Preseason: Washington Wizards vs Brooklyn Nets Preview
Wizards 0-0 vs Nets 0-0
When: Sunday, December 13th, at 6 p.m.
Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.
TV: NBCSWA, NBATV, YES Network / Radio: WFED 1500 AM
Wizards: Jerome Robinson (Out/Stomach), Russell Westbrook (Out/rest), Brad Beal (Out/Rest), Thomas Bryant (Game Time Decision/ Hip), Ish Smith (Out/Lower Body Soreness) Davis Bertans (Out/illness)
Nets: Caris LeVert (Out/Patella Contusion), Nicolas Clayton (Out/ Right Knee Tendinitis)
Wizards (19-20 Stats) -
114.4 - points per game
119.1 - points against
45.7 - Field goal %
Nets (19-20 Stats) -
111.8- points per game
112.3 - points against
44.8 - field goal %
Keep An Eye on:
Defense: first and foremost is what I WILL be paying the most attention to and as a fan, you should too. It's no secret that the Wizards were atrocious defensively last season. They ranked 29th in points allowed (119.1), opposing teams shot 48 percent from the field and 37 percent from 3-point range, which ranked 29th and 27th in the NBA. Their poor execution defensively is why they only managed to win 25 games. Defense has been a common theme for the Wizards throughout training camp from head coach Scott Brooks on down to the rookies Deni Avdija and Cassius Winston, as it should. The goal that has been mentioned, is to get into the top half of the NBA (at least) defensively. They will get a good test tonight against a formidable Brooklyn Nets team that may have arguably the two best scorers on the planet in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. We shall see soon how much the Wizards defensive habits have improved throughout training camp.
Growth of the young players: will be key to the Wizards success this season, it's no getting around that. Second year forward Rui Hachimura had an impressive rookie campaign, averaging 13.5 points (3rd on the Wizards) and 6.1 rebounds (2nd on the Wizards) while shooting 46 percent from the field and 82 percent from the line. The emphasis throughout the summer and training camp has been Rui's improved three point shooting, he only shot 28% last season. Adding this element will take his game to a whole new level, solidifying him as the third scoring option behind Brad Beal and Russell Westbrook. Troy Brown was solid last season, averaging 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.2 steals a game, however, his efficiency and consistency needs to improve this season. Brown Jr admitted as much during training camp saying that HE feels it's time for him to make the leap to the next level. If Brown Jr makes that leap, it changes a lot for Washington. Jerome Robinson is a crafty scorer and who can help spread the floor for Washington. At 6'5 he can play multiple positions out on the perimeter, giving the Wizards much needed depth. Rookies Deni Avdija and Cassius Winston both had distinguish careers at Maccabi Tel Aviv and Michigan State respectively. 6'9 Avdija has already made an impression with his combination of size, skill and competitive mindset. Winston is a tough minded, skilled, floor general with an extremely high I.Q. I wouldn't be shocked to see him work his way into the rotation sooner then later. If these young players make the impact their capable of making, then the Wizards playoff goals become more of how deep they can go into the playoffs.
Return of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving: is one a LOT of basketball fans have been waiting to see. Kevin Durant missed all of last season recovering from an Achilles tear he suffered during the 2019 NBA finals as a member of the Golden State Warriors. Kyrie Irving battled shoulder issues all last season, finally having to shut things down after he went through arthroscopic surgery to relieve a right shoulder impingement in early March. As elite as these two are, a lot of questions remain. How will they look in new head coach Steve Nash's system? Will Kevin Durant return and be the Kevin Durant we all know? The 30,7,7, 50/40/90 club monster. Will Kyrie Irving stay healthy and locked in to help Brooklyn become a contender in reality and not just on paper? How will these two stars elevate the rest of Nets? I can go on and on about the questions surrounding this talented team, regardless, we'll begin to get some answers starting tonight.