Wizards

Hughes: Observations from Kispert's summer debut, Wizards' loss

Wizards

The Washington Wizards lost to the Sacramento Kings 89-75 in the Las Vegas Summer League on Tuesday night. Here are five observations from what went down...

First impressions

The Wizards had to wait a few extra days before their first Summer League game, as their opener on Sunday was postponed due to six players entering the NBA's health and safety protocol. Despite that ordeal, the Wizards were able to get things in order just 48 hours later to play against the Kings.

Missing all those players, though, took its toll as the Wizards ran out of gas in the second half to suffer a blowout defeat to the Kings. Sacramento was lights-out from three, going 14-for-42 (41.2%) as a team.

Keep in mind the Wizards weren't just undermanned, they didn't put together their best possible Summer League roster in the first place. Their 2020 first round pick, Deni Avdija, is not participating out of precaution due to the ankle injury he suffered late in the season. He's been cleared from rehab, but they didn't want to risk any setbacks.

Kispert made some plays

All eyes were on first round pick Corey Kispert, who made his Wizards Summer League debut just weeks after being selected 15th overall. Kispert got off to a bit of a slow start as the Wizards' offense stalled, but once he found a rhythm he was able to show exactly why the Wizards made him their pick. Kispert had eight points and shot 2-for-5 from three. He shot 3-for-9 overall.

 

Kispert's first bucket was on a cut into the lane, showing the off-ball awareness you would expect from a player with his experience. By the second quarter, he started getting shots to fall from long range. Kispert's first three was off a screen where he ran baseline and curled to the wing. He caught the ball facing away from the basket, but got his feet set and fired a quick release. He later made another catch-and-shoot three from straight away out, again off a screen.

Kispert has excellent body control on catch-and-shoot plays, which should go a long way for him at the next level. Where he showed room for improvement was off the dribble. Kispert drove into traffic a few times, including once in the second quarter where he tried to split the defense and ended up turning it over. He also stood out in a good way by diving on the floor for loose balls. Two of his extra efforts led to fastbreak dunks.

Winston was missed

Unfortunately for the Wizards, among the six guys missing was 2020 second round pick Cassius Winston, who figured to be one of their most important and best players. He was supposed to be the starting point guard and run the offense. His absence in that regard was felt early.

The Kings jumped out to an 11-0 start as the Wizards looked completely out of sync. They looked like a team that had thrown a roster together on the fly that was missing their starting point guard, which is exactly the situation they were in. Credit, however, to head coach Mike Miller who called a timeout at 11-0 and got them on track. They went on an 11-0 run themselves soon after to take their first lead at 19-18 in the first quarter.

Homesley stood out

With Winston out, the Wizards gave much of the ball-handling responsibilities to Caleb Homesley who has been on and off their roster over the past year or so. Just this past week he was waived, yet he's still playing for them. It's all been kind of strange, but in this game you could see what they like about him.

A former star at Liberty University in Virginia, Homesely can flat-out shoot. He lit it up from three with shots off the dribble and off screens. He's got a smooth lefty jumper and, at least at this level, seems to have an excellent grasp of pace in the halfcourt. He knows how to change speeds to keep opponents off balance and he's got good size for a guard at 6-foot-6 to shoot over them. Homesley had 17 points on 6-for-8 shooting.

Mitchell looks good

Kispert wasn't the only first round pick in this game. The Kings had ninth overall pick Davion Mitchell out there as he continued what has been an impressive Summer League so far. Kispert and Mitchell actually played against each other in Kispert's last organized game. That was in April, in the NCAA national championship game between Kispert's Gonzaga and Mitchell's Baylor.

 

We know about Mitchell's defense, but he showed off his ability to run an offense in this one. He had four assists to go along with 12 points, shooting 5-for-8 overall and 2-for-3 from three. Mitchell shot well and displayed impressive speed with the ball in his hands in transition. He looks like a guy who will make an early impact in the pros.