One preseason game is in the books for the Washington Wizards. Since we have no other season data available, we're going to extrapolate what these numbers mean for the entire 2015-16 campaign.
Fine, let's not do that. Preseason is just that and Tuesday's opponent, the Philadelphia 76ers, might be the worst team in the NBA. However, the Wizards played offensively as advertised. They ran lots and they launched 3-pointers. Those shots from beyond the arc were taken with purpose, but also with ease.
"When you can just play with that freedom, it means a lot," Ramon Sessions said of the 3-point shooting approach this year under coach Randy Wittman. "Everybody in the NBA can play, but when you have that confidence knowing you're not going to get pulled or yelled at, it makes the game open up that much more."
Here's a look at how much more the Wizards opened up the perimeter game in their preseason opener.
Playing a traditional lineup with two big men during the 2014-15 regular season, the Wizards averaged 6.1 3-pointers on 16.8 attempts. The look changed in the playoffs as the Wizards deployed the now ex-Wizard Paul Pierce at power forward to help stretch the floor. Washington sank 9.4 3's on 23.3 attempts.
Against Philadelphia, Washington finished 15 of 26 from beyond the arc.
That's two more made 3-pointers than the Wizards hit any regular season game last year. The total also matched their playoff-high.
Obviously, the makes are important, but the key number for now is the attempts, i.e., the commitment.
Those 26 tries are more than they attempted in 78 of their 82 regular season games last season. Washington would have finished eighth last season with 26 attempts per game. Instead they ranked 27 out of 30 teams.
The change isn't just about scheme, but personnel and mental approach.
Of the 10 players who received the most minutes Tuesday, eight took at least one 3-pointer and seven tried multiple long shots. Only interior options Marcin Gortat and Nene didn't launch from deep. Otto Porter made all four his 3-pointers. Gary Neal, signed as a free agent this summer, went 3 for 4.
All of this bombing took place without Jared Dudley (back surgery), Martell Webster (hip), Alan Anderson (ankle) and Kelly Oubre Jr. (ankle). Three of those four are new to the team and the entire quartet is capable of sinking those long shots. Dudley's ability as a stretch-4 makes him one of the keys for the new-look operation.
Nobody exemplifies the change more than Kris Humphries. The power forward made 2 of 4 3-pointers against the 76ers. Here's the kicker: He last made a regular season 3-pointer during his rookie season. That was the 2004-05 campaign. Over the next decade, he averaged two attempts -- per season.
Humphries, who worked on extending his range over the summer, said it "felt good" once he made his first 3-pointer Tuesday. "That's what they want to do here. You kind of have to adapt to help your team."
Based on the opening preseason game, it might behoove those who still view the Wizards as some plodding, behind the times squad to adapt a new outlook.