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Wiz close summer league with loss

The Wizards finished Las Vegas summer league play with a 2-3 record after today's 88-69 loss to D.J. Strawberry, Alando Tucker and the Phoenix Suns.

Dee Brown led the Wiz with 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting with two assists, three steals and four turnovers and the Wiz shot 50 percent as a team but lost because the Suns scored 29 points off of Washington's 19 turnovers and because the Wiz couldn't get a handle on Tucker (25 points) and Strawberry (20 points). The Suns made 19 of 34 free throw attempts.

-Think the fellas were anxious to get home? Check out this ugly stat: the Wiz were outscored 30-6 in the fourth quarter.

-Washington's best player today was reserve forward Frank Elegar, who played with energy and wound up with eight points on 4 of 4 shooting with three rebounds in 16 minutes.

-With his buddy, Carmelo Anthony watching courtside, PG Dontaye Draper played his best game and posted six points and four assists in 16:32.

-Andray Blatche was excellent all week but looked a step slow today. He made 1 of 7 shots and wound up with eight points, five rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes. Andray played well this week, as one would expect from a guy going into his fourth season, but to me, the bottom line remains the same: outside the health of the big 3, he is this team's wild card next season. If he brings it nightly and improves at a rapid rate, it's going to make a big difference.

-Nick Young didn't have a big game all week and camp his second summer league by making 4 of 10 shots and scoring nine points with no assists and a turnover in 25 minutes. Nick's numbers for the week: 11ppg, 1.0 apg, 2.6 rpg., 35.2 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from 3-point range, 11 of 14 from the free throw line. He just never got rolling all week though he did hit two huge shots in the win over Houston last night.

-Blatche and McGuire hooked up on one of the prettiest plays of the week today. After receiving an outlet pass near midcourt, Blatche took a dribble and then fired a perfect bounce pass to a cutting McGuire, who caught it and threw down a nice two-handed dunk.

-2006 second round pick Vladimir Vermemeenko got his first taste of NBA action this week and was mostly a non-factor. He averaged 3.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and shot 40 percent from the field in 11.4 minutes per game and was a very solid defender but showed a shaky outside jumper and experienced some issues adjusting to the NBA game.

Veremeenko, who is listed at 6-10 but is actually more like 6-8, was called for two traveling calls today when refs said he shuffled his feet while starting to make a move.

"I don't understand because in Europe, I use that move," Veremeenko said. "Here, you can take three, four steps and they don't call travel but that first step, they call it. So, it is different here."

- Veremeenko remains under contract to BC Khimky and said he is going back but added that he enjoyed the week. I saw a guy who has a pretty solid overall grasp of the game, plays excellent defense and rebounds like a bulldog but didn't look comfortable away from the baseket when presented with a long jumper and sometimes blended in too much. That's not a shocker given that it was his first taste of NBA action.

"I think this experience will help me in the future," said VV, who has a pretty decent command of English and a pretty good sense of humor. "I think playing this will help me be more physical when I go back to Europe next year."

What are the biggest differences between ball here and there?

VV: "Here is more quickness and is more physical. In Europe, it is more tactical. The games are similar in some ways but very different in others."

-JaVale McGee was pretty quiet tonight, capping his week with seven points on 3 of 5 shooting with 3 rebounds and a block. When I asked him what he wants to improve upon coming out of summer league, he said: "rebounding." (JaVale does not provide lengthy quotes yet. He's working on that part of his game as well.) After seeing him for five games, I think we see a talented but raw kid who is a legit 7-footer, has crazy long arms and block some shots and knock down the occassional turnaround J but also has a lot of developing to do. But we knew that draft night.
The thing I like about him, other than how quick he moves for a guy his size, is that he plays very hard. Time will tell.

-We know that barring a trade, Blatche, McGuire, Young, Pecherov, McGee and possibly Brown (who has a partially guaranteed deal) are locks to make this team. As for the other guys, I didn't see anything to warrant much more than the traditional training camp invite.

By Ivan Carter  |  July 20, 2008; 8:45 PM ET
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