Beal shines in preseason debut

Beal shines in preseason debut
October 7, 2012, 9:12 pm
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Updated 8:47 p.m.

Without any televised coverage of the Wizards 100-88 road preseason loss to the Bobcats, we're left to peruse the box score for clues as to what happened. Let's start perusing...

For starters, in addition to John Wall (knee) and Nene (plantar fasciitis), the Wizards played without Emeka Okafor, Trevor Booker and Jannero Pargo, who sat out the previous two days worth of practices due to an abdominal strain. Booker skipped Saturday's workout with hamstring soreness. The Associated Press recap had Okafor out with general "soreness." Non-roster players Brian Cook and Steven Gray also did not play.

Bradley Beal, playing in his first NBA game (yes its preseason, but still), and Martell Webster led the Wizards with 18 points apiece. Kevin Seraphin added 11...and that's about where the scoring highlights end. Collectively the Wizards shot 33.3 percent (33-of-99), committed 20 turnovers and put the Bobcats on the free throw line a whopping 46 times.

Obviously, those last three stats won't cut it and obviously they came with several key players watching, not playing. After Saturday's practice I asked Wittman what stat those of not watching the game should focus on. He said turnovers. Worth noting the Bobcats, led in scoring by Gerald Henderson's 19, committed 21 turnovers. Still...

Even with a full complement of roster options scoring concerns existed entering the season. Without Wall, last year's leading scorer, and their top frontcourt threat in Nene, concern jumps to DEFCON 5. Starters Jordan Crawford (6 points) and Trevor Ariza (8), the expected main scoring options in such a depleted scenario, finished a combined 5-of-20 from the field. The entire starting lineup, including Kevin Seraphin, Jan Vesely and A.J. Price, finished 14-of-49 (28.6).

In 27 minutes off the bench, Beal finished 7-of-17 including 2-of-4 from 3-point range. The rookie also made both of his free throw attempts and finished with three rebounds, two assists, two steals and one turnover. Again, no context but I'm guessing Randy Wittman would take this stat line most nights out of the 19-year-old.

Some interesting numbers in the point guard derby. No Wall or Pargo meant lots of Price and Mack. In 25 plus minutes, Price scored nine points, but had one assist with five turnovers (Ariza led the Wizards with six). On the flip side, Mack led the team with seven assists and only a single turnover.

I'm still not convinced Mack isn't the odd point guard out when everyone is healthy, but those are strong numbers. For the moment he has time to make some noise during camp over the next three weeks and progress in his transition to the on-ball role. Also residual loyalty from Wittman for having been part of the late season turnaround under the coach cannot be ignored.

Webster, brought in with Beal and Cartier Martin this offseason to help the perimeter shooting, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter. The 25-year-old swingman made half of his 12 shots and 2-of-5 from beyond the arc. Martin played only seven plus minutes, but made two of three shots. Chris Singleton, also in the small forward mix, finished with nine points and team-high nine rebounds in 16 minutes.

The Wizards return to George Mason Monday and Tuesday for consecutive two-a-day practice sessions. Tuesday's evening session, starting around 6:30 p.m., is open to the public and feature a scheduled performance by recording artist Wale.

The next contest comes Thursday at home against the New York Knicks, Washington's only preseason game at the Verizon Center.