Story By: Erin Zollars
File Photos By: Sol Tucker
It may only be the second preseason game of the year for Wes Unseld Jr. and his new squad, but there are certainly quite a few things that need to addressed after the were picked apart tonight by Knicks ,117-99.
The perimeter shooting defense was less than existent tonight and the Knicks torched the Wizards for 24 for 52 from long range. That’s right, they put up 52 three point shots tonight and let the Knicks hit for 47 percent. Folks, this won’t help you win many games against any team in the NBA with those numbers. What is worse is the Wizards made just 5 of their 31 attempts and had 48 points in the paint but just could not find a way to pull this game close.
Perhaps the most promising thing of the night was the return of Deni Avdija, who has been rehabbing since his injury in 2020.
It was only 16 minutes, but he did score four points, grab three rebounds and recorded one assist. The box score may not say much about the experience, but for Avdija it was a long-awaited moment to get back to what he does best.
“I missed basketball. I missed being on the court, on the NBA court,” Avdija said. “I don’t take anything for granted. I enjoy every moment, I enjoy being there with my teammates, fans, coaches and hopefully we’re going to have fun this season.”
With the crop of new players, its going to be different to say the least how Unseld will find a use for his outside shooting game that seemed to work when he was healthy.
Some of the biggest takes from tonight’s game came on the analysis of overall talent in the offseason acquisitions which seems to be working out well for Montrezl Harrell and Spencer Dinwidee who combined for 31 of the Wizards 99 points. Tonight’s duds were that of Gafford, Kuzma and Pope who combined for just 15 points the entire game.
Should Wizards fans be worried? Perhaps a little. This squad has yet to put together something magical in two games and most like people would say, pre-season really does not amount to much, but it really needs to. In 12 days, these games actually start to mean something and we will be in December before you know it and as we know from previous years, the Wizards shovels don’t seem to work very will after they have dug their early season hole.
Two more pre-season games are on the slate against the Raptors. The October 20th game will be the Wizards first trip North since the pandemic and the final tune-up before the season opener against the Pacers on the 22nd.