The Washington Wizards will get a chance to meet the new-look Brooklyn Nets in their first preseason home game tomorrow afternoon at 7:00 PM EST. The game will be broadcasted nationally on NBATV.
Key Match Up:
We usually take a look at the point guard battle between John Wall and the opposing guard, but since Deron Williams isn’t expected to play in the Nets’ first two preseason games due to an injury sustained in the offseason, we’ll have to look elsewhere.
Thankfully we won’t have to look much further than the backcourt, since Bradley Beal will likely be matched up with Williams’ backcourt mate, Joe Johnson. Bradley Beal has reportedly looked great in training camp, so I’m definitely intrigued at how well he’ll play against the former All-Star. Both players are known for their offensive prowess, but during their meeting this past season, Johnson was able to take advantage of his size by scoring at will against Beal. Knowing his disadvantages, Beal put on a few pounds and even grew and inch or so over the summer, so we’ll get a first hand look at how he responds to Johnson’s ability to score.
Will Beal’s improved ball handling translate to the actual game? Although Johnson isn’t a lockdown defender, his size will allow him to pressure Beal into tough situations. I don’t expect him to play much during the exhibition game, but we’ll finally get the chance to witness “Bradley Beal 2.0“ tomorrow night against the Nets.
- Otto Porter and Trevor Booker won’t be available for tomorrow night’s match up. Booker is expected to return soon, while Porter will reportedly miss a few consecutive preseason games.
- Unless head coach Jason Kidd decides to rest the new acquisitions, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry will all make their official debuts as members of the Brooklyn Nets.
- Brooklyn is obviously expected to be an offensively oriented team, but they were already ranked amongst the top 10 in offensive efficiency this past season. Will their frontcourt tandem of All-star center, Brook Lopez and Kevin Garnett be able to produce on the opposite side of the floor, defensively?
- Who will start at both forward spots for the Wizards?
- How much time will Randy Wittman give Nene? Even though he’s healthy and isn’t expected to have any restrictions, it’s still a preseason game. Randy Wittman will have to decide whether or not to pull Nene out from the game after the first few minutes.
The notion that “it’s just a preseason game” doesn’t apply to the coaching staff and to some of the players on the roster, especially since this will be the only time both teams have to experiment with lineups without any consequences. Preseason isn’t really a place to focus on wins or losses, but it’ll give the coaching staff time to work with a number of the players on the team. For example, Josh Childress, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, and D’or Fischer will probably get plenty of time to audition for other teams around the league.
Jan Vesely and Washington’s other young forwards will play 20-30 minutes a game during preseason, so we’ll definitely get a chance to see some of their offseason improvements. Brooklyn isn’t expected to play their veterans a whole lot during preseason, and given the fact that Washington has 11 of 15 players returning from this past season, they should probably leave the game with a comfortable win.
The game tips off at 7:00 PM at the Verizon Center.