Draft hits and misses
The rest of the three-year plan as echoed by Grunfeld and owner Ted Leonsis calls for rebuilding through the draft and developing the right mix of young players and veterans. Last year’s picks — No. 6 overall selection Jan Vesely, No. 18 Chris Singleton and No. 34 Shelvin Mack — have failed to make an impact.
Mack was waived at the start of the season, Singleton struggled last year after being forced into a starter’s role too quickly and Vesely has been an all-out disappointment.
This season, Singleton is starting to show signs of growth and consistency, but Vesely is rapidly regressing. He has more fouls (34) than points (29) or rebounds (30). His playing time is decreasing, and the criticism of the 7-footer from the Czech Republic has become so intense that Leonsis felt the need to take to his blog, “Ted’s Take” to defend him.
“This is his second year in the NBA, and he is playing without a starting point guard who can push the pace of play,” Leonsis wrote. “We shouldn’t be so fast to write him off as a player. This is easy to do in media but not something that is smart to do for our franchise.”
But it was Wizards coach Randy Wittman who issued the following critique of Vesely’s play.
“He’s got to become more of a basketball player on the floor and not a one-dimensional player,” Wittman said. “He needs to play better. He’s nonaggressive, and he can’t play that way. You can’t let people not have to guard you.”
As for this season’s draft pick, shooting guard Bradley Beal, 14 games is far too small a sample size to make an evaluation, especially with Wall out of the lineup.
Thrust right into a starting role, the 19-year-old is showing the expected signs of inconsistency and growing pains.
Flashes of potential are visible, and with the right development, he could flourish. With the wrong development, he could flounder.
Rounding out the roster
The rest of the Wizards‘ roster is a haphazard mix of effort, energy and hustle players, but not much else.
In what appears at first glance to be a bizarre stat line, it accurately sums up the Wizards — all role players and no star power.
Washington is the NBA’s worst team at 1-13, yet has the best-scoring bench in the league, averaging 44.9 points. It’s an odd stat since it includes Nene, who isn’t healthy enough to resume his starter’s role. What makes it even more confounding is that the bench players change since Wittman already has used four different starting lineups. Even the coach found humor in the situation.
“I’m going to tell them before the game that it’s halftime or the middle of the first quarter when we go out there,” Wittman joked. “You guys that are starting are really bench players. I put the guys that are on the bench doing all the scoring in the starting lineup, and then they can’t score.”