WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- If the Wizards bench players were matched up against Tuesday's starting lineup in a best-of-seven series, who would win? That's a serious question.
In the season opener at Cleveland, it was those very backups who prevented Washington's 94-84 loss from becoming an October beat down. Behind Jordan Crawford, Martell Webster, Jannero Pargo and Earl Barron (who?), the team caught fire, going on a 16-0 run and taking a two point lead early in the fourth quarter. The quartet of reserves thrived without the presence of Anderson Varajeo or Kyrie Irving on the court.
You can't fault head coach Randy Wittman for riding his bench well into the fourth quarter. At Quicken Loans arena -- nor against any other NBA foe -- their sparking effort alone won't be enough.
1) For 42 minutes, the Wizards offense had less rhythm than Screech from Saved By The Bell at the prom. It's more jerky than the wooden Rebel Yell roller coaster at Kings Dominion. The spacing and shot selection were atrocious. So were the lazy cross court passes. Crawford was the leading scorer with just 11 points. It wasn't like the Wizards were sharing the basketball either; just a bunch of off-balance isolation shots. This rhythm problem likely won't go away until John Wall returns -- and even then, the inability to find quality open shots will exist.
2) For this team not to completely bomb in 2012-2013, Bradley Beal will have to be Mr. Everything -- which he wasn't tonight. He may have to start playing some point guard, and he'll certainly have to be more aggressive. Taking only eight shots won't cut it. His development will be stunted though, if players like A.J. Price and Jannero Pargo combine for 13 three-point attempts. Wittman has to create more set plays for Beal.
3) Earlier on Tuesday, I said that Jan Vesely would be the team's most improved player, and you saw why against Cleveland. The hesitation that we saw so much of last season wasn't there at all in the season opener. His final stat line: 7 points, 4 boards.
4) Anyone who thinks John Wall would ever get selected over Kyrie Irving to make the 2016 USA Olympic team needs to stop watching basketball. Once LeBron and Kevin Durant begin the aging process, Irving has potential to win an MVP award. He has no flaws. P.S. defending point guards without Wall is going to be a serious problem. Just wait until Rajon Rondo this Saturday.
5) The most frustrating play in basketball? A missed layup. So far, Trevor Ariza has that skill mastered. Also, he holds onto the ball for quite awhile. His leash as a guy who plays in the fourth is notably short.