The Washington Wizards’ summer league debut against the Atlanta Hawks offered a few surprises, as high-flying forward Jan Vesely showed that he could knock down long jumpers but had trouble throwing down dunks and Chris Singleton displayed a more well-rounded offensive game.
It also met some expectations, as Bradley Beal scored a game-high 22 points and played with the steady, unwavering pace that led the team to draft him third overall in the draft last June. But the Wizards were unable to overcome a poor start in the first half and lost, 102-82, at Cox Pavilion.
“There were a lot of things that we did good, and a lot of things we didn’t do good,” Beal said. “But overall, I think we played a pretty good first game. It’s a big adjustment for me and I know there are a lot of things I can learn.”
Beal missed his first shot, a driving layup, but quickly found a rhythm as he made his first three-point attempt. Beal made 4 of 6 shots and scored 14 points in the first half, and wasn’t content with settling from the perimeter. When he shot didn’t fall in the second half, Beal attacked the basket with abandon. He finished going 9 of 10 from the foul line.
Singleton had a rough start and looked flustered with every miscue in the first half. But he rebounded to score 16 of his 20 points and added two blocked shots in the second half. He finished with eight rebounds and four steals.
“I see myself Shelvin and Jan as the leaders, because we’ve been in the league, we’ve been with the Wizards. I just had to go out there and play more offensive minded,” Singleton said. “Obviously, you want to go 5-0. But here were are, already 0-1. It was our fault for the loss.”
Vesely struggled to hit many shots outside the restricted area last season, but he has focused his offseason workouts on developing a respectable shot from the perimeter. He made his first three shots from beyond 15 feet, coolly stepping back to bury open jumpers.
“I try to work hard at the end of the season,” Vesely said. “I got the confidence and I feel really good.”
But Vesely, whose primary offensive weapon was the dunk last season, missed his first two slams. He finally was able to throw down a dunk when Singleton found him cutting inside for an uncontested jam.
“I never seen Vesely miss three or four dunks,” Cassell said. “Like I told him earlier today, miss them during the summer time, don’t miss them in the winter time.
Vesely finished with 11 points but he also committed fouled out, though summer league allows players to have 10. He was called for several illegal screens.
Shelvin Mack scored nine points but he missed 7 of 10 attempts. He also handed out just three assists, with the Hawks’ defense and some occasional indecisiveness forcing him to commit three turnovers.
“It’s a learning process,” Cassell said. “He’ll be fine. First game jitters, they out the way. We got spanked today, but [on Saturday], we’ll have a better effort, better performance.”
The Wizards will play Houston Rockets on Saturday.