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Wizards at Heat Pregame: A Battle Of The Benches

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Preseason Game 6

Washington (4-1) at Miami (3-3)

October 21, 2015 at 8:00 PM
AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

March 6, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC – Wizards 99, Heat 97
Game Notebook 62


What to Watch:

John Wall maintaining point GAWD status regardless of how foolish NBA GM’s are.

First it was this madness: GM’s excluding John Wall from the list of best point guards in the league.

THEN this pile of hot shit: NOT EVEN A TOP 5 PASSER!?

Sigh. This all just looks like a Colin Cowherd hack job.

I guess this is just another bullet added to the “notes” app in John Wall’s cell phone. Remember he admitted to keeping tabs of all the criticism and disrespect he hears, using them as fuel and motivation.

Per Jorge Castillo from September 2014, Wall was quoted:

“I’m one of the most complete point guards in the league. I rebound, I assist, play defense, steal, score. I don’t get why I’m overlooked. I’m still trying to figure it out.”

The world is absorbed by injustices, and the persistent, unwarranted slighting of John Wall ranks up there with many of them. Okay, you’re right maybe not with the injustices of the WORLD world, but certainly the world of basketball, and perhaps the world of sports in general. Where does it come from? What about Wall triggers the minds of the NBA brass and media to perpetually exclude him from the conversation? How mad should we be? It’s hurtful to see John garner so much disrespect without any real cause, but it’s laughable at the same time in knowing how belligerently wrong these idiots are.

Wall will certainly take heed of this latest edition of sacrilege, if he hasn’t done so already. My guess/hope is that his revolt against the naysayers begins tonight.


Key matchup:

Battle of the Benches

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I called the Wizards one of the deepest teams in the league in my “Morning Wiz” post from earlier today. With a refined offensive methodology, the continuing growth of John Wall as an elite point guard helping those around him perform at peak levels, and a deeeeep squadron of shooters, the Wizards have developed some newfound consistency on the floor with a number of different lineups. And two of the more valuable contingents of the second unit haven’t even played yet!

Here’s how productive some of these guys have been:

Drew Gooden (4 games): 9.3 PTS, 4.8 REB, 8-19 3PT
Dejuan Blair (3 games): 13 PTS 8.3 REB, still 0 ACLs
Gary Neal (5 games): 10.4 PTS, 8-14 3PT
Ramon Sessions (5 games): 8.2 PTS, 6.8 AST, *2 games with double-digit assists

These guys along with spurts of Nene (based on health) and Kelly Oubre (based on playing time/development) shape the Wizards into a fortifying bench unit, a factor that should certainly propel the Wizards to new heights.

The Miami Heat bring in a bench unit that is quite similar in strength. Their newly acquired 6th man, Gerald Green, has been averaging 15 points a contest in the preseason and shooting just around 38% from downtown. His presence is accompanied by Rasual Butler’s murderer James Ennis, a refurbished Amar’e Stoudamire, Mario Chalmers, O.G. Udonis Haslem, rookie Justise with an S Winslow, and Chris Andersen- whom we last saw on TV offering a forgettable cameo in the show “Ballers”.



X-factor:

Kelly Oubre, also known as the #shh factor.

Kelly hasn’t had the most delightful start to his NBA career here in the preseason. He went 2-12 against the Bucks. Went 0-7 against the Knicks. Often times he seems a little adrift on offense when moving around with the ball, however, he does have very good instincts once the ball is in his hand. Kelly shows much interest in driving the lane and overpowering his defender at the rim and he’s not very shy shooting the ball. Oubre’s immediate goal is to be the reliever of Wall and Beal. He wants to handle the rock and make plays. The key here in this dry rehearsal phase of the season where mistakes are tolerated is to let Kelly continue to make those mistakes so long as he’s proving to learn from them. The minutes he’s earning here in the preseason (roughly 25 a game) won’t be available to him for most of the season, especially when Jared Dudley and Alan Anderson return to the lineup. I’d like to see Wittman try squeezing out as much of Oubre in these final two preseason games, with hopes that it’ll serve as a continuous learning curve that he can benefit and learn from once his playing time does count.


Fun factor:

Will Hassan Whiteside’s fine total eclipse his yearly salary?

Homeboy Hassan might be working on elevating his 2K rating with every block or rebound he makes, but he might not want to get too absorbed with that act of self-fulfillment. Not when he’s got a salary under a million bucks and the inability to control his emotions on the court. Whiteside makes roughly $770K a season with the Heat, and his total in NBA fines totaled nearly $50,000 last season.

In Whiteside’s last matchup against the Wizards, he was benched by Erik Spoelstra, left to pout throughout most of the game. This could have very well been factored in by Gortat (14 pt-17 reb-2 blk) and Nene’s (20 pts) dominance that night.

Also fun, this:

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Prediction:

Wizards win the battle of the starters, and the battle of the benches. John Wall shines. GM’s punch themselves in the dick. Wizards win the game.

we are Hoop District

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