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Lineup shuffling Wizards win; Seraphin leaves with calf injury

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Lineup shuffling Wizards win; Seraphin leaves with calf injury

Recapping the Wizards first preseason win of the year, a 99-95 victory at Cleveland...

The basics: Making his first start in three preseason games, Bradley Beal scored 14 points, tying Jordan Crawford and Brian Cook with team-high honors while Jan Vesely assertively added 13.

As promised, Wizards coach Randy Wittman shook up the starting lineup, inserting Beal, Martell Webster and Jannero Pargo while bringing Crawford, Trevor Ariza and A.J Price off the bench. Of the new starters, only the poised rookie seemed to maintain his level of play. Crazy to think the 19-year-old Beal has been the most consistent Wizard during the preseason - but it's true. Outside of the St. Louis native innocently tweaking some stunned D.C. sports fans by tweeting out some Cardinals joy following Game 5's epic comeback against the Nationals, the kid has been rather spot on. Meanwhile the two highest plus-minus lines on the team belonged to Crawford (+14), whose skill set and demeanor are ultimately best suited for a sixth-man role, and Price (+11). Once again, Washington fell behind early and trailed by eight points after the first quarter, but the margin never ballooned into double figures.

Bumps, bruises and then some: Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the victory is that it came with so many out of action, especially up front. For the third straight game no Emeka Okafor (food poisoning), no Trevor Booker (sore left hamstring) and yes, no Nene or John Wall. Chris Singleton (right shoulder contusion) joined that dinged up group pregame. Just five minutes in, center Kevin Seraphin did as well with a right calf strain. He never returned, leaving non-roster invitee Shavlik Randolph (nine rebounds) to start the second half at center. Remember when the question entering the camp was how would the Wizards find playing time for everyone up front...

The point guards: Pargo is the most experienced and the most offensively potent of the lead guard options, but over the last two games, he's also been the most turnover-prone. In just over 16 minutes against Cleveland, the 33-year-old committed six turnovers (with two assists), the same amount he coughed up against New York on Thursday. Meanwhile Shelvin Mack (nine points, three assists in 20 minutes) continues to value possession as the rising second-year guard has not committed a single turnover during the preseason. Mack, who sank 4 of 6 shots and continues performing at a higher level when not tasked with initiating the attack, also formed a nice duo with Crawford (seven assists, five turnovers), who has no issue with the attack initiating angle. Price finished with seven points and one assist in 11 minutes.

Kyrie Irving (nine points, seven assists) did play for the Cavaliers, but did not take over the game and missed 10 of 13 field goal attempts.

Jan Vesely: Here's a portion of what Wittman said Thursday after Vesely's tepid two points, four rebound performance against the Knicks.

"Jan’s got to be more aggressive. Right now, he’s  a little tentative when he’s rolling to the basket and finishing at the rim. It’s not with the authority that we’ve seen."

That was not the case for Vesely against Anderson Varejao and the Cavaliers other bigs. He made all five of his field goal attempts including two jumpers outside of 12 feet, but also stuck his nose into the fray on the boards and defensively with two blocks. Pulling down five rebounds in 32 minutes won't cut it on a regular basis and he's hardly got it all figured out offensively, but this level of effort should keep Vesely in the playing rotation on a regular basis even when all hands are on deck.

In the bonus...Ariza finished 2 of 6 from the field and is now shooting a brick-laying 23.8 percent during preseason...There might not be a roster spot available for Cook (3 of 6 from beyond the arc) when all the injured return, but the NBA veteran is reminding the coaches he can fill the stretch-four role if needed...The Wizards return to action Monday (7:30 p.m.; televised on Comcast SportsNet) against the Brooklyn Nets in the brand new Barclays Center.

