Grading every player on the Wizards’ Summer League roster

After a five-game summer league in Las Vegas, there is much to discuss. The Washington Wizards went 2-3 with wins against the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder. Some big names came up and showed, including a summer league return for last year’s lottery pick, Johnny Davis. The Wizards’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, Bilal Coulibaly, also showed his potential.

With the Summer League now over, it’s time to evaluate each player’s performance, from first-round picks to potential G League additions. Each player will receive a letter grade for their performance, as well as some things to work on.

The starters, or primary players, will receive a more detailed analysis. I feel like you guys want to be more focused on the main guys. But for those who also want to read up on some of the lesser known players, these will also be listed below. Enjoy!

Johnny Davis: B+

Last year’s summer league was a huge disappointment for Davis. He shot 29 percent from the field, 33 percent from three and averaged just 8.3 points per game. He lacked confidence and looked like a deer in headlights among other draftees. However, that all seemed to turn around for JD this summer league, where he doubled his point total from 8.3 to 16.3, ultimately leading the Wizards in scoring.

Looking at his numbers, you’d think his grade is too low. But being drafted in the top-10 last year, combined with how bad his rookie season was, factored into the drop in grade.

Shooting is still a struggle for him. His shot isn’t there yet. It looks like he works really hard to get to his places and even then he still struggles to look good.

But here’s one thing I will say: His defense is NBA ready. Interchangeability is a great asset to have, and Davis already has it equipped. He can defend guards and forwards, which should help him find minutes. If Davis buys into his role as a tough defender while becoming a more reliable player on offense, he could average around 8-10 points per game. match. Davis’ playing time is coming.

Bilal Coulibaly: B

It’s hard to judge Coulibaly at this stage of his career as he was about to enter his first year of college. Nevertheless, he did his thing in Vegas. He improved during the Summer League, increasing his scoring and increasing his defense.

Most impressive were Coulibaly’s 2.3 blocks per game. battle, peaks among guards. He even had a 4-block game against OKC! Coulibaly showed tremendous instincts on that side of the ball, always rotating to the right spot and ready to play on the ball. That combination of athleticism and defensive ability is what led to the Wiz moving up to take him.

A few negatives:

  • His handle is too high and not tight enough. He often loses the ball and never seems to be in total control.
  • His shot needs a ton of work. Shooting 22 percent from three isn’t going to cut it. Not that big of a deal considering he’s only 18 and not labeled as a deadeye shooter, but still something to monitor and improve.

Overall, I loved what I saw from the 18-year-old rookie in summer league.

Tristan Vukcevic: C+

At first glance, it looks tough. Understandable to think so. Although Vukcevic showed up in Games 1 and 2, his play thereafter was subpar. He showed an ability to stretch the floor as a shooter, but was ineffective, making just 23 percent of his threes.

His rebounding also needs to improve. Often he got body on the boards. Tristan needs to be stronger on the glass to secure a roster spot.

Offensively, his game is legit. Knocking over a few middy’s and deep balls helped his cause. I’d like to see him work out of the post more though. It’s an aspect of his game that isn’t there yet.

FYI: Vukcevic has just been loaned to a new team overseas, which may mean his move to DC will have to wait. It can be a blessing in disguise. That would give him another year to improve against solid competition before making the move to the NBA.

Ryan Rollins: B+

I get some flak for this grade being as high as it is, but who cares. Rollins, a second-year PG who came over in the Jordan Poole trade, displayed impressive court vision. His 5.0 assists per game leads the team, good enough for a 2:1 ratio between assists and turnovers.

One thing that bothered Rollins was ball control. He turned it over too much, and was generally sloppy with the ball in his hands. He needs to clean it up to see playing time. I still project him as the third string PG, behind both Tyus Jones and Delon Wright to begin the year.

Patrick Baldwin, Jr: C+

A last-second addition to the Poole trade, Baldwin has huge upside. At 6’9 with a smooth shooting stroke, Baldwin can tower over defenders with ease. I believe he has the ability to become a Michael Porter, Jr. player for the Wizards if he develops.

As for his summer league performance, it was up and down. While he had moments that got me excited, his overall output lacked substance. Yes, he made some threes, but his 27.3 percent three-point percentage shows his ineffectiveness. That percentage HAS to go up if he wants to crack the rotation.

