Besides sporting the baddest of badass jerseys in the league, the Washington Wizards have lost four straight — to teams like San Antonio, Dallas, OKC before falling victim to Kyrie Irving’s resurgent 41-point explosion and losing to Cleveland Saturday night — so as much as I would like to berate Randy Whittman’s squad for floundering early on against inferior Eastern Conference fodder, they have wins against Philadelphia and Brooklyn. There may still be time for Whittman to save himself from being the first NBA head coach fired this season.
Wizards probable starting lineup:
PG John Wall
SG Bradley Beal
SF Trevor Ariza
C Marcín Gortat
Wall has been listed as a game-time decision tonight. It’s been billed as a put-up-or-shut-up year for Wall. Long touted as a premier, Derrick Rose-like game changer, Wall’s never led the Wizards to a winning record. Wall is averaging 16 points, over 9 assists, 4 rebounds and just under 2 steals a game on 36% shooting, with 31% from three. (Just a reminder, the Wiz are 2-7.)
The leader in minutes played for the Wizards so far this season is Beal. Last year’s promising rookie is averaging 20 points a night on 18 shots and 41% shooting (but over 44% from three) in just over 40 minutes a night.
The rumor early was that Gortat, after being acquired from Phoenix for Emeka Okafor, could be moved again should the Wiz fail to improve. Gortat has done his part to mesh with Nené, averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds with almost 2 blocks on 51% shooting to pair with Nené’s 14 and 6 on 55% — those numbers won’t hurt Gortat’s value should the Wiz choose to flip him.
The insanity of the Wiz poor start is they are still only 2 games behind the 7th and 8th seeds in the East.
Wolves probable starting lineup:
PG Ricky Rubio
SG Kevin Martin
SF Corey Brewer
PF Kevin Love
C Nikola Pekovic
Pek is back! 16 points, 9 rebounds on over 65% shooting over the last five.
The wrath of Whittman was such that every game he coaches against the Wolves should be an automatic blowout. If Beal and Wall continue to chuck — ok, let’s just end it with this: of the perimeter players for the Wiz: Wall, Beal, Ariza, and former Wolf Martell Webster, Ariza is shooting the highest percentage on the season, at 43% — let them.