The Washington Wizards open the season at home versus the New Jersey Nets this evening. Seems weird that it’s already here. Even after all that lockout deliberation, it kind of crept up on me. It’s a quiet December 26 Monday in D.C., and that has something to do with it. But I’m now more realizing that tonight is like a starting gun, once this game is played there will be no looking back. Three questions from Adam McGinnis, new dad Rashad Mobley, and myself, Kyle Weidie… and three answers from those same people. This is 3-on-3… Leggo.
Adam McGinnis: Kris Humphries was noted as the most disliked player in the NBA by Forbes.com, and was booed relentlessly in his preseason debut at Madison Square Garden. How do you think Wizards fans will treat him in the season opener?
McGINNIS: Kim Kardashian’s well documented record of public manipulation should bring the brunt of public contempt on her, not a random NBA forward like Kris Humphries. However, Team Kardashian’s campaign to make Kim the victim and Humprhies the evil one is showing prosperous signs. J.J. Reddick, Lebron James and Kwame Brown are all opposing players that the Wizards home crowd loves to boo (sans Blatche of course); Humphries’s situation lacks the circumstance of those three, so I seeing Wiz fans ignoring his existence.
MOBLEY: Humphries will certainly be booed, but only because D.C. fans saw New York Knicks fans do it first. This, of course, is assuming tonight’s Verizon Center crowd will be large enough to summon that type of emotion.
WEIDIE: There might be faint smatterings, but I don’t think anyone cares much. Seems silly that the poll was not based in the opinion of true basketball fans, but I get it… Paparazzi-type B.S. Otherwise, I don’t think the demographics of basketball fans in D.C., as opposed to NYC, care much about the trials of the Kardashians. But what do I know?
Rashad Mobley: Given that the Nets are without Brook Lopez (out 6-8 weeks due to a broken foot), is it important for the Wizards to establish JaVale McGee and Andray Blatche in the post? Or is it more important to get Wall established, since he’s been struggling?
McGINNIS: The absence of Lopez makes pounding the rock inside to Blatche and McGee even more of a necessity. Wall will get his, and he showed flashes in the second preseason game of how he can deliver offensively. Allowing McGee and Blatche opportunities to flourish early will help install confidence in two players who have a history of shaky mental lapses, but who must produce this season in order for the Wizards to be competitive, or playoff contenders.
MOBLEY: It is more important to get the balI inside. I think John Wall is talented enough to snap out of his funk on his own. But if Blatche and McGee are exploiting the Lopez-less Nets in the post, and Deron Williams has to sag off Wall as a result, that’s a plus.
WEIDIE: Teams obviously, usually, aim to work from the inside-out. With the Wizards, this should be no different. However, you have to consider Wall part of the inside game sometimes, and his team will be served best whenever he’s getting past the first line of defense and into the paint. If getting Wall established means jumpers off a ball screen, then no, that is not the team’s first option. Blatche should be the first option. But if getting established means John celebrating assists in abundance to either player down low, then full speed ahead.
Kyle Weidie: Vegas (Bovada) has set the over/under on season wins for the Wizards at 19.5. Is this reasonable, and on which side would you hypothetically put your money?
McGINNIS: The line seems a tad low, but considering the Wizards’ recent dismal winning percentages, it will take substantial on court success before the Wise Guys take notice. I would wager on the over because betting against the squad you root for gives off a negative vibe, akin to putting chips on the Do Not Pass line of a craps table while your buddy is the shooter. I am rolling with Wizards.
MOBLEY: I would put my money on the over, although I still fully expect the Wizards to miss the playoffs. Judging by the brief, but consistent sample size of two preseason games I saw, it will take awhile for this team to hit its stride. Still, I expect them to hit it late in the season and squeeze out 21 victories.
WEIDIE: Who am I to question Vegas reason? I made a brief last-minute appearance on DC’s 106.7 The Fan late on Christmas night and was feeling in the spirit. I took the over, but not with a ton of confidence. It’s going to be ugly in the early going, but that will be the case for a lot of teams. Kobe Bryant had eight turnovers yesterday, Wall’s struggles giving the ball away may be worse at the onset. But what John does have is competitiveness, even in losing. I think that will continue to be contagious to most teammates, so I’m not ready to start betting against the kid. Over.