The Brooklyn Nets are coming off one of their most improbable wins of the season by beating the Pacers with just 8 healthy players. Now, they head to Washington - healthy - to take on a Wizards team that has lost 6 games in a row.
Bradley Beal won’t play in this one, but the Wizards two All-Star-type players in Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Kuzma who are both putting up career-type of numbers this season.
The Wizards aren’t very good (right now) but they aren’t any easy out by any means.
WHO: Brooklyn Nets (16-12) at Washington Wizards (11-17)
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. est
WHERE: YES Network (tv and app), WFAN-FM (radio)
The cycle of death and re-birth of NBA hype happens at warp speed. It’s been eons since Knicks fans were infuriated with drafting some Latvian guy before growing enamored with him. Even the Luka + KP era of Dallas basketball is old, old news. So now Porzingis, just 27, is on a Wizards team made to be forgotten in NBA history books. But the movement skills he has at 7’3”, even after constant injuries, combined with his shooting touch makes him a special watch. Add in excellent defense around the basket, specifically in drop coverage, and Porzingis should be an All-Star this year. Really. It’s just that most of us haven’t been paying attention.
Kyle Kuzma will likely fall short on All-Star ballots this season, but he’s been Washington’s other bright spot; fitting, then, that rumors of a trade request have started floating about. Kuzma is averaging 21 points a game this season while shooting just 33% from deep, although sniping it lately (13 for his last 24). If Brooklyn doesn’t treat him with the proper respect, they’ll be in a shoot-out with a 6’9” wing who has no conscience, who’s improved his two-point scoring and foul-drawing. Not ideal.
If Nic Claxton is in, his matchup with Porzingis should be fun. If not, I expect to see extended minutes with Kevin Durant playing the five and more than a few with Day’Ron Sharpe coming off his 20/13 game in Indy.
For more on the Wizards, check out Bullets Forever.