John Wall’s return was spoiled by a 90-88 loss to the New York Knicks. While rotation guys like Markieff Morris, Trey Burke (foot), and Marcus Thornton (Thumb) were sidelined, Coach Brooks got a look at some other players on the floor.
Here are some takeaways from the game:
- John Wall hasn’t really missed a beat
Before the game, Coach Scott Brooks mentioned that he wanted to get Wall about 14-16 minutes on the court. Wall got 16 and generally looked pretty solid. Wall had a team high +11 +/- rating, which speaks to his steadying presence on the court. His trademark speed with the ball was on full display—sometimes maybe too much for the comfort of fans. He made excellent passes all night, though some teammates struggled to finish (this will improve as time goes on). Wall’s pace in the pick and roll was also very good, he took what the defense gave him, whether that was a floater or a kick out to a shooter. Most importantly, Wall appeared very confident changing speeds and exploding on drives, telling us that he probably doesn’t have much pain or immobility in his knees.
- Brad Beal is rounding into form
Beal had a solid outing in the Wizard’s first pre-season game against the Miami Heat, but then followed it up with a forgettable performance against the Sixers, in which he shot 3-12. Against the Knicks, Beal scored 17 points on 6-14 shooting and played 27 minutes. The fluctuating output is a sign of Beal still working into shape during the pre-season. As times, against the Knicks, Beal flashed his all-star ability–something the team will be counting on him for.
- Wizards struggle from deep for the second consecutive game
In their last two games—both on the road—the Wizards, as a team, have only made 8 of their 42 (20%) three-point attempts. Hopefully, this is just a blip rather than a trend. After all, the team did shoot 42% in their home game against Miami, so there shouldn’t be too much to worry about. Pre-season legs are still in full effect.
- Defense was a mixed bag
The bad: The Knicks shot well from three (43%). A lot of that had to do with the Wizards players not yet being on the same page, which is expected as the rotation is still in flux. Carmelo got the best of the Wizards defenders, though some of it could be chalked up to better offense beating good defense. The good: the team recorded 12 steals and 5 blocks.
- Some young guys cashed in on their opportunity
After not playing against the Sixers, both Johnny O’Bryant and Andrew Nicholson had good outings against the Knicks. O’Bryant was a beast on the boards (7) and was very, very physical in the paint. He also added 10 points on 4-6 shooting. Nicholson, who the Wizards signed in July, put up decent numbers as well, scoring 7 points and pulling down 5 rebounds. Minutes will be hard to come by in the regular season, but Nicholson can become a valuable contributor if there are any injuries or poor play by those ahead in the depth chart. Oubre was solid yet again, especially on a few defensive possessions in which he was tasked with guarding Carmelo.
The Wizards go back home to host the Sixers on Thursday at 7pm.