“We’re still trying to figure out what each others’ roles is, who’s going to be the main scorer, who is going to be the secondary scorer,” Wall said. “I think when we get that down pat, we’ll be pretty good.”
That time certainly isn’t now, as the Wizards often appeared to be in a competition to see who could take the most questionable shot. Andray Blatche opened the game missing three rushed jumpers, Jordan Crawford took quick shots from all over the court, JaVale McGee turned for a jump hook before knowing where the rim was and shot an airball.
And, Wall, the set-up man, didn’t get his first assist until 97 seconds were left in the first half – but he had already committed three turnovers, including a traveling violation that occurred when he tried to force up a shot inside on 76ers big men Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand and landed on his feet without releasing the ball.
The Wizards eventually calmed down and made plays for each other on Tuesday, using increased ball movement during the second and third quarters, when they scored 62 of their points. But Coach Flip Saunders again noticed that the Wizards have had trouble with the ball “sticking.”
“And a lot of times, the guys that it sticks with are sometimes the same guys. It’s a process that you go through,” Saunders said. “Right now, we have 15 guys that think they’re all a primary scorer. That’s one of the problems, why young teams struggle is because they are all trying to create their own identity. The main thing I’ve got to do as a coach, I’ve got to establish what those roles are and whatever that role is, play it to the best of their ability.”
Saunders said he would meet with each player individually over the next few days, to eliminate some of the confusion that has contributed to the Wizards’ offensive woes during their two preseason losses. Through the two games against Philadelphia, the Wizards are shooting a dreadful 34 percent from the field (61 of 179) and an abysmal 15 percent from beyond the three-point line (5 of 33).
“It’s always like that,” Saunders said of teams struggling offensively during the preseason, “but we’ve got to have the right guys shooting. We don’t have flat-out shooters right now.”
Blatche led the Wizards in scoring, averaging 15.5 points, but Crawford led the team in shot attempts — and misses — through the first two games. He shot just 9 of 31 from the floor and has yet to find a comfortable place within the offense as he tries to stave off the recently re-signed Nick Young and possibly Roger Mason Jr. for the starting nod at shooting guard. He rarely gets the ball in great position for an open look, and has forced up shots if he goes a few possessions without a touch.