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Winners and Losers from Week 1 of Washington Wizards' Preseason

Jonathan MunshawCorrespondent IOctober 10, 2013

Winners and Losers from Week 1 of Washington Wizards' Preseason

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    The Washington Wizards started off their preseason with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.
    The Washington Wizards started off their preseason with a matchup against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday.Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    After Emeka Okafor went down with an injury and it was announced he'd be out indefinitely, most Washington Wizards fans assumed adapting to his absence would be a problem.

    Thankfully, the injury occurred far enough away on the calendar from the start of the regular season that Washington had some time to figure out their lineup. 

    Through the first week of the preseason, it seems there is still no clear-cut answer, and the Wizards frontcourt struggled in a 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets

    But just because the starting lineup is in flux at this point doesn't mean there weren't players who shone in the first week, surprising analysts, coaches and fans both in practice and in the preseason game. 

Loser: Jan Vesely

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    Jan Vesely got the start at power forward with Nene moved over to center.
    Jan Vesely got the start at power forward with Nene moved over to center.Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Because of Okafor's injury, Nene was moved over to play center, and Jan Vesely started at power forward. 

    However, he was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. Most people will point to his 12 rebounds as reason to keep him in the lineup, which is valid. 

    But Vesely only attempted four shots, making one of them, and ended up fouling out of the game in overtime. 

    Vesely simply picks up too many fouls too quickly and is basically invisible on offense. This could potentially be his last year in Washington, with a team option coming up next offseason, but Vesely didn't do much to prove he is a starter. 

    The Nets were able to intimidate Vesely out of even trying anything on offense, so he doesn't seem to be anything more than a bench player on the Wizards at this point. 

Winner: Kevin Seraphin

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    Kevin Seraphin, shown here going up for a block, was the Wizards' best player coming off the bench in the first preseason game.
    Kevin Seraphin, shown here going up for a block, was the Wizards' best player coming off the bench in the first preseason game.Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    Did Kevin Seraphin look great this week? No. But did he look good enough to warrant significant minutes in upcoming preseason games? Yes. 

    Seraphin had his typical problems of not wanting to pass the ball around, but he was one of the stronger players for the Wizards coming off the bench. 

    In practice, Thomas Pruitt of SB Nation said that Seraphin looked much improved over last season in the first week, and wrote after open practice on Oct. 4 that "...he managed to successfully pass the ball out of the post and re-establish deep position when he was double-teamed, something that I don't think he managed to pull off once last year."

    Come game time, Seraphin played 33 minutes, scoring 13 points on 50 percent shooting and adding seven rebounds, a block and a steal.

    Most of Seraphin's minutes came against second- or third-stringers for the Nets, but he at least helped his case for getting more minutes than Jan Vesely.

    There's no doubt Seraphin is a below-average starting center, but with Emeka Okafor out, Washington would at least take average play from Seraphin.

Loser: Eric Maynor

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    Backup point guard Eric Maynor was very disappointing in the first preseason game
    Backup point guard Eric Maynor was very disappointing in the first preseason gameNed Dishman/Getty Images

    Eric Maynor was brought in during the offseason to backup point guard John Wall but didn't show that he was worth more than a third-string bench spot this week. 

    In 23 minutes, Maynor took seven shots and only made one of them. Maynor was only able to add on three assists and one rebound, not impressive numbers for someone who is supposed to be backing up the team's best player. 

    The entire game, Maynor was invisible, leading Kyle Weidie from Truth About It to tweet, "I am utterly clueless as to what Eric Maynor has been doing for this entire game."

    That about sums up the game and the practices Maynor had this week. 

Winner: Glen Rice Jr.

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    Rookie Glen Rice Jr. was impressive against the Nets, although he only played in 17 minutes.
    Rookie Glen Rice Jr. was impressive against the Nets, although he only played in 17 minutes.Shem Roose/Getty Images

    With Otto Porter Jr. out this week with an injury, Glen Rice Jr. was the only rookie to play and participate in team activities for the Wizards this week, but for a little while, he made fans forget Porter was missing. 

    Rice only played in 17 minutes against the Nets but was still impressive, scoring 12 points and going 6-of-7 from the charity stripe. The former D-League player drove to the basket and was able to cause some problems for Brooklyn, and he even tacked on two steals. 

    At the end of the game, Rice came through in the clutch with a last-second putback off of an Eric Maynor miss to send the game into overtime. 

    As a small forward, there aren't many minutes to go around on the Wizards, and Rice still hasn't shown much on defense, but he made his case for being a role player on the team for the time being. 

Loser: Josh Childress

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    Josh Childress, who has been relatively absent from the NBA since the 2010-11 season, was a coach's decision to sit out the team's first preseason game.
    Josh Childress, who has been relatively absent from the NBA since the 2010-11 season, was a coach's decision to sit out the team's first preseason game.Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    Childress is only in Washington on a training camp deal but is obviously out of favor with coaches this week. 

    His competitor for a spot, power forward Pops-Mensah Bonsu, only played in nine minutes, but at least he got some game experience with the Wizards. 

    Head coach Randy Wittman chose to sit Childress against the Nets, and Hoop District reported that he was essentially separated from the rest of the team. 

    After spending some time in Europe, Childress is looking to get back into the NBA, but it doesn't seem like he's doing much in practice to win over the Wizards. 

Winner: John Wall

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    John Wall once again showed this week that he is Washington's best player and is an excellent point guard.
    John Wall once again showed this week that he is Washington's best player and is an excellent point guard.Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    John Wall obviously didn't have much to lose this week, but he asserted himself in the game and in practice and is on his way to proving he's worth a max deal from the Wizards. 

    One of Wall's weaknesses last season was shot selection, but he scored 16 points against the Nets, and in practice, Thomas Pruitt at SB Nation said he was "unguardable" in practice this week. 

    From the start of the game, Wall looked really aggressive, knocking down three shots in the first seven or eight minutes. 

    Working next to Bradley Beal, Wall showed that he and Beal make a powerful one-two punch, with Wall dishing out eight assists and Beal scoring 11 points. 

    If the Wizards are serious about making the playoffs this year, Wall needs to be the leader of the team, and he showed in the first week that he's not letting anyone slow him down. 

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