Johnny Davis more assertive in the second Summer League game, a Wizards win

LAS VEGAS — The Washington Wizards beat the Phoenix Suns 97-72 on Sunday in their second game of the Las Vegas Summer League. Here are five observations from what went down…

Lopsided win

The Wizards played a loaded Pistons Summer League team on Saturday in their opener, a roster that included a lot of NBA rotation players. On Sunday, they saw a team with far less NBA-ready talent and, not surprisingly, the results were different.

After a close loss to Detroit, the Wizards had no trouble with the Suns in a blowout victory. They were up by 19 points at halftime and never looked back.

Defense was the biggest reason for that. They held the Suns to 34.9% shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers. It was good for the Wizards to get a win after starting with a loss, but also because they have a couple of tough opponents waiting with the New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers. The Pelicans have eighth overall pick Dyson Daniels, although he may be shut down with an ankle sprain, and the Pacers have No. 6 overall pick Benedict Mathurin.

Davis was more aggressive

Wizards’ 10th overall pick Johnny Davis said the coaching staff told him to be more selfish in looking for his own shot in the second game after he went seven minutes without a shot attempt to begin his debut on Saturday. Davis took the advice and looked much more assertive on the offensive end in this one.

After scoring six points on 1-for-9 shooting against the Pistons, Davis dropped 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting vs. the Suns. He also made his first three of the Summer League.

Davis is starting to shine on catch-and-go plays and is clearly comfortable in the midrange. His best play in this game may have been in the first half when he drove baseline with his left hand and sank a floater in traffic.

While Davis will hope to shoot better moving forward, and protect the ball better (he had three turnovers), he was pleased with his progress game-to-game.

“It’s just taking something from every game and translating it to the next… It was only my second game playing against NBA competition, so I’m still trying to figure it out,” Davis said.

Next stop: shoot more

While Davis was successful driving past opponents off-the-catch, he hopes to make an adjustment in the Wizards’ next game. He felt he was passing up some good looks from the outside.

“I should be ready to catch-and-shoot a lot more. That’s something I’ve gotta work on,” Davis said. “But also, as quick as I am, I feel as soon as I catch it I have the ability to rip by somebody. It’s also just reading the closeouts.”

Davis wasn’t a big-time 3-point shooter in college. He knocked down just 30.6% from deep last year at Wisconsin, but he will look to improve in that area and the Summer League is a great opportunity to build confidence as a shooter. The Wizards’ roster is set up for him to be their No. 1 scoring option, so the shots are going to be there if he wants them.

The more Davis develops as an outside shooter, the more defenders will have to respect his range and that will create more chances for him to drive to the rim off-the-catch.

Carey Jr. stood out

Second-year big man Vernon Carey Jr. has been one of the Wizards’ biggest positives so far through two games. He is doing a nice job scoring the ball in the paint, using his strength to fight through contact and finish, often with a left-handed baby hook.

Carey Jr. is an aggressive player and on Sunday that helped him get to the free throw line often. He had 15 points and 11 rebounds with about half of his points coming from the charity stripe (he shot 7-for-7). Carey Jr. has had some trouble shooting free throws dating back to college, but looked good on Sunday.

If Carey Jr. continues to perform well in Summer League, it should help his chances going into next season. The Wizards signed veteran Taj Gibson to be their third center, but Carey Jr. could be fourth in line and one injury away from being needed at the NBA level.

Switch cooled off

After scoring 24 points in Game 1, Jordan Schakel didn’t make nearly the same impact on Sunday as Phoenix seemed to be acutely aware of his scoring abilities. He was a key focus of their defense and still shot okay from the outside (2-for-5), but didn’t have nearly the same success driving to the rim as he did on Saturday. Schakel had six points on 2-for-8 shooting overall in about 16 minutes of action.

Isaiah Todd, the Wizards’ 2021 second round pick, is still waiting to heat up. He was solid in their first game with 11 points, but only had three points on Sunday. He had more fouls (four) than points. Todd, though, still has an opportunity to make some noise in Vegas and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a breakout game sometime soon. He’s never shy about looking for his own shot and can heat up very quickly.

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