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Wall and McGee shine again at Summer League


I've been to Las Vegas for Summer League before. It's very easy to get excited about a whole bunch of players that you then never, ever, ever hear about in the regular season. It's also easy to forget that the top picks who are here are, in many cases, facing competitors who won't be on NBA rosters next fall.

So click your heels three times and say "It's only Summer League," or whatever you need to do to remain realistic.

Still. The Wizards won Friday night, 90-89, on a last-second Lester Hudson jumper, to improve to 4-0. In six previous trips to this circuit, Washington has never gone undefeated. And there might have been a dozen legit highlight reel plays Friday night from the three players who will definitely be on the big-league team: John Wall, JaVale McGee and Trevor Booker. And it's just sports, you're allowed to get excited about potential. So....

It's only Summer League, but Wall scored 18 points in the third quarter

After his jump shot wasn't falling in the first half -- 4 of 14 from the field -- Sam Cassell told Wall to attack, and the point guard complied. He sprinted the length of the court with the ball again and again, completing the trip in five seconds or less repeatedly. The Wizards were down by 13, until a stretch when Wall scored 13 and assisted on two more during a 15-0 run.

"They couldn't stop him," JaVale McGee said. "He was unstoppable. They couldn't figure out a way to stop him."

"It was unbelievable what John was doing out there," Sam Cassell said.

"He brought us back," Booker said. "He's our leader right now. That's what he's supposed to do."

"He just kind of basically took the game over tin the third quarter," Flip Saunders said. "An unbelievable third quarter."

The run ended with a Wall steal and dunk, after which he stopped and stared at the entire gym for a second. The people approved.

It's only Summer League, but McGee might have been even better

Is this the real JaVale McGee? I have no idea. All I know is he had 29 points and 8 rebounds, on 13-of-16 shooting. That makes him 22 for 26 from the field in his last two games. That's 85 percent shooting.

Included in his performance Friday night was a behind-the-back dribble-drive and-one, another drive and dunk that brought the entire arena to its feet (video above), an alley-oop dunk from Wall, a monster put-back slam, several nifty moves in the paint, a late-game steal and drive for yet another and-one, and a jump hook that Saunders said was McGee's finest moment.

These were not always traditional maneuvers for a 7-footer, but....

"I don't have a problem with losing hair because I don't have no hair, but that's why a lot of coaches lose hair," Cassell joked. "JaVale McGee's an interesting kind of guy. He's a guy who, you say, no no no no no, but he find a way to make plays like that. Not normal for a center that's 7-foot-1 to do the things he does, but hey, it works."

"JaVale had about seven unbelievable plays," Saunders said. "It wasn't like sometimes in the regular season where he was just frantically going to the basket. He was pretty much under control."

"I surprised myself, to tell the truth," McGee said, when asked about his loudest dunk of the night. "For some reason I felt like the rim was at my waist."

It's only Summer League, but coaches are getting excited

"The third quarter, that's how we want to play this year, that's how the Wizards want to play," Cassell said. "We want to pick up full court, we want to shadow the ball and [we want] the energy level that we had in transition."

"We made some changes, but those two guys are big pieces for us," Saunders said of the obvious chemistry developing between Wall and McGee. "That's why this summer has been great for them, playing together, not only playing together but also being in a situation where they can help each other. I think both of them have done that."

It's only Summer League, but Wall seems to enjoy winning

McGee said the entire third-quarter run started after a Trevor Booker block, which got Wall excited. The Hornets' Sean Sonderleiter objected to this excitement, which set off the Wizards.

"And everybody just started going crazy," McGee said. "We all just started feeding off each other."

No one went crazier than Wall.

"I think you saw his competitiveness," Saunders said. "He hates to lose."

Indeed, in a meaningless game that no one will remember a year from now except for the Wall and McGee highlights, both said the most important part was Hudson's game-winner.

"All that stuff that happened before would have been just canceled if we would have lost the game," McGee said.

"The best thing is the win," Wall added. "Everything else was ok, but the main thing I liked today, we kept our undefeated record."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 16, 2010; 11:56 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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Next: Barkley: Wizards need to trade Gilbert Arenas

Comments

Its looking like Wall and McGee are going to be playing like Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler did a few years ago in New Orleans.

You gotta love having a legit point on the team for the first time since Steve Blake was coming off the bench for us. Wall's going to make everyone better.

