The 17-15 Brooklyn Nets travel to Washington, D.C. to take on the 4-26 Washington Wizards at 7:00 P.M. EST tonight. As you might be able to tell from their record, the Wizards might be their biggest mess ever, and they haven't won more than 26 games in five years. The Wizards started the season 0-12, have been without John Wall all season (and Nene for most of it), and rank dead last in the NBA offensively.
So no, they're not very good, and if we've learned anything this season, it's that the Nets can usually somehow slog their way to victory against bad teams.
Joining us at The Brooklyn Game to talk about tonight's matchup is Wizards expert and founder/showrunner at Truth About It, ESPN TrueHoop Washington Wizards affiliate and one of the most comprehensive team websites there is.
Kyle Weidie on the Washington Wizards
Devin: The Wizards are 4-26, have the worst offense in the NBA by a substantial margin. Tell me why you have hope.
Kyle: The hope is that the eventual return of John Wall will pretty much change everything. So, you can understand why I am skeptical, because as far as I (and the league) know, he still can't shoot. Maybe he will prove everyone wrong. Either way, with Wall, the Wizards will score a ton more fast-break points -- they average 12.8 fastbreak points per game this year; with Wall on the court last season, they averaged 19.3. The expectation is also that Washington's shooters will get more open looks with Wall. They seem to get a lot of open looks now, and frequently miss, but the idea is that more of these looks will come from the corners, where the percentages are much higher.
And so, when the Wizards aren't racing with Wall, the hope is that offense successfully runs through Nene much of the time in the half court. However, the Wizards will still be without an elite scorer who can manufacture points. Will they find that scorer dumpster-diving in the draft lottery again? Who knows... but don't get your hopes up.
Devin: What is your impression of Wizards rookie & 3rd overall pick Bradley Beal? I was impressed by the way he defended Joe Johnson in preseason, but, well, it's preseason.
Kyle: Good character. Good overall capabilities. Not the shooter everyone had hoped for. But, not to say Beal can't improve, but his current .410 eFG% is closer to that of Jamaal Tinsley's as a rookie... So, not what you want from the third overall pick. I also think that Beal lacks lift on his jumper and needs to get in better shape to compensate for the fact that he is barely 6-foot-4. He's got a lot of work to do.
Devin: What do you expect the reception, both from the Wizards and their fans, for exiled Wizard and current Nets revelation Andray Blatche to be like tonight?
Kyle: Lots and lots of boos. I don't think people will ever forget how much of a lazy, club-hopping screw-up Blatche was when given all the chances one could want -- playing time without veterans in front of him, a contract extension, coddling from an owner, being in a position to seize accountability and take the glory. (Juwan Howard and Kwame Brown would still receive boos when playing in D.C. over the recent years.)
For Blatche personally, I guess he's bouncing back in Brooklyn (with MIP considerations), and I guess that's good for him. But him playing a large role in the overall Washington disaster won't ever really be forgotten. Blatche was a good-hearted/natured guy, but he was also not very intelligent, and I wouldn't hire him to lick envelopes. But maybe it was all because the Wizards franchise needed to learn a hard lesson in dealing with his sort. Again, who knows....
Kyle: Nets 95, Wizards 90 -- It might be too close for comfort for Brooklynites, but the Wizards will find a way to lose in the end.