizards were gravely crippled going in to Cleveland, missing their premiere performers in John Wall and Nene, along with Kevin Seraphin, whose rehab can be closely monitored via his Instagram.
But there were several factors, unrelated to injury, that led to the Wizards' ultimate demise. I present to you folks a traditional "It's Only the First Game" report, mapping out a few flaws in dire need of correction as we approach game 2 this Saturday.
Ill-advised shot selection.
Jordan Crawford will soon coin this term. He, along with AJ Price, combined to make only six of their 26 shot attempts, including a ridiculous 2 for 15 from three-point range. Is there really anything I can say to iterate the atrocity of those figures? SERIOUSLY guys.
Nonexistence on the glass.
The Wizards’ diminishing frontcourt was clearly transparent last night and Jan Vesely felt most of the burn. The concept of boxing out was clearly overlooked as Anderson Varejao (play Steve Buckhantz sound bite for pronunciation) mauled the Wiz Kids on the boards, earning 23 rebounds, 11 of them offensive. However, Earl Barron proved his worth over Brian Cook and quite possibly moved himself a a few spots up from the end of the bench. His space-filling size could surely help Emeka Okafor fill that void down low.
Players not aware of their designated roles.
Could have very well named this segment “AJ Price not aware of his role”. Your replacement point guard chucking up a barrage of threes (2 for 9) will always be unsafe for the ultimate success of your basketball team. Price should know better as should Coach Wittman and I’m fully expecting to never witness that again.
Improving player rotations.
Coach Randy Wittman has been busting his tail all offseason trying to weather the injury storm by shuffling his roster while plug and playing different players at various positions. But as we all know, the Wizards face a dangerous discrepancy in the scoring department, something we’ve been stressing since the beginning of last season. At this current stage, the frontrunners in position to be the go-to guys in terms of scoring are Bradley Beal and Martell Webster, both of whom earned a limited amount of burn last night. Yes, Crawford is technically on that list as well, but we all know he'll find his unwarranted opportunities to score, whether you like it or not.
While Beal was subpar offensively, his absence during the third quarter was head scratching. Beal, whom we all know as a great shooter, leaves me anxiously waiting for some more assertiveness, specifically in regards to attacking the basket. Unleash him, Witt!
A sparky Martell Webster provided some positive energy off the bench, something that has become a specialty of his. Webster has shown his ability to put the ball in the basket and I feel the Wizards could use that earlier in games, and much more often. Consider this my reiterated wish to replace Trevor Ariza in the starting lineup.