Hopefully Howard comes back and we should have the makings of a team that can challenge for a 7 or 8 seed.

Posted by: DMoney28 | July 17, 2010 1:22 AM | Report abuse

What is the name of that guy who just got DESTROYED by Mcgee? He didn't even try to jump cuz he was scared. I am excited to watch this team (as long as we don't dump Gil for nothing)

Posted by: bosshog7169 | July 17, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

All I need this year is excitement and growth.
To be honest I really like this years core
group. I'll take Wall, Thorton, Blatche, and McGee over
Gil, Butler, Haywood, and Jamison.

Posted by: grayterrence | July 17, 2010 2:43 AM | Report abuse

All I need this year is excitement and growth.
To be honest I really like this years core
group. I'll take Wall, Thorton, Blatche, and McGee over
Gil, Butler, Haywood, and Jamison.

Posted by: grayterrence | July 17, 2010 2:44 AM | Report abuse

Wizards need to sign Howard and they will be pretty competitive all around.

Posted by: bobilly2 | July 17, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Ok so how do we gt rid of Arenas. He has to see that we are young and long and he is getting shuffled and can't like it. I say trade him to Miami so we can be sure they win nothing.

But really i never cared for Howard too much, but he could be a valuable player on this particular team of young studs. Speaking of Young, what about him? He is in year 4 of his contract. Saunders is going to have a hard time getting all these young players the time they need while still trying to win games but I am guessing he is a whole lot happier this week than he was at the end of last year when he had basically no team.

Too earlyto tell but it is clear our younguns are better than most other teams younguns and that makes for optimism. I say we win about 35 neext year and barely miss the playoffs, and the following year we make some noise.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | July 17, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

"All I need this year is excitement and growth."

I agree 100% with this statement.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | July 17, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, excitement, growth and removing Zero and removing Young to keep this positive momentum.

No going back rehashing; we've seen it all before and it does not work.

Posted by: kahlua87 | July 17, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

you guys are excited about the number one player in the draft avg 37 percent from the field.. 6 turnovers a game..against nobodys..the mcgee still playin summer league...95 percent of the nba stops after 2 years not the wiz kids...nick 4 year mcgee 3 years..lol

Posted by: MrNoOne | July 17, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Been watching Lester Hudson throughout the week, and am more than a little impressed. Although I like Nick Young's scoring ability, at this point I would take Hudson over Nick. Although we lose some height, he simply brings more to the table, and definitely has a higher BB IQ. Nick should be able to bring in one or two quality draft picks in a trade (don't know how the salary cap numbers work).

Thoughts?

Posted by: bpybay | July 17, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Let me chime in on the JaVale McGee issue. I believe he has a chance to completely redefine the center position -- the way Pearl redefined the guard position, and the way Pippen redefined the forward position. He truly is a freak of nature and has unbelievable skills for a center (I personally think he is also suited to play PF, if we could find a traditional center, which I really don't think we need to do).

No, he is NOT a conventional center, and yes, he does get pushed around in the low post, but if I am his coach, although I encourage him to develop a low post game, I certainly utilize his current skill set. It appears he wants to be great, but not in the traditional sense, which is fine with me.

As fans, let's do a little creative thinking -- think outside the box for a minute -- and realize we have something pretty special here. He appears to be working on becoming a high-octane offensive player. He is already a shot-blocking machine and will occasionally get you 15-18 boards.

I, for one, would be willing to turn him loose. Coach him, of course. There is still a lot about him that needs to be developed, but good gracious! Look at what he is already. Let him play. If we let this current team develop together for a couple of years, it could get real scary around these parts.

Posted by: bpybay | July 17, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please explain to me why this team would even want to contend for the 7or8 playoff seed?

7or8 typically is a mediocre team with a near 500 record. I hope that Leonsis doesn't have 500 as a goal for this season. I see no need for it. Suffering giveth great talent. two to three years to rebuild.

Posted by: gconrads | July 18, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Wall is better than Arenas, Lester Hudson is better than Nick.... and they haven't even played one NBA game. ROFLMAO

Posted by: Provocatuer | July 19, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Wall's natural skills will allow him to dominate at the NBA point immediately. He has the potential to be a much better shooter and the work ethic to make that happen. Think Rondo with a legit jumper.

He will draw defenders from his teammates and enjoys assists as much as a score. This will be a classic case of one player making everyone better. I don't think playoffs this year is out of the question.

Posted by: Tonkfan | July 20, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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