Washington Wizards 2019-2020 Season Preview: New York Knicks

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura Bradley Beal Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura Bradley Beal Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images) /

How will the Washington Wizards fare against former teammate Bobby Portis and the revamped New York Knicks?

Washington’s record against New York last season: 3-1

New York lost: Lance Thomas, Emmanuel Mudiay, Luke Kornet, Mario Hezonja, Trey Burke, Noah Vonleh, DeAndre Jordan

New York added: Elfrid Payton, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington

The New York Knicks are one of many teams to have a roster almost entirely filled with new faces headed into the 2019-2020 season. They had high expectations ahead of free agency and cleared over $70-million in cap space with their eyes on Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Things didn’t go as planned, which seems to be the norm in New York, and they ended up signing a band of NBA journeyman. Talent assuredly, but just not to the same level as they expected.

Among their signings, the Knicks picked up former Wizards forward Bobby Portis on a two-year deal worth $31 million. He arrived in Washington last year at the trade deadline and played a monster second half of the season only to walk away in the offseason.

It will be interesting to see how Portis is received by his former teammates, even if it was only temporary. Also, how will Portis respond when playing against his former team, even if it was a short stint. Are we in for a revenge game?

More interesting will be how Washington schemes to guard the big man.

Wizards to Watch

The player to watch could very well be Thomas Bryant.

His matchup with Mitchell Robinson will play a pivotal role in each game’s narrative. Robinson is lengthier than Bryant and has made a name for himself as an elite up and coming rim protector. However, he’s not nearly as efficient on the offensive end as Bryant is. While Robinson been seen working on his three-point shot, the Wizards’ own big man already has one.

He’s not as reliable as a wide-open Stephen Curry, but he can knock one down every now and then.

In addition to Bryant, the bench as a whole will play a large role in any matchup with the Knicks. Washington’s roster isn’t barren, but it’s slim pickings in terms of ready-now talent, especially when you start looking at their second unit. The Knicks may not have a superstar, but they’re solid and have impressive depth.

The Wizards would undoubtedly be happy to have any of the five men playing in New York’s second unit. In the same sense,  the Knicks would likely sell the farm to have Bradley Beal.

Once Washington’s All-Star is off the floor, it’ll be up to the bench unit to maintain the groove of the game; whether that’s a 15-point lead or 15-point deficit.  It’s unclear right now who will be the sixth man on this Wizards’ roster, but for now, there are bigger problems.

Game Predictions

December 23rd, 2019: Wizards visit Knicks amidst four-game road trip

After two preseason games, Washington and New York won’t play until Christmas week.

By December, the identity of this roster should be taking shape. The Wizards will be in full stride, with 28 games under their belts. And New York, well, it’s likely they’ll still be working out kinks in with their new cast of characters.

Washington gets an important third win of their four-game road trip, providing an early Christmas present for Wizards fans everywhere.

December 28th, 2019: New York Knicks come to town

Immediately following Christmas, the Knicks will make the trip up to D.C. to play the second of four matchups against the Wizards. The second verse should play out the same as the first.

Washington will win game two and be on the right foot headed into 2020.

February 8th, 2020: Wizards, Knicks square off in Madison Square Garden

The vibe ahead of this third game is likely different than the previous two. Both teams will be fresh off of the All-Star break and preparing for trade deadline chaos. There’s a 60/40 chance that Beal will be on the Wizards at this point in time, and the same can be said for half of the Knicks.

Even if the Wizards don’t trade Beal, there’s a strong chance he’s disgruntled by the inevitable rumors that have surrounded the team. Furthermore, one’s left to wonder what the state of the locker room could be amidst a time like that.

Smart money says to take the Knicks, at home for a big February win over the Wizards.

Next. Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Preview: Toronto Raptors. dark

March 10th, 2020: Washington hosts New York in final season matchup

The Wizards will be a tough team by the end of the season. Whether by trial or by trade, or relentlessness that’s pulled them through and together to the end of the year.

New York will be focusing on their young prospects and playing them for most of the team’s final games. Washington captures a home win here over the Knicks.