The Wizards roll into Houston tonight to face the Rockets fresh off their 7 game streak getting snapped. The Wizards enter tonight’s game with a recent change on their squad too. Washington fired Flip Saunders earlier this week amidst their 2-15 start. Washington sits at 3-15 with Randy Whittman winning his debut as the Wizards coach over the Charlotte Bobcats 92-75. Interestingly enough Washington also failed to pick Javale McGee’s option which begs the question as to whether or not Ted Leonsis is going to fully commit to his initial philosophy when he bought the Washington Wizards, that being to go ahead and burn it to the ground and build through the draft. Currently the Wizards employ the BOYD (Bring Out Your Dead) strategy in which they acquire draft picks and eat bad contracts for cap space to turn it around later. Enough about the Wizards, let’s focus on the Rockets. The Rockets have declined options on all of their 09 players and they have subsequently disappeared from the lineup. This is of course after only one game but I am confident in my stance that they have been exiled to Corpus Christi after their options were declined.
Kyle Lowry v. John Wall
It’s sacrilege to say that anyone could even be on Kyle Lowry’s level these days and don’t expect me to be the one that goes ahead and says it. Kyle Lowry has been playing great. He does everything you ask of a point guard, dishing the ball and rebounding when his shot isn’t dropping. Every night he’s a triple double threat, which is fantastic. John is having a year in flux and has regressed a little since his rookie season. I have faith he’ll right the shit, under Flip Saunders Washington was a sad sight. His turnovers are up but against the Rockets last time he almost dropped us. We have a tendency of letting teams and players run wild on us
Kevin Martin v. Nick Young
Kevin Martin has honestly started to get his game back together and the Rockets are noticing it. He’s rebounding to help atone for his down scoring numbers and even starting to get into passing lanes recording regular steals in every game. These steals aren’t other players deflecting and doing the work, either, they’re him actually picking them, which is wonderful. The downside is he’s actively putting his team in bad places or wasting possessions when the whistle doesn’t get blown or he can’t just run past his man on offense he has always been a first step or spot up guy. Nick Young is a volume shooter but if he’s anything, he’s effective. He’s putting up 16 points per game and is a man who offenses consistently have to account for. I’m surprised he hasn’t been lagging given he’s on a qualifying offer this year but he’s essentially a duplicate of Kevin Martin only trading some efficiency for the ability to make his own offense.
[Note by Xiane, 01/27/12 12:36 PM CST ] Looks like Courtney Lee may get the start tonight in place of Martin, who is contending with plantar fasciitis. Lee will do fine, but this particular injury worries me a lot with Martin. I expect he'll be in and out of lineups for the foreseeable future.
Chandler Parsons v. Rashard Lewis
Parsons has replaced Chase Budinger as The Great White Hope and inexplicably Budinger hasn’t fallen out of the lineup with Williams actually contributing in the minutes he got but I don’t pretend to know the inner workings of this franchise. All I know is Chandler Parsons makes me happy on the inside with his rebounding, effort, and hustle. The team looks inspired when he’s on the floor and he’s 6’10", which is helpful to bother any SF in this league. He faces off against another 6’10" forward in Rashard Lewis’s corpse. Lewis logged 23 minutes in his first game under Whittman along with a starting spot (Hence the reason he is here in the preview). Lewis’s shot, rebounding, and relevancy departed with him at the beginning of this season to the point that I’m going to be ballsy here.
Luis Scola v. Andray Blatche
Luis Scola has been logging way too many minutes and his production is suffering. Last season’s knee surgery really did spell the beginning of the end, in my eyes. Agile PFs who are willing to draw him out of the paint because closing out is not something he’s a fan of regularly abuse him. He’s still crafty and able to confuse his defenders but there comes a point where you have to question what his productivity can be with rim protectors around, which he also benefits from. Andray Blatche has come back from injury and has been productive and steadfast in production. I think he’ll see the most improvement of a non-John Wall Wizard from the coaching change. He likes his mid to long range jumper and it’s not really his game but if you leave him open, he’ll stand a good chance of knocking the mid down. He’s better fit for a post-player and he’s been using his skills wisely this season. I think he’s terrified of not being in Washington.
Samuel Dalembert v. Javale McGee
I look forward to this battle. Dalembert has the strength, experience, and discipline, McGee has the fire, the youth, and seems to be putting it all together. McGee averages one more block per game than Sammy and across the board McGee has better base stats (Rebounds, points, and blocks). I think in regards to this game my focus will be on strength. McGee’s athleticism can be kept in check by Sam’s strength and Javale has a tendency to get frustrated with centers who can be dominant defensively. At the end of the day I think this one will be close.
Wizards: Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin, Shelvin Mack, Jordan Crawford, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker
Rockets: Courtney Lee, Goran Dragic, Patrick Patterson, Jordan Hill (Maybe)
Advantage: Wizards. Sorry, but you don’t get credit for players you don’t put on the floor, so Jordan doesn’t get weight in this scenario.
Prediction: Rockets 108 Wizards 104 I sincerely want the Rockets to win here but I can see dropping one off the Bucks hangover and handing one over to a Wizards team that has a new coach and a new lease on life.
Don't forget to post your game prediction here for Chuck's (That's right, I reduced it from the abbreviation) fantasy game thread. Remember, the more you guess wrong, the higher up I go in the standings!
Bullets Forever (SBNation Washington, great community, great writers, educate yourself cause they have a lot to share)