LAS VEGAS -- The Washington Wizards beat the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night in Las Vegas Summer League action. Here are five observations from the game...
1. Rui Hachimura's most NBA-ready skills are on offense. Scoring was his biggest selling point coming out of Gonzaga University. But in his first Summer League game, it was Hachimura's defense that stood out most.
Hachimura did show some flashes on the offensive end, including a baseline alley-oop in the third quarter. But he mostly struggled, going 6-for-16 from the field for a modest 14 points.
On defense, he displayed the potential Wizards officials have raved about and that they believe other teams missed. He showed quick feet guarding multiple positions. And he demonstrated solid instincts around the rim with a pair of key blocks.
One required him to adjust mid-air and swat the ball with his left hand. One the other one, he got so high up that he blocked the shot with both hands.
That play saw him hit the deck hard enough to produce gasps from the crowd. But Hachimura got up immediately and ran down the floor to play offense.
ダンクシュート!! pic.twitter.com/m2xbwzfvTZ— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) July 7, 2019
2. If this was a video game and Summer League was a level, Troy Brown Jr. has passed it. He hit the ground running in his second year playing for the Wizards and looked like a pro going up against amateurs. He casually dominated on the offensive end, freely getting to the rim off the dribble and knocking down shots with confidence. He had 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Summer League play can only tell you so much about how a player will fare in real NBA games. But next season is a big year for Brown and the early returns suggest he has improved.
3. Issuf Sanon, the Wizards' 2018 second round pick, is a point guard by trade, but he saw some extended time off the ball against the Pelicans. That is interesting because he has the size to play some combo guard, but not necessarily the skillset.
Sanon has a high ceiling on defense and should be able to guard twos at the next level. His shot, though, needs some work. He looked a little passive in that role, maybe due to inexperience. Sanon was almost too aggressive last year in his first Summer League. This time, it was kind of the oppositve.
4. The Wizards faced the Pelicans, but did not see either of their top draft picks. First overall pick Zion Williamson and No. 8 pick Jaxson Hayes were both out with injuries.
Each guy still showed up to sit courtside and watch the game as guys like Trevon Blueitt and Kavell Bigby-Williams ran the show. While the Wizards are putting out the best Summer League team they have had in years, the competition provided by New Orleans was a little lean, even for Summer League standards.
5. The Wizards were well-represented at Saturday's game. John Wall, Bradley Beal, Thomas Bryant and Jordan McRae were all there sitting courtside. So was head coach Scott Brooks, who sat next to interim team president Tommy Sheppard.
Even Dwight Howard showed up, though he isn't a Wizard anymore. He was traded on Friday night to the Grizzlies. Howard said he has lost 20 pounds in the past few months now that his recovery from back surgery has reached the point where he can play in full-court, contact games.
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