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Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

Film study: Wizards' offense halts in final 5 seconds of regulation

The record is clear about the Wizards' inability to close games out at the end of regulation. The coach can been Randy Wittman or Scott Brooks. The supporting cast can include Trevor Ariza, Paul Pierce or Jared Dudley. 

According to Elias Sports Bureau, John Wall is 0-for-16 when shooting in the final five seconds of a game to tie or win. In Wall's seven seasons, the Wizards are 6 of 47 overall shooting in those situations. Bradley Beal is 1-for-4. 

The Wizards are 1-2 in overtimes this season. In each game, the Wizards had a chance to win on the final possession in regulation:

– Oct. 30 in a 112-103 loss to Memphis: Wall admitted after the fact that he made the wrong read. Mike Conley doesn't allow him to turn the corner on this drive and Vince Carter prevents a shot. Wall went away from Beal, who is getting a screen from Gortat to get him a possible open look. Beal cleared that strong side of the floor also to create better floor balance. At about 3 seconds, a quick pass out to Beal, if he flares to the corner to lose James Ennis, likely gets him deeper but better shot. Instead they go into the extra session tied at 100.

– Nov. 28 in a 101-95 win vs. Sacramento: This is a simple pick-and-roll action with Wall and Gortat and it's the right play considering the personnel on the floor. They get the Kings' worst frontline defender, DeMarcus Cousins, switched onto Wall and he settles for a fallaway jump shot over the 6-11 center. There are two better options looking at you here. Matt Barnes, who is matched up against Markieff Morris who is spotting at the three-point line, and Gortat diving to the basket. Darren Collsion has switched off and Barnes will have to help if Wall makes this read. The other, simpler read is Wall going straight at Cousins who is playing soft and squared up and banking on his speed being better than the big man's lateral movement. And if Wall misses, as long as he gets the ball on the rim Gortat is in position to clean it up no one his size in the play. Another adjustment here is not running the screen-roll to Beal's side of the floor. Garrett Temple, the Kings' best defender, is blanketing him in the strong side corner and running the play to this side kills the spacing. The Wizards go into the extra session tied at 92 but win this time.

– Nov. 30 in a 126-115 loss vs. Oklahoma City: This looks like the right move. Morris screens Russell Westbrook off Wall, who then gets switched onto by Jerami Grant. It appears that Wall drove left with the intention to pass as he knew that Morris would have a mismatch with Westbrook at the rim. The pass isn't clean, almost turns into a steal and Otto Porter misses the shot as he recovers the loose ball. Wall had Grant beat on his first step but discontinued his attack to the rim which allowed him recover. If he attacks the rim and misses the shot, the odds of Morris cleaning it up are better. Morris' chances aren't good anyway as he allowed Westbrook to sneak inside of him on his roll to the basket to takeaway the position and passing angle. If Morris beats Westbrook to the spot, it's an easy pass from Wall at the rim. This appears to be why he was indecisive when getting in the air.

– Nov. 4, 2015 in a 102-99 win vs. San Antonio: This is the biggest moment of Beal's career. Last season, he hit this game-winning shot over the Spurs at Verizon Center. It's not about who takes the last shot. Compare what you see here -- mutliple screens, including one by the eventual shooter Beal on a brush -- and how much more better balanced the floor looks. This is tougher to defend. Marcin Gortat screens for Wall to get the ball which gives him space to operate. Then he pins two defenders, his own man LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, as Beal fills the slot on the opposite side of the floor. But before Beal does that, he brush screens Green to give Wall more space to make an easy pass. Green is so locked into Wall, he's deceived as Gortat then screens him as he tries to fight through. The ball is reversed and Beal gets nothing but real estate for an open shot. Another thing to note here is the screen by Gortat on Leonard, who is trying to chase Beal as he goes to ball screen. That ram screen makes it difficult for defenses to help. Leonard can't recover and Aldridge is late getting to Beal on what's a mismatch from that distance. 

The pick-and-roll between Wall and Morris wasn't a bad idea. It got the Wizards the mismtach they wanted. But they just don't seem comfortable and able to execute that down the stretch the way they do earlier in games.

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Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

Wizards Summer League superlatives: Rui Hachimura, Troy Brown Jr. were the stars

The 2019 Las Vegas Summer League is in the books and this one was much more interesting for the Wizards than they have been in recent years. This year, they had a host of first and second-round picks play for them, as well as some players they recently acquired in their trade with the Lakers.

Here are some superlatives to put a bow on the Wizards' time in Vegas...

Best player: Troy Brown Jr.

