WASHINGTON -- For as smoothly as things have gone for the most part early this season, even with so many new players and a new coaching staff, the Wizards served a reminder on Monday night against the Hornets that they still have plenty of work to do for everyone to get on the same page.
Both head coach Wes Unseld Jr. and star guard Bradley Beal said as much in different ways. Unseld Jr. saw plenty of teaching moments on both ends of the floor, but seemed to lament their defensive troubles in particular.
The Wizards allowed the Hornets to score 109 points, the most they had given up in a game since Nov. 3. Charlotte shot 48.4% from three, making 15 of them.
The Hornets also went on a 20-6 run stretching from late in the first half into the third quarter. The Wizards would end up chipping away at that lead for a near-comeback, but Unseld Jr. couldn't overlook the hole they dug themselves.
"We had that stretch when we couldn't buy a stop. We changed our own complexion. We didn't change the coverage, our care factor went up a bit. That part's good, that we responded, but that we have to respond at all, that's not who we should be," he said.
"Finding a way to continue to play that way every minute; being in the right spot, being in the right coverage, communicating the right commands. Doing everything I need to do in each possession offensively and defensively. It's not always easy, but that's the challenge."
Beal spent more focus on the offense during his postgame press conference. The Wizards shot just 38.7% from the field and 25.0% from three with 18 turnovers to help spoil the night.
Though they broke out with 20 points in the fourth quarter, it was too little, too late. He thought there was a lack of chemistry and pointed out something he's learned as a 10-year NBA veteran that meshes with what he's experienced this season.
"The biggest adjustment with a new team is always going to be offense. Rarely ever is it the defense. It's because you're getting used to new plays and a new system," Beal said.
"Defensively, everything is usually the same, or at least conceptually they're the same. Offense-wise, you're adjusting and you're getting used to guys' tendencies; what certain plays are our go-to's, what work for us. We're still getting used to playing together."
That last part makes perfect sense. On defense, it's important to learn how your teammates like to play, but there is more to that process on offense. Each player has their own complexities, like which spots on the floor they like to shoot from.
What Beal said could help explain why the Wizards are 19th in offensive efficiency this season compared to fourth on defense. It's not as simple as they are missing key players like Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Thomas Bryant, and Beal has yet to really heat up.
The Wizards are 11-6, yet they remain a work in progress.
"I think we all have to look in the mirror. I've gotta look in the mirror. I got outcoached, bottom-line," Unseld Jr. said. "How do we respond? How do we learn from this?"