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Wizards at Bobcats Preview

Who would’ve thought? Here we are five games into the season and the Washington Wizards are looking to pick up their first win against the 2-3 Charlotte Bobcats.

Key Match-Up

After winning only 7 games the entire season last year, the Charlotte Bobcats were expected to get the number one overall pick in the draft. As it turns out, the Bobcats couldn’t even win the draft lottery. Luckily, they were left with Kentucky standout Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Kidd-Gilchrist wasn’t viewed as much of a franchise savior as his Kentucky counterpart, Anthony Davis, but he was brought in to change Charlotte’s culture. Much like the Wizards last season, the Bobcats lacked players that would play hard each and every night. Needless to say, ‘MKG’ is the epitome of playing hard. Averaging nearly ten rebounds per game thus far, Kidd-Gilchrist is as dynamic as they come. Coming out of Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist was compared to the likes of Gerald Wallace and even Wizards forward Trevor Ariza.

As Kidd-Gilchrist lacks an efficient jump shot, Trevor Ariza will need to contain his unique ability to attack the basket. The Wizards are struggling at getting to the charity stripe, but have no problem at putting their opponents at the line.  The Bobcats aren’t a particularly fast paced team, but have the ability to get out in transition with Kidd-Gilchrist and Kemba Walker leading the team.

Other Notes

  • The Charlotte Bobcats are ranked dead last in defensive efficiency, while the Wizards are ranked last in offensive efficiency.
  • Former Wizard, Brendan Haywood, is the starting center for the Bobcats. The ‘Cats picked up their second win of the season against Dallas on Saturday, a team which Haywood helped win a championship in 2011.
  • Bradley Beal is averaging just over 18 points per game over the past three games. It’s good to see Beal having  “fun on the floor,” as opposed to  taking the game too seriously as he did right at the beginning of the season.

Prediction

(Sigh) Remember when the Wizards started their season 0-8 last year? Well, they’re on the verge of a similar path if their fate doesn’t change on Tuesday night. Let’s be honest, no one would’ve expected the Charlotte Bobcats to have started the season with two victories with only three losses. Even though the Wizards are sporting a depleted roster, my heart’s telling me that they still have enough talent to beat the lowly Bobcats.

Luckily, the Bobcat’s aren’t a very good defensive squad. The Wizards are struggling offensively, to say the least, without their star players, John Wall and Nene. The Bobcats, although a scrappy team, give up around 110 points per game. Charlotte is also very good at keeping the ball, as they only cough up the ball nearly twelve times per game. With the Wizards missing John Wall, they’re continuously playing at a slower pace. With the Bobcats turning the ball over at such a low rate, the Wizards need to capitalize and score on each of  their fast break opportunities.

Containing Charlotte’s backcourt is also a key factor if the Wizards want to pick up their first ‘W’. Kemba Walker, who is having a breakout sophomore NBA season, is averaging close to 19 points per game. A.J. Price has done a decent job defensively, and held Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks to just 12 points last Friday night. Jennings, which plays with a similar style as Walker, also committed six turnovers. Price needs to try and repeat that performance if the Wizards want to win in Charlotte.

With all that said, I predict the Wizards will win, 101-94, in tonight’s match up. There are many things that need to go right for the Wizards to win, but there are also a plethora of things that need to go horribly wrong for the Wizards to lose. In my opinion, the Wizards have the edge in the frontcourt against Charlotte. The Wizards have two bruisers in Trevor Booker and Emeka Okafor, while Charlotte’s big men tend to settle for outside shots. Byron Mullens, who was acquired through a trade with Oklahoma City by Charlotte, has shot 34 three pointers this season. Even worse, he’s gotten to the free throw line an astonishing zero times. The Bobcats are arguably less deep than the win-less Wizards.

If their first win doesn’t come tonight, who knows when the Wizards will get another great shot at winning a ball game.

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