Washington Wizards vs Atlanta Hawks Preview
Wizards 3-11 vs Hawks 9-9
When: Friday, January 29th, at 7p.m.
Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, DC
TV: NBCSWA, NBA League Pass / Radio: WFED 1500 AM
Wizards: Deni Avdija (Out/ Health & Safety Protocols), Troy Brown Jr (Out/ Health & Safety Protocols), Ish Smith (Out/ Health & Safety Protocols), Thomas Bryant (Out/ Left ACL Surgery)
Hawks: Kris Dunn (Out/ Ankle), Bogdan Bogdanovic (Out, Right Knee Avulsion Fracture)
115.7 - points per game
120.4 - points against
46.3 - Field Goal %
113.1 - points per game
110.7 - points against
44.6 - Field Goal %
Keep an eye on:
Pride: show a sense of pride tonight. At times in Wednesday's loss to New Orleans, Washington (minus Beal, Matthews, Bell, Len) at times looked deflated on both ends of the floor. Washington couldn't deal with Zion Williamson and Steven Adams inside, then, Brandon Ingram and Eric Bledsoe made it look easy at times on the perimeter. Adams nearly had 10 rebounds in the first quarter.....that's about pride. Getting inside, banging with Adams and either you get your fair share of rebounds or neither one of yall get it, but you make sure Adams and the Pelicans know you're there to compete. Reinforcements are coming with the return of Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Moritz Wagner after being sidelined nearly a month due to testing positive for Covid. Competing for a full 48 should never be a request and if the Wizards don't bring it for a full 48 against a young HUNGRY Hawks team, the current trend of losing will continue.
Trae Young: demands full attention from defenses as soon as he approaches half court LITERALLY. Young has range out to half court, yet, can score from all three levels and pick teams apart with his surgical passing as well. Young is averaging 26.2 points (13th in the NBA), 8.8 assists (5th in the NBA) and 4.2 rebounds per game on 41 percent shooting from the field, 35 percent shooting from deep and 88 percent shooting from the free throw line. I know, you see his 41 percent shooting from the field and say "hey make him a finisher," well, Atlanta is third in the NBA in free throw percentage (81.9%) and first in the league in both free throw makes (21.6) and attempts (26.3) a game. Don't forget that Atlanta also has five other players outside of Young averaging double figure scoring on the season. Needless to say, Washington has their work cut out for them defensively tonight.....I know, I know, what else is new?
Hawks Front Court: is as deep as any team in the league. Center Clint Capela is having an all star caliber season, averaging 13.7 points, a career high in rebounds at 14.5, which ranks second in the NBA and blocks at 2.3 per game, slotting Capela in at fourth currently in the NBA in rejections. His inside presence has opened eyes across the league and has the Hawks eyeing their postseason appearance since the 2016-2017 season.
Second year small forward De'Andre Hunter has emerged as one of the brightest young wings in the NBA this season. Hunter is enjoying career highs in just about every statistical category across the board, averaging 17.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists on 51 percent shooting from the field, 37 percent shooting from deep and 87 percent from the charity stripe. Hunters efficiency is off the charts offensively and he's one of the most lethal wings defensively in the league as well. Hunter drew comparisons to Kawhi Leonard coming out of Virginia and those comparisons are showing themselves to be warranted as Hunter continues to grow as an all around player.
Let's not forget the super athletic John Collins who rounds out the Hawks front court in the starting line-up. He has also become one of the most efficient power forwards in the league in his own right. Collins is posting 16.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on 53 percent shooting from the field, 41 percent shooting from deep and 81 percent shooting from the free throw line. Collins is extremely dangerous going back door for lobs, in transition, on pick and pop/ roll sets and crashing the offensive boards. The Wizards HAVE to keep a body on him at all times.
Atlanta also another versatile youngster quietly making an impact out of the front court in wing Cam Reddish, who is averaging 12.7 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game,