Key for any summer league success often lies with those running the offense. Thats a tricky task regardless of a point guards experience considering rosters are a collection of random players thrown together for a short time. When the job falls on a player still learning the position and another adjusting to a new league and culture, the degree of difficulty is even higher. Welcome to the Wizards scenario with Shelvin Mack and Czech rookie Tomas Satoransky.Its a learning process for them, its a learning process, Cassell said. Mack, hoping to show enough point guard savvy to keep the team from adding another one this offseason, finished with nine points, three assists and three steals in 28 minutes. Beyond the stats, the former Butler star seemed stuck trying to play floor general and in turn, his offense stagnated, as passer, dribbler and shooter. Even after beating his original defender, Mack struggled getting all the way to the rim for shot. He missed 4 of 5 inside the 3-point line, but made 2 of 5 beyond it.I dont think Shelvin from last year never really had a long stint at the point guard position. This year hes going to have to do that in order to be good on this team. Hell be fine; first game jitters, theyre out the way, theyre out the window now. We got spanked today, but tomorrow well have a better effort and a better showing.As for Satoransky, the 6-foot-7 combo guard played 15 minutes off the bench and had four points, two assists and three turnovers.Its all new for him, Cassell said of the 20-year-old rookie. Now hes playing with the best players in the world now. So its all new to him. Hell be fine, I just want him to stay aggressive. Make mistakes, just make them aggressive.The final box score showed the Wizards on the wrong end of a 30-27 rebounding battle and both teams grabbing 10 of their own misses.To those involved, it seemed more decisive."We just got beat on the boards today, we got man-handled today," Cassell said.Part of the disconnect comes from when the boards occurred. Many of the Rockets rebounds, especially off the offensiveglass,led to big runs.It was the offensive rebounds. I say they were inthe 20's,"said the miscalculating Singleton, who led the Wizards with eight rebounds"I say they were in the 20s. Offensive rebounds, it was ridiculous. Their big man were just outhustling our big men. We didnt rebound collectively."As I quipped immediately after the game, Jan Vesely performance was of the bizarre world type. Brutal on any shots outside of dunks and layups last season, the 6-foot-11 forward knocked down his first three perimeter attempts and looked comfortable doing so, though his attempt at four consecutive ended with the ball getting stuck between the rim and backboard.However, the player with a penchant for soaring high and then slamming balls home oddly missed multiple dunk attempts.Ive never seen Vesely miss three or four dunks, Cassell said. I told him earlier today, miss em during the summertime, dont miss em during the wintertime.Also rarely seen, a player fouling out despite the summer leagues 10-foul limit. Vesely reached that mark in the fourth quarter, leading many in the non-partisan crowd to rise for a standing ovation.
The Washington Wizards this season have lacked plenty of things, but three stand out above all: defense, rebounding and leadership. On Saturday, they made a trade aiming to address all of the above, and they paid a hefty price to do so.
In comes Trevor Ariza, a 33-year-old veteran who needs no introduction in Washington. He returns to the organization four years after leaving in free agency. He already has experience playing alongside John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.
Out the door are two key members of the Wizards rotation. They shipped Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to Phoenix, stripping them of their backup shooting guard and small forward and two players averaging over 23 minutes per game this season.
The Wizards are giving up quite a bit. Rivers, though he has struggled this season, was brought in just months ago to solve their problems at backup shooting guard. Now Beal is the only true shooting guard on their roster. That should help Tomas Satoransky earn a more solidified role.
Oubre was a first round pick in 2015 and the Wizards could have made him a restricted free agent this summer. At times over the past two-plus years, he appeared to be one of their most attractive trade assets based on his youth and contract, someone who could net more than an Ariza-type.
But with a desperate need for what Ariza provides, the Wizards had to make a difficult decision. They are banking on him having a similar impact to what he gave them in the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, when the Wizards were at their best defensively in the Wall era.
Whether he can still be the same player, or something close to it, remains to be seen. Back in his first tenure in D.C., he was playing through his age 27 and 28 seasons. The latter was a contract year and happened to include the best numbers of his career.
Now, he's 33 and arriving in Washington with a 37.9 field goal percentage. He is also making $15 million this season and set to be a free agent next summer.
Even though Oubre and Rivers were on expiring deals, this is a play for the short-term. Ariza is much later in his career than they are and isn't under contract beyond this season. Plus, bringing him in saves the Wizards a bit over $2 million when accounting for the luxury tax.
Their hope is that he will help shore up the perimeter. The Wizards are 27th in the NBA in opponents three-point percentage and Ariza has long been good at disrupting outside shooters.
The Wizards want rebounding and, though Ariza is not a big man, he is adept on the glass. Washington ranks 28th in rebounding and 29th in opponent rebounding. Ariza comes in averaging 5.6 per game.
The Wizards may also see a benefit from a team chemistry perspective. Ariza is familiar with the locker room leadership structure having played in Washington before. He is a respected veteran and can help set a more blue-collar tone on defense.
Ariza, when he's at his best, is a very valuable player. Even with his field goal percentage down, Ariza is shooting a respectable 36 percent from three and averaging 1.5 steals per game.
It's clear the Wizards desperately wanted Ariza by the way this trade went down. Not only did they part with two key rotation members, but they took a deal that didn't involve draft picks. When the reports first broke on Friday night, the Wizards were expected to receive more compensation in the way of second round picks.
The biggest impact of this trade as this season plays out may involve the Wizards' depth. Though they got a nice player in Ariza, they parted with two core members of their second unit and left an open roster spot they have to fill. If the Wizards go with an inexpensive option to fill the 14th spot, like they did with Okaro White and Chasson Randle, their roster will be even more top-heavy.
The disappointing start to the Wizards' season clearly has them weighing their long-term options. Oubre wasn't in the plans, and they want to save their season, along with some money. In comes Ariza, hoping to give the Wizards what they have been desperately be lacking.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
The Washington Wizards are set to trade Kelly Oubre Jr. and Austin Rivers to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Trevor Ariza, NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig has confirmed.
Can confirm Wizards acquiring Trevor Ariza from Suns for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers. @wojespn first reported.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 15, 2018
The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
News of the newly structured deal for Ariza comes after a whirlwind night of trade reports that initially had Ariza slated to end up in Washington before a miscommunication about the players involved ultimately scuttled a three-team deal between the Wizards, Grizzlies and Suns.
Effectively, the Wizards are poised to do the deal without involvement from Memphis.
The veteran Ariza signed a 1-year, $15-million deal with Phoenix as a free agent this offseason. He is set to come to Washington for his second stint, after having played for the Wizards from 2012 to 2014.
This story is developing. Check back to NBCSportsWashington.com and the MyTeams app for more.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- At a High Cost: The Wizards needed Ariza badly
- Trade Rumor Madness: Why the Oubre, Rivers deal falls through late Friday
- Trade Reboot: LeBron, Lakers bring trade rumors back up
- Dekker's Path to DC: Sam's NBA journey has been eventful so far