The Washington Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets 84-81 in double overtime in the Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday night. Here are five observations from what went down...
Ugly game, wild finish
The NBA Summer League is a great event, arguably one of the most underrated on the entire sports calendar, but it's not exactly known for crisp, cohesive team basketball. Wizards-Nets was even more sloppy than usual, as neither team could hit a shot from the outside.
The Wizards again felt the absence of point guard Cassius Winston, who remains in Covid-19 protocol. The Nets also don't have an ideal option to run their offense. The result was a lot of shots being chucked and little ball movement.
The Wizards shot a ghastly 7-for-34 (20.6%) from three and the Nets weren't much better at 7-for-29 (24.1%). Despite that, both teams were able to make clutch threes to force two overtimes, and the game was won on a sudden death three by Nets rookie Cam Thomas.
Kispert showed more
It was another mixed bag for Corey Kispert, the Wizards' first round pick, but in this game he was much more aggressive and because of that was able to display a bit more of his skillset. His first bucket came on a fastbreak where he took off quickly down the sideline and finished with a layup. He did a nice job of recognizing the transition opportunity early and beating Nets players down the floor.
One of Kispert's best plays came in the second quarter when he drove right for a pull-up jumper on the baseline. It was a semi-stepback, not unlike the shot his former college teammate Rui Hachimura uses all the time in the midrange. What stood out was that Kispert created his own shot off the dribble, as in his debut he did most of his damage off screens.
Kispert only had nine points and shot 1-for-8 from three, but one of his makes tied the game with 55 seconds to go. Many of his misses fell short, which could be a product of him adjusting to the NBA three-point line. Kispert also made some mistakes on defense, including a closeout in the first half that led to Kessler Edwards going right by him for a dunk.
Kispert, though, has shown some potential defensively in the Summer League so far. He's got a strong build, a determination to defend and the lateral quickness to stay in front of players and get around screens. There's some talent for the Wizards to work with.
Todd made his debut
The news from this game was the debut of Isaiah Todd, whom the Wizards selected in the second round from G-League Ignite. Todd missed the first game due to Covid-19 protocol, but unlike Winston and others, he has been cleared. That's good because Todd can use all the reps he can get, having only appeared in 13 games in the G-League last year.
Todd only scored five points, going 2-for-10 from the field and 0-for-5 from three, but he showed some flashes. He's an aggressive player who is not afraid to shoot or drive to the rim. And for a big man, he's pretty smooth off the dribble. Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard remarked on ESPN's broadcast how Todd was cleared on Thursday morning from protocol and hadn't shot a basketball in over a week. So, it's no surprise he was rusty.
Kispert vs. Thomas
Kispert got to face off against one of the players the Wizards chose him over, as Nets first round pick Cam Thomas of LSU went 27th overall to Brooklyn. Though he was picked 12 spots after, the Wizards definitely gave Thomas consideration. They hosted him for an unannounced workout the day before the draft.
Thomas has a ton of natural scoring talent and was able to show it off in the second half after a slow start. He ended up with a game-high 31 points plus two steals and a block. He shot 10-for-23 from the field and 9-for-10 from the line. Thomas hit a three to force the second overtime and then a circus shot three to win the game at sudden death.
Jones is solid
One guy on the Wizards roster with NBA experience is Mason Jones, who spent his rookie season last year with the Sixers. He's actually Daniel Gafford's former college teammate, as the two played together for Arkansas in 2018-19. Jones isn't the most athletic guy on the court in Summer League, but he's a smart player who has quietly put together two good games for the Wizards.
In this one, Jones had 13 points and shot 3-for-5. Against the Kings on Tuesday, he had 14 points and four assists, shooting 2-for-4 from three. Jones could be a good option for the Capital City Go-Go if he doesn't find an NBA deal going into training camp.