A glaring positive was his defense. Baldwin blocked a ton of shots and upset many others. His length allows him to defend the paint quite well, something I didn’t expect when we signed him last month.

Xavier Cooks: B+

The fan base is divided on this man and I understand why. Although technically entering his “rookie” year, Cooks is 27 years old. With the Wizards taking a more youth-centric route, it may be difficult to give older guys like Cook playing time over their own draft picks. However, he had a solid summer league himself.

In just 20 minutes per game, the Australian forward posted 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds on an impressive 64 percent shooting. He is in his prime and competing against much younger players, but Cooks does what is expected of him.

He was active on the glass, getting to every 50/50 ball and playing his role very well. Now, don’t get me wrong. Many of his points came in garbage time, but nonetheless, he can be a good glue guy for the Wiz.

Quenton Jackson: C-

Summer League didn’t start well for last year’s feel-good story in Washington. Jackson came out pressed. He forced his shot in Game 1 and tried to do too much. That energy carried over to most of summer league, leading to ineffective shooting splits. Jackson shot just 36 percent from the field and 25 percent from three.

Despite his offensive struggles, Jackson defended his ass. Always in the right place and always moving his feet. It was really impressive to watch him lock guys up every game. If it were up to me, Jackson would get a two-way spot starting the season with the Capital City Go-Go. Lots of athleticism and raw talent, but still needs some time to develop offensively.

Jules Bernard: B-

After being traded to the Go-Go’s last season, Bernard caught fire. He led the team in a multitude of offensive categories while taking them to the playoffs. Hats off to his three point shot and man did he bring that jumper to Vegas.

Bernard shot a whopping 62.5 percent from deep in Vegas! The guy simply couldn’t miss. What I liked most is that he also showed other elements of his game, such as driving to the rim and finishing through contact.

I still think Bernard lands in the G-League, but he may have played his way into a two-way contract instead of a standard G-League deal with his summer league performance.

Dejan Vasiljevic: C+

C+ is the perfect grade here because Vasiljevic had a really good game and a really bad game.

Against the Thunder, he dropped 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from three. Then against the Chicago Bulls, he shot 1-of-11 from the field and made no threes.

There is no doubt that Dejan can shoot. However, he needs to be more consistent if he wants to stick in the NBA, especially when his defense is subpar. Although he had a great game against OKC, I doubt he gets one of the two-way spots in Washington.

Donovan Williams: B

Williams only saw significant playing time in two of his four appearances, so I’ll grade him on those.

My thoughts: I like him. He has some bounce and athleticism to his game that I enjoyed seeing. The deep ball is something he needs to work on, especially at the shooting guard position, but his ability to pressure the rim could earn him some time in the G League. Would have liked to see some more playing time for Williams, but overall liked his performance.

Kyle Alexander: A-

If I could give Alexander an NBA 2K badge, it would be the glass cleaner because he is relentless on the boards. He clears the court every time the ball goes up and comes down with the rebound. Even on the offensive end, he is active on the glass.

Alexander’s activity and effort was contagious, which will earn him playing time wherever he goes. I also liked his post game. He has great touch around the rim to sink floaters and short hook shots.

DJ Stewart: D

Stewart is athletic and has good handles, but his overall game didn’t impress me. I saw a lot of forced shots and bad driving. Perhaps it was the limited playing time that made him feel like he had to push, because in the one game he did get time, his shot selection was much better.

Osun Osunniyi: B

I wish we got to see more minutes from Osunniyi. He played in only two games, and didn’t get much playing time either. When he did play, it went as expected: rebounds and put-backs.

If you want a traditional big man, Osunniyi is your guy. He runs the floor well and is efficient. One negative was bad problems. Picked up four fouls in 16 minutes against Chicago. It needs to be cleaned up.

After an eventful summer league, I am happy with the results. Washington’s two most recent Top-10 picks, Davis and Coulibaly, played better each game. The two players from the Jordan Poole trade, Baldwin and Rollins, looked like they could contribute this year. And a few guys played well enough to possibly earn two-way spots.

The Wizards may be rebuilding, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bad. There is a ton of young talent being added to next season’s squad and I’m excited to see it.

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