February 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) dribbles the ball past Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas (22) in the second half at Verizon Center. The Kings won 115-107. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards At Kings Preview (1/16/13)

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For the first time since April of last year, the Washington Wizards have a chance to pick up their fourth straight victory. Washington is sporting only one road victory this season, but they have a legitimate shot at beating the Kings in Sacramento tonight.

Key Match Up

Ever since he returned, John Wall has been a breath of fresh air in Washington. Prior to his return, the Wizards appeared disinterested in playing and showed very little effort on the floor. Wall has emerged as a leader throughout this turbulent season, and has sparked a resurgence in Washington’s lowly season. The Wizards don’t have to rely on half court basketball as much, as John Wall looks to push the ball in transition on every chance he gets. Players such as Jan Vesely, who looked completely out of sync in the Wizards’ offense, is now involved on both sides of the floor. His highlight plays, such as this ridiculous ankle breaker on Ish Smith, has made the Wizards play with a little extra pep in their step. For the first time, in a long time, John Wall has made the Wizards look like a competent basketball team.

On the other hand, the Sacramento Kings had lost four straight games prior to their victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. Like Wall, Tyreke Evans has been dealing with his own injury problems, which caused him to miss a large portion of the season already. Evans, who won the NBA Rookie of the Year award a few years ago, was expected to have a break out season. Needless to say, he’s disappointed the majority of Kings fans. His jump shot, though improved, is still inconsistent and considered streaky throughout the league. His ability to get to the basket is without a doubt his greatest asset. At 6’6, Tyreke Evans is matched up with John Wall very well tonight. Evans has played multiple positions throughout his career, so we’ll have to see if John Wall ends up defending Evans. Nevertheless, this match up has potential to be a very fun battle between the two.

Other Links/Notes

  • Wiz of Awes is looking for more writers. If your interested, feel free to message me or any of the other staff members on Twitter.
  • John Wall spoke about playing against his old Kentucky teammate, DeMarcus Cousins. I wouldn’t mind seeing that guy in a Washington Wizards uniform.
  • John C. Townsend of TruthAboutIt, had a chance to catch up with Bradley Beal. I find it interesting that Beal has been studying ‘D-Wade’. His new found aggressiveness makes that very obvious.
  • Aaron Brooks is listed as ‘day to day’ for the Kings. His return is questionable.
  • Washington will most likely be playing without Trevor Booker or Cartier Martin. Man, Book really can’t catch a break. Jordan Crawford is also unlikely to play tonight.

Prediction

If the Wizards, who are the worst road team in the league, are looking to pick up a road win, Sacramento would be a great place to start. The Sacramento Kings have the worst attendance rate in the NBA, but rumors involving relocation has had some fans coming back to watch their Kings play. Needless to say, the Kings have been a mess as of late.

The Kings, unlike many teams stuck at the bottom of the barrel, do have talent on their roster. Their problem consists of not knowing how to develop and use their talent in sync. Sacramento is the worst defensive team in the NBA, and they can’t afford to play lackadaisical defense against Washington tonight. The Wizards have been improving very steadily on the offensive end, and with the return of Wall, their offense will continue to progress in the right direction.

Sacramento does have a handful of players such as Isaiah Thomas, Tyreke Evans, and Jimmer Freddette, who make a paycheck from putting the ball in the basket. Basically, scoring is their only forte. Sacramento is filled with players who can create their own shot, but struggle to get their teammates involved. To be honest, they sort of remind me of the 2010 Washington Wizards. They have the talent which is necessary for success, but they do lack the brains on occasion.

One thing Sacramento doesn’t lack though, is a great center. DeMarcus Cousins, who has been the subject of many trade rumors, is one of the most talented big men in the NBA. His ability to bang in the post and even hit the occasional mid range jumper, has been the main reason Cousins is averaging over 17 points and 10 rebounds per game this season. He’ll have a tough time dealing with Emeka Okafor, who scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in Washington’s impressive victory against Orlando on Monday night. Okafor is no push over. I expect him to make Cousins settle for the long jump shot, just as Nene did with Josh Smith a few nights ago.

The Wizards have all the momentum on their side. It’s going to be tough for them to win on their current west coast road trip, so coming prepared tonight is very important. With that said, I expect the Wizards to win their forth straight game tonight.

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Tags: Sacramento Kings Washington Wizards

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