Regular season game #2
Philadelphia 76ers (1-0) at Washington Wizards (0-1)
November 1, 2013
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 106.7FM The Fan
Projected starting lineups:
C- Nene (if injured, expect Gortat to slide into this spot)
PF- Trevor Booker (if Nene plays, Gortat starting PF makes too much sense to actually happen)
SF- Trevor Ariza – SG- Bradley Beal – PG- John Wall
C- Spencer Hawes, PF- Thaddeus Young, SF- Evan Turner, SG- James Anderson, PG- Michael Carter-Williams
John Wall v. Michael Carter-Williams
Let’s be honest. We all thought John Wall was going to come out looking like he had something to prove. He did look like he was trying to prove he could shoot the ball, and well, he didn’t prove it. There were some highlights in Wall’s game, namely the 11 dimes he dished out. He also scored 20 points. However, he shot 38% from the field and only had two rebounds in a game where Washington needed some help on the glass. Lastly, he gave up 19 points to Will Bynum, most of them at inopportune moments of the game. In hindsight, he did start aggressively attacking the hoop later in the contest, which should be his blueprint for tonight.
Tonight he goes up against a rookie who arguably had a better statistical game than John Wall has ever had his whole career. Then again, a similar performance hasn’t been accomplished in the last thirty years. Carter Williams, who posted a 22-7-12-9 (pts-asts-rebs-stls) game against the vaunted Miami Heat, looks to show the world that the ensuing hype is real. