The Washington Wizards beat the Milwaukee Bucks 93-83 in the Las Vegas Summer League on Sunday. Here are five observations from what went down...
The Wizards' Summer League so far has been defined mostly by the absence of point guard Cassius Winston and the effect that has had on their offense. With their floor general in Covid-19 protocol, the Wizards' offense had been anything but smooth. That carried over to the first quarter of Sunday's matchup with the Bucks, but Washington then found their rhythm and secured their first victory in Las Vegas.
After shooting 26.3% from the field and 2-for-9 from three in the first quarter, the Wizards shot 47.4% overall and 10-for-28 from three the rest of the way. The Bucks, meanwhile, shot just 25.9% from three and had 19 turnovers.
The game results do not matter, but how the Wizards play in general is important because it reflects their player development and represents the first NBA steps for some of their top prospects. In that sense, Sunday was a much better showing than the first two games.
Kispert was better
Corey Kispert produced mixed results in his first two Summer League games, but played much better in his third outing. Kispert had 18 points, shooting 7-for-12 overall and 4-for-7 from three. All but one of his threes were on catch-and-shoot plays, which is likely to be a trademark of his NBA career, but he did pull up for one three off a screen.
Kispert reached a bit deeper in the bag for this one. He had a nice drive to his right in the second quarter where he finished with a floater high off the glass. In the fourth quarter, he pump-faked a three and drove right before finishing with a left-handed layup. He also showed some defensive versatility by doing a nice job when assigned to play-making guards. Kispert also had an excellent contest on a Mamadi Diakite fadeaway attempt.
Kispert has shown some promise defensively in the Summer League. He's got the size and lateral quickness to at a minimum not be a liability on that end of the floor. What his ceiling is will be determined over time, but it looks like he could be at least an average defender for his position.
Echenique has impressed
One of the players on the Wizards who has made a name for himself in Las Vegas has been big man Jaime Echenique. He's 24 and originally from the country of Colombia who went undrafted out of Wichita St. last year.
Echenique had 13 points, three rebounds and a block all in eight minutes of action. His block was a two-handed rejection at the rim. Echenique then sank a three on the next possession. He would later leave the game due to a right ankle injury.
Echenique has done a good job of just being active and bringing lots of energy. That should bode well for him if he wants to chase a training camp invite or G-League roster spot this fall.
Todd got the start
After making his Summer League debut against the Nets following his clearance from Covid-19 protocol, Isaiah Todd was in the starting lineup for this one. The Wizards' 2021 second round pick, Todd had another rough shooting night. He ended up with eight points, but shot just 3-for-9 overall and 2-for-6 from three.
Todd so far in Las Vegas has shown he is not afraid to take a shot. He's aggressive looking for his own offense, for better or worse. Sometimes he makes plays while other times he turns the ball over or stops a possession prematurely when more ball movement would be ideal. The good news is Todd should have plenty of opportunities to get up shots for the Capital City Go-Go this season, as he figures to be one of their best players.
Intriguing matchup next
The Wizards will play a makeup game against the Pacers on Monday afternoon, as the teams were initially supposed to begin the Summer League by playing against each other, only to have that game postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak for the Wizards. But now they will actually play that game and there will be some interesting storylines going in.
For one, Kispert will face off with Chris Duarte, whom the Pacers selected 13th overall, right ahead of Kispert who went 15th. Duarte has been a standout in the Summer League so far, averaging 18.3 points per game while shooting 48.3% from three (7.3 3PA/g). The Wizards will also see Isaiah Jackson, who was the 22nd overall pick, which the Wizards traded to Indiana for backup guard Aaron Holiday and a second round pick, which became Todd. Jackson has also been impressive with a 12-rebound game and a 4-block game already in Las Vegas.
In addition to those guys, the Pacers also have former Wizards player Devin Robinson. And they also have 2020 first round pick Goga Bitadze.