Jordan Crawford heads back to Atlanta to play against the team that drafted him, while Chris Singleton returns home. He is from Canton, Georgia and played his senior season of high school at Dunwoody, right outside of Atlanta. As the Wizards prepare for game two on the season against the Hawks tonight, their first road game, we have three questions and three answers surrounding the two teams. TAI’s Rashad Mobley, Kyle Weidie, and Bret LaGree from the ESPN TrueHoop Hawks blog, Hoopinion… 3-on-3 is now…
1) Rashad Mobley: The Hawks lack a significant scoring threat off the bench, and Wizards are lacking a veteran presence in the back court to mentor/guide/spell John Wall. Jordan Crawford could be that bench threat for the Hawks, and Kirk Hinrich (when healthy) could play that role again for the Wizards. The draft pick part of the trade that brought Chris Singleton to D.C. notwithstanding, would Crawford and Hinrich be more effective on their old teams?
MOBLEY: Crawford is still trying to figure out how his skill-set fits in the NBA, so I don’t know if that clarity would have come in Atlanta. But I do know that on opening night, Wall struggled to lead the Wizards on offense, and Hinrich could have steadied the team a bit.
LaGREE, Hoopinion: I think Hinrich’s perimeter defense will give the Hawks more value this year than Crawford’s ability to create a huge number of low-efficiency shots. Any of Atlanta’s five starters should be able to lead/carry the second unit for short stretches, though it remains to be seen how creative Larry Drew will get with the rotation to hide the lack of bench scoring.
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.
D.C. vs. Philly…Back for more or back for revenge? BUT IT’S ONLY THE PRESEASON! Right, but with a long basketball hiatus and short opportunity to develop team cohesiveness, it’s an important preseason. So it’s Wizards versus Sixers Part II tonight on NBA TV at 7 pm (or if you’re local loyal, with Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier on Comcast SportsNet Washington – NOPE… here in D.C., NBA TV is blacked-out and the local Comcast is providing the Philly feed on their non-HD CSN+ channel — “Great”). Three questions… Three answers from Adam McGinnis, Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie… Time for some 3-on-3.
1) On Saturday after practice, Flip Saunders said facing Philadelphia again might be more ideal from a game-preparation standpoint, in knowing what the Sixers might do, but otherwise it doesn’t really matter. Yes, it’s just the preseason, but do you agree with Saunders? Or will the fact that the Wizards are playing the same team that embarrassed them on Friday sharpen their focus a bit more?
McGINNIS: On the surface, it should help them and heighten their concentration. In reality, Philadelphia is just a way better team than the Wizards right now. So any familiarity of knowing their plays is insignificant. After the dud that the Wizards dropped on Friday, this is more about them than the opponent they’re facing.
MOBLEY: I disagree with Flip, it does matter. I remember the competitiveness of John Wall during summer exhibition games (yes, I know it was just summer). If he missed a basket, he’d try his best to make a play on the other end. I expect him to have that attitude tonight, and hopefully his teammates will follow. Another bad loss for the Wizards going into the season opener next Monday would affect this young team’s confidence in a bad way.
The abbreviated 66-game schedule of the Washington Wizards was released on Tuesday evening (also listed at the bottom of this post). They start with the New Jersey Nets at home on December 26 and end at home against the Miami Heat on April 26. The four months in-between packs in a lot of action, and even more questions. Beckley Mason, John Townsend and Kyle Weidie answer three of them.
Q1: What stretch of games will pose the toughest challenge for the Wizards?
MASON: The March 13-21 road swing looks brutal. San Antonio, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta, Memphis, New Jersey… Mercy! Each team, besides perhaps New Jersey and New Orleans if they deal Chris Paul, should have a winning record. Given how weak the Wizards were on the road last year, it’s tough to imagine the Wizards emerging from that gauntlet with even their luggage intact.
TOWNSEND: The February road trip will be a challenge, an obvious choice given the Wizards won just three games away from home last season; though it might be worth noting that the 2010-11 Wizards won their first road game in February, a 115-110 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The Wizards are scheduled to play five road games in eight days: beginning in Detroit on February 12, followed by a back-to-back in Portland and Los Angeles (Clippers), and capped off with games in Utah and Phoenix.