No summer league with anabbreviatedtraining camp and a condensed 66-game season wasn't the ideal start for Wizards' rookies Jan Vesely, Chris Singleton and Shelvin Mack last year. The lockout had an impact on every NBA team, but for the youthful Wizards the lack ofpreparationtime for last season certainly hurt the overall growth of the team, especially the rookies.
Now, it's hard to gauge just how much the lockout affected their play but you would have to think that missing organized team functions -- ones that would have happened in any regular calendar year -- had to have someeffecton the threesome.
Vesely, the sixth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft and anativeof the Czech Republic who was playing in the Euro-League, had the most to gain from summer league play last season to get initiated in some form into NBA play but he wasn't given the opportunity. After the lockout was finally resolved, Vesely actually hurt his hip in the shortened training camp and missed the first six games of the NBA season. It took the 6'-11" athletic power forward awhile to get comfortable with his new team. Vesely finished the season averaging only 5 points and 4 rebounds a game.
Like Vesely, Singleton showed flashes of why he was a first-round draft pick but just wasn't productive enough offensively for a starting small forward. Singleton averaged just 5 points a game and shot only 37 percent from the field. Surely Singleton could have used summer ball to find confidence in his shot, something he never showed all season long.
As a converted point guard, Mack needed as much repetition running a team as possible, and having no summer league robbed him of getting used to playing the position. Mack also was a work-in-progress in his rookie campaign. In about 12 minutes off the bench, Mack put up 3 points and 2 assists a game.
All three players will get a chance to have a normal off-season as they all will participate in the Las Vegas summer league that starts July 13. Vesely, Singleton and Mack will be joined by this year's first-round draft pick Bradley Beal and other free agents trying to make their mark.
This experience should help the Wizards for next season.