The Wizards' preseason schedule kicks off Sunday, October 7th at 1 PM as they face the Bobcats in Charlotte. Point guard and team centerpiece John Wall is out with a knee injury, so the team that see the court is going to function completely differently than the one that plays the majority of the 2013 regular season. Nonetheless, there's a lot that fans and management might be able to learn from Sunday's game.
Who's in shape? Jan Vesely struggled to match the strength of physical post players last season and more likely than not attempted to gain some weight this summer. For better or for worse, he showed up to the Summer League looking noticeably heavier. The Airwolf is still a raw prospect whose main attributes at this point in his career are his ability to jump really high and run really fast, two skills that deteriorate very quickly if you put on a little bit of extra fat. Kevin Seraphin is another young big man whose conditioning could be poor, as he seemed to play himself into shape last year. Being weighed down with an extra ten pounds could lead to him struggling to cover quicker players this season, something he'll have to do a lot if he plays more minutes at power forward next to Emeka Okafor or Nene Hilario.
Is Shelvin Mack a viable point guard? The converted shooting guard from Butler was a terrible shooter last year and is a less-than-ideal replacement while Wall heals up. His jumpshot has nowhere to go but up (he was a decent shooter in college and has solid enough form) and he was an underrated distributor last year. He looked bad, almost Chris Duhon-bad, during Summer League, though, and how well he deals with the pressure defense of Kemba Walker and ball-hawking of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist could shed some light on how capably he'll be able to run the point this November.
How are Nene's feet? The Brazilian center is battling
Mark Priciitis plantar fasciitis and could be a step slower while dealing with the effects. He's also almost 30, an age where players' athleticism tends to slip, not to mention he just spent the summer playing competitive basketball with the Brazilian Olympic team. His ability to switch out onto perimeter players is a key part of the team's defense.
Is Bradley Beal the next Ray Allen or the next Eric Gordon? Beal is a lottery pick out of Florida with textbook form on his jumper. His results as a shooter are more good than great (33% from three, 76% in one NCAA season) and he seemed to to be much better than advertised as a playmaker during his Summer League run. Part of his appeal when the Wizards' drafted him was his ability to play off of the ball at an elite level and give the team one of the league's top snipers at the wing, making him a perfect fit next to the relatively ball-dominant Wall. If Beal is better with the ball in his hands or struggles to his more than a third of his three pointers, fans and management could begin to question the wisdom of passing up Harrison Barnes and Thomas Robinson.