Highlights: Wizards beat Cavs to finish preseason
The preseason for John Wall, particularly the last two games, hasn't given much indication that the Wizards' $80 million man will blossom into the superstar they crave.
Wall ended with three points on 1-for-7 shooting, four assists, two rebounds and four turnovers in 26 minutes of Wednesday's 101-82 win vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the game before that, vs. the Detroit Pistons, Wall had 11 points on 5-for-11 shooting but zero assists. It was such a bad performance by the Wizards, particularly the starting unit, that coach Randy Wittman described that 99-96 loss as an "embarrassment."
With Wall being the leader, and embracing that throughout training camp, a lot of that blame will fall on him.
So the question is obvious: Will there be a new and improved Wall, coming off a hot stretch in the last two months of the 2012-13 season to post career highs in average for points (18.5) and field goal shooting (44.1%)? Or was that Wall, who scored a career-high 47 points in a win vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, an aberration?
That answer will be revealed sooner rather than later. After the Wizards open the season Oct. 30 at the Pistons, who are expected to be one of the league's most improved teams because of their off-season moves, they face a slew of elite opposition: Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. All are in the first two weeks of the season. Three of them, except the Nets, are on the road.
For his part, Wall has yet to display the shooting touch. He shot 29-for-82 for the preseason for 35.3%. He only made 2 of 17 three-point attempts, or 11.7%.
"I feel like there are great shots. They're just not going in right now. I've still got the same confidence," Wall said when I asked him about his accuracy problems after he went 6-for-15 vs. the New York Knicks a week ago. "The same thing I worked on. Just keep shooting. It's preseason. There's other things to work on. Get your kinks out."
The hunch here is that Wall is probably correct. His stats are a reflection of him taking more low-percentage shots, such as six three-point attempts vs. the Knicks, because the games didn't count.
If he's able to get his overall shooting to around 48%, which is plausible given that he gets a lot of open looks and shots in the lane, the Wizards will take it. So will Wall.