Though he only played one game and one quarter before he was shut down with a left knee contusion, Brown was quite clearly the best player on the Wizards' Summer League roster. In his only full game, he put up 18 points and 15 rebounds. Though he only shot 40.6 percent in his brief time in Vegas, he looked like a guy who was advanced beyond the league's level of competition.

For Brown, the question is how much it matters because he essentially did what he should do as a second-year player. It is encouraging and he should draw confidence from the experience. But now he has to show he can produce like that in real NBA games.

Best newcomer: Rui Hachimura

Hachimura only played three of the Wizards' five games and in his first two outings produced uneven results. But his third game was pure dominance, as he posted 25 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He proved a quick learner by adjusting and improving game-by-game.

All in all, it was a solid start to Hachimura's career. He displayed versatility and smarts both on offense and defense. It should give Wizards fan hope he can contribute as a rookie.

Most improved: Isaac Bonga

Many of the players on the Wizards' roster were not returning from last summer, but Bonga showed a nice leap year-over-year from what he did for the Lakers in 2018. Though he wasn't one of the Wizards' best players, he ended up with solid numbers of 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He shot 45.5 percent from the field in 20.2 minutes of action.

The best thing Bonga showed for the Wizards is his athleticism. He is a full 6-foot-9, yet has the mobility of a guard. He is a long ways away from being NBA-ready, but at 19 years old gives the Wizards an intriguing prospect to stash in the G-League.

Needs improvement: Issuf Sanon, Moe Wagner, Admiral Schofield

It wasn't the best Summer League showing for Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second-round pick. He only played a total of 48 minutes in four games and shot 18.2 percent with 1.5 points per game. The Wizards were experimenting with his position, playing him both at point and off the ball, and he didn't look comfortable doing either.

Granted, Sanon's biggest strength at this point is his defense, but he doesn't seem to have any NBA-ready offensive skills. Unless he gets up to speed quickly, he will have to become really, really good on defense to make the leap overseas.

Like Bonga, Wagner debuted after coming over in the Lakers trade. But Wagner didn't have the best time in Las Vegas, as he shot just 31 percent from the field and 7.1 percent from three. It was a small sample size of just four games, but Wagner is known as a shooter and didn't look like one in the Summer League. He also had trouble on defense against quicker match-ups.

Schofield, the Wizards' 2019 second-round pick, shot poorly (38.5 FG%, 22.2 3PT%) and struggled to find his role on defense. He has some intriguing qualities, but it might take him some time to figure out how to compete against NBA athletes while lacking height and quickness to play the way he did in college.

Biggest surprise: Jemerrio Jones

Perhaps this should not be surprising because it is what Jones is known for, but his rebounding really stood out. He played only about 27 minutes in three games, yet pulled in 13 boards. That breaks out to 4.3 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game, or about one rebound every other minute. He averaged 17.4 rebounds per 36 minutes.

Keep in mind he is only 6-foot-5. Based on efficiency, Jones was the Wizards' best rebounder and he is the size of a shooting guard. He has a lot to improve on before he can stick around in the NBA, but it will be fun watching him grab 15-plus boards on the regular this season with the Go-Go. 

Biggest disappointment: Wizards' opponents

If there was one prevailing theme in the 2019 Summer League it was teams holding out their top draft picks either due to actual injuries or the fear they will suffer one. The Wizards saw this firsthand. They even did it themselves by keeping Hachimura out of two of their games.

The Wizards played the Pelicans without first overall pick Zion Williamson or Jaxson Hayes, the eighth pick, or even Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the 17th pick. They played the Hawks without De'Andre Hunter (fourth pick) or Cam Reddish (10th pick). And the Nets and Clippers didn't have any top draft picks of note.

The Wizards did get to see third overall pick R.J. Barrett and the Knicks in their final game. New York also had Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox, as well as Iggy Brazdeikis, who was a Summer League standout. But neither Hachimura or Brown played in that game for Washington.

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Rui Hachimura was a star in Vegas, earning All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

Rui Hachimura was a star in Vegas, earning All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

Welcome to the Wizards Rui Hachimura.

In his first action as a Washington Wizard, the first-round draft pick brought home some hardware after being named to the All-NBA Summer League Second Team.

Hachimura showed out in a Summer League that was headlined by which stars were not playing on the court. In his final contest against the Atlanta Hawks, Hachimura dominated the court.

Playing a total of three games in Las Vegas, he averaged 19.3 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Those stats paired with a 2-1 record in the games he played garnered the Second Team honor. 

He was joined by Chris Boucher (Toronto), Jaxson Hayes (New Orleans), Anfernee Simons (Portland) and Lonie Walker IV (San Antonio) on the Second Team. 

The Gonzaga product is looking to become the best Japanese player to step onto an NBA basketball court and, although it is a small sample size, he showed some major potential in his limited action. 

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