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $3.3 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.5 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 86.3 FT%, 49.1 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 11/29 at Sixers - 21 points, 4 rebounds, assist, steal, 5-for-11 FG, 3-for-6 3PT, 8-for-9 FT

Season review: The Wizards took a flier on Jodie Meeks last summer in what seemed at the time to be a low-risk contract with a potentially high reward, if he could stay healthy and play to his career norms. They were in obvious need of help at backup shooting guard and three-point shooting for their bench.

Meeks fell short of those expectations for a variety of reasons. Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he could not make shots at the clip the Wizards were hoping for. His field goal percentage was not far off from what he posted in recent years, but his three-point percentage was nowhere near the 38.8 percent he shot in his previous four seasons.

Meeks bottomed out midseason, shooting 28.9 percent from three in December and 28 percent in January. Those numbers ticked up beginning in February, but Meeks never fully gained the trust of his coaching staff. He rarely got hot enough to alter games and his best stat-lines often came in blowouts. 

There was a domino effect from Meeks' struggles, as starting shooting guard Bradley Beal had no one to spell him. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player this season.

For Meeks personally, it was a bittersweet year because staying healthy was no small feat. He had a run of bad luck and finally broke out of it this season. On the other hand, he never made the impact he felt he was capable of and that wasn't easy for a guy joining a new team and a new locker room.

Meeks' 2017-18 season was ultimately defined by more than his shooting woes. First, he expressed interest in a trade in February and did not get his wish. Then, he was suspended for allegedy using performance-enhancing drugs after the regular season ended. He was out for the playoffs and will miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season without pay as he waits out a 25-game ban.

Meeks may or may not serve that suspension as a member of the Wizards. He has a player option for next season worth $3.5 million. He has yet to inform the team of his decision, but the expectation is that he will pick it up. Given how poorly his season went and ended, it would likely be the smart move financially for him to opt in and hope for better results next season.

Potential to improve: Shooting percentage, perimeter defense, passing

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

Tim Frazier, PG

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Tim Frazier

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Tim Frazier's season...

Player: Tim Frazier

Position: Point guard

Age: 27

2017-18 salary: $2 million

2017-18 stats: 59 G, 14.2 mpg, 3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.3 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.5 FG%, 30.4 3P%, 76.7 FT%, 44.5 eFG%, 105 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 1/27 at Hawks - 4 points, 14 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2-for-5 FG

Season review: The Wizards tabbed Tim Frazier to be their backup point guard nearly a year ago when they sent a second round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans on the eve of draft night. They viewed Frazier as the solution to their years-long search for a capable backup behind John Wall. Frazier had thrived as a replacement starter in New Orleans and the Wizards saw him as worth a draft pick, even though he had just one year left on his contract.

Frazier began the season as the primary backup point guard, but ultimately lost the job to Tomas Satoransky once Wall went out with a left knee injury. Frazier became the starter and Satoransky the backup, but through two weeks Satoransky outplayed him and became No. 2 on the depth chart once Wall returned. Then, when Wall went down for months late in the season, Satoransky started and Frazier backed him up.

Frazier never found consistency as he moved back and forth between roles. His minutes, points and assists averages were all career-lows.

The Wizards added competition to their roster for Frazier and Satoransky midseason, first by signing Ramon Sessions in March and then adding Ty Lawson just before the playoffs began. That led to Frazier being inactive for four of the Wizards' six postseason games.

All in all, it was a frustrating year for Frazier. He even had to deal with a broken nose and surgery to repair it after getting inadvertently kneed in the face by Bobby Portis in a game against the Bulls in February.

Frazier has been part of small group of Wizards players continuing to work out at the team facility this summer. He has been there along with Wall, Ian Mahinmi and Jason Smith. That said, it does seem likely Frazier returns given how the Wizards used him this season. He was completely out of the rotation for extended periods of time.

Helping his cause in that regard is that the Wizards have his Bird rights, meaning they can re-sign him while going above the salary cap. They currently have five open roster spots and not much money to spend. Frazier could represent a cheap option and help them fill out their roster.

Potential to improve: Shooting, on-ball defense, consistency

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!