John Wall was triumphant in his season debut, as the Washington Wizards took out the Atlanta Hawks this past Saturday. Tonight, the Wizards will look to pick up their third straight victory against the Dwight Howard-less Orlando Magic.
Key Match Up
John Wall is back, ladies and gentleman. As a fan, I haven’t been this excited to watch the Wizards play in a very long time. With John Wall and Bradley Beal leading the back court, the cause for optimism is very high in Wizards-land. On top of all that, John Wall looked very good in his season debut on Saturday versus Atlanta. He seemed just as quick as he did prior to that awful knee injury, and didn’t seem the least bit hesitant. Wall finished with 14 points and 4 assists in just a little over 20 minutes of playing time. Above all, his confidence and swagger seems to rub off on the rest of his teammates. Wall missed a few easy layups, and it’s apparent that he still needs to get his legs back, but the confidence he showed getting to the basket was awesome, to say the least. One thing that I thought went unnoticed, was Wall’s tenacity on defense. There was times during his debut, in which he completely shut down the opposing guards. When Wall wasn’t on the floor, Jeff Teague was able to get to the basket at will. With John Wall defending him, Teague appeared to be passive and just couldn’t get off the shots he wanted. I honestly can’t wait to see more of John Wall in tonight’s game.
Wall can’t overlook the competition tonight though, as he’s matched up with his former Reebok family member, Jameer Nelson. The former All-Star clearly misses Dwight Howard, but his production has surprisingly been good. Averaging close to 15 points and over 7 assists, Nelson is able to put the ball in the basket in a hurry. He isn’t known for his play making ability, but he does occasionally set up his sharp shooting teammates with easy shots. Nelson isn’t nearly as fast as John Wall, but his deceptive quickness makes access for easy transition points. Wall needs to continue his defensive effort against Nelson tonight. Orlando doesn’t have much talent on their roster, so look for Nelson to pull the trigger whenever he gets the chance. He’s averaging 23 points and 8 assists during his past five meetings.
- Bradley Beal’s name is coming up in a lot of Rudy Gay trade speculation as of late. Although I don’t think Beal is going anywhere, I asked Kevin Lipe of Straight Outta Vancouver to give us his take on the situation.
- Thomas Pruitt takes a look at how well John Wall and Bradley Beal will mesh.
- Well, that escalated quickly. Apparently, Bradley Beal’s agent has confirmed that the player will not be moved in any sort of trade. (THANK GOD!)
- I’d imagine that Jordan Crawford would be involved in the trade talks. Rumor has it that the Grizzlies want cash, a small forward, and a draft pick.
- Not much else going on in Wizards land, besides the Beal trade talk. Sorry.
John Wall is back, and so is the optimism. It sucks that the Wizards season opener came in January, but that’s what we’re going to have to live with.
Orlando has lost 9 of their last 10 games. Needless to say, they’re talent depleted. Granted, their only win comes against a top team, the LA Clippers, the Orlando Magic will find themselves in the lottery for the first time in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, the Wizards lack talent as well, but I can’t think of a team that has as many “Who’s that?” guys on their roster as the Orlando Magic.
Their lone bight spot comes from Nikola Vucevic (who?), who they received from Philadelphia in the deal that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Vucevic is averaging over 15 points and 14 rebounds during the past five games. He’s a candidate for the Most Improved Player award, and has shown a variety of skills in a Magic uniform. The Wizards are ranked sixth in the league in rebounds per game, with Nene and Emeka Okafor leading the big men down low. Vucevic isn’t the bulkiest player in the world, so I’d imagine that he’d have a tough time dealing with Emeka Okafor. Nene and Okafor seem to always get the best of the Orlando big men, and I won’t expect that to change tonight.
I can’t wait to tune into tonight’s game. Watching John Wall and Bradley Beal has been a treat.
I expect the Wizards to win their third straight game tonight, and by a pretty large margin.
On a side note, Wiz of Awes is looking for a few writers to add to the staff. If you may be interested, please message me on Twitter. (@BenAgent0)