#WizardsTalk: Will Wall return?
Following Monday's practice - the first since A.J. Price's injury and working out two veteran free agent point guards - Wizards coach Randy Wittman said the team was passing on making any immediate roster moves. Not because the team's roster is set, but rather because no available player warrants adding.
Considering the current active roster consists of only one true point guard in Shaun Livingston - and John Wall's return might be weeks away - it seems reasonable that the Wizards would like another ball handler. Maybe Ben Uzoh and Blake Ahearn simply weren't the right guys for right now. Anyone else available?
Well, what about the current NBA D-League Player of the Week who led the Maine Red Claws to a 3-0 record for the week, averaging 22.3 points, 7.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 41.3 minutes. This guard also sports good size (6-foot-3), a solid frame (215 pounds) and played in the NBA last season.
Guessing you figured out the mystery player by now, but if not let's also note he starred collegiately at Butler, the Wizards are still paying him and his name rhymes with Melvin Sack. Yes, ex-Wizard Shelvin Mack is posting strong numbers early in the D-League season, though apparently not enough for his ex-employers to come calling.
Though listed as the No. 7 prospect likely for a call-up to the show --one spot behind Uzoh -- this brief analysis of where Mack's game currently is may explain why while also sounding rather familiar.
"Turnovers still plague Mack, but he's making strides in his attempt to refine his point guard game and transform completely from the shooting guard role he played at Butler."
After reading this assessment, I went back and pulled up my Shelvin Mack player review from the Las Vegas summer league. Here's an excerpt:
Essentially, what the Summer League was about for Mack is summed up in this Sam Cassell quote following the Wizards second loss of the session: "We're looking for somebody who can run a ball club. You know, we got John Wall, but after John Wall, we gotta figure it out, and that's what we're trying to do." Five games should not be the end all be all of evaluations, but Las Vegas represented Mack's opportunity to show the coaches and management that even if his transition to point guard remained a work in progress, it was working. Not sure anyone can claim that happened.
Shortly after summer league concluded, the Wizards signed Price. When Wall's diagnosis was revealed, the team went for a surer thing in Jannero Pargo, who the team then kept over Mack. Pargo didn't last long and then came Livingston. Now...nothing else for the moment. Not that adding any point guard outside of a 1980's Magic Johnson could solve all that ails this team right now, but the current roster makeup is unsustainable for the long haul no matter Jordan Crawford's stats when directing traffic. Price's injury requires an expected 4-6 recovery period. Eventually - and assuming Wall's return is indeed several weeks away - another point guard is added to the roster. Just might not be any of the names mentioned, including the one still on the payroll.