Jan 20, 2012; Washington , DC, USA; Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson (3) is defended by Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) and guard Nick Young (1) during the second half at the Verizon Center. The Nuggets defeated the Wizards 108 - 104. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards At Nuggets Preview (1/18/13)


After losing in heartbreaking fashion in Sacramento, the Washington Wizards will continue their West Coast road trip tonight against the Denver Nuggets. Sporting only one road victory on the season, it doesn’t get any easier tonight, as the Nuggets have only lost 2 games at the Pepsi Center.

Key Match Up

John Wall had his first double double of the season against Sacramento, scoring 14 points and dishing out 10 assists. Above all, he looked aggressive and got guys involved every chance he got. His unselfishness has really started to rub off on the rest of the group. John Wall repeatedly found Bradley Beal, who hit six out of seven threes on Wednesday night, wide open at the three point arc. Wall’s confidence and swagger was much needed at this difficult time in Washington. Despite his two missed free throws which could’ve won Washington the game in Sacramento, Wall has looked very good in his return.

In my opinion, John Wall is the fastest player in the NBA. The only player I could think of which may be quicker than Wall, is Denver Nuggets guard, Ty Lawson. At 5’11, Ty Lawson’s lack of height is made up with his unique ability to use his speed and quickness. Lawson has a reputation of being a scorer, but he has averaged a career high 6.8 assists per game this season. With Danilo Gallinari and Andre Iguodala both on the floor, Lawson does have a few adequate passing options. It also doesn’t hurt having Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee run the floor in transition. As a result, the Denver Nuggets are a top 5 team in terms of pace.

Other Links/Notes

Prediction

This is the first time both JaVale McGee and Nene will have a shot a beating their former team since their departure. When asked about his thoughts on returning to Denver, Nene said;

Definitely going to be emotion. Play here almost 10 years. For sure,” said Nene, who averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds in 91 / 2 years with the Nuggets. I’m going to try to have fun, enjoy the game and play hard

After signing a large contract, Nene expected to finish his career on a perennial playoff team. Needless to say, his whole career and life changed when he was traded to the struggling Wizards for JaVale McGee. As for McGee, he was due for a contract extension. I think it’s safe to say that McGee didn’t deserve the type of contract he was going to get, and it consequently landed him in Denver. Washington is known for making terrible, lopsided trades, but I don’t think this one falls into that category. Unlike McGee, Nene is an established center, who is one of the most classy guys in the league. Nene helped turn the same culture around in D.C, in which JaVale McGee helped build into ‘Clown City’.

Despite their lack of a superstar, the Denver Nuggets are an exceptional basketball team. With Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari, and Andre Iguodala leading the crew, the Nuggets are ranked fifth in points per game. Their athletic duo of JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried have propelled them to the second best rebounding team in the league. The Wizards on the other hand, don’t stand out in virtually any category.

With that said, it’ll be very tough to beat a Nuggets team who do a very good job at winning games at home. The Wizards are the worst road team in the NBA, but they do have some advantages. Washington does present a bit of a challenge in the low post, as Nene will surely have his way with any of the Nuggets big men. I realize that George Karl and the rest of the Nuggets coaching staff is well prepared for Nene, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they can stop him. With Bradley Beal coming off his best game of his young career on Wednesday, he’ll look to continue his recent success against Denver.

At this point, it’s about more than just wins and losses. It’s about watching the progression and connection between John Wall and Bradley Beal. It’s about seeing how well the Wizards can develop on both ends of the floor. Are they progressing every night? Are they competing? Those are the types of things, as Wizards fans, we look out for.

In my opinion, the only realistic shot Washington had of picking up a road win on this West Coast trip was against Sacramento.

I think they’ll fight, but end up losing in very familiar fashion.

Tags: Denver Nuggets Washington Wizards