If you missed last night's 97-94 preseason-opening win by the Wizards, let me save you two and a half hours on your DVR:
Now that that's done, here's a look at who impressed and who didn't in last night's win:
John Wall-Had one awkward-looking moment at the end of the first half when trying to run a halfcourt set. He ran into Jason Kidd, lost his balance, and looked like a six-year-old trying to ride a bike for the first time. Wall's halfcourt game will come (it's part of the reason Sam Cassell is on that coaching staff), but Wall showed last night that he had the speed, court vision, quick hands and distribution to shine at the NBA level. His 9-11 performance from the foul line was also encouraging.
Andray Blatche-Looked very good finishing around the rim and showed few ill effects from the broken foot he suffered this offseason.
Yi Jianlian-Wizards fans shouldn't count on Yi hitting as many mid-to-long-range jumpers as he did last night. But they should be impressed with his work on the defensive end, where he was agressive on the boards and always seemed to be in the correct position. A big improvement on past years.
Nick Young- It wasn't just the two points, one rebound and five personal fouls on 1-for-7 shooting. Young also looked genuinely lost on the defensive end of the floor as well. His night was summed up perfectly when he came off Jason Terry to help on defense, leaving the latter wide open. That's the sort of thing that should be punished by having Young write the following out 100 times: "I WILL NOT LEAVE JASON TERRY WIDE OPEN NO MATTER HOW MUCH I WANT TO LEAVE HIM TO HELP ON THE DEFENSIVE END."
Al Thornton- Two points, one board, three assists on 1-3 shooting. A complete non-entity.
Hilton Armstrong- Two rebounds, two steals, two turnovers in 20 minutes. See my characterization of Thornton above.
Gilbert Arenas-Shot the ball well (5-for-9 from the field) and played a surprising 26 minutes on a bad ankle and recovering knee. But we really didn't get the chance to see him test the knee in spectacular fashion.
And then he came out after the game and said this to reporters when asked how he felt, "I lost all feeling a long time ago." All right, then.
I'm giving this to everyone else. JaVale McGee had impressive moments and his good chemistry with Wall seemed to have carried over from camp, but McGee should really be putting up more than 13 points and 6 rebounds. Kirk Hinrich had just nine points, but only took seven shots (four from beyond the arc), and does seem to provide the team with a legitimate outside shot. Cartier Martin made some hustle plays--grabbing three rebounds and a steal as well as drawing a charge--but I'll have to see him in person to truly judge him. Same with Lester Hudson, who did hit the game-winning three (thanks in part to some "no way in HELL this game's going to overtime" defense from Dee Brown), but also committed two turnovers and didn't do a whole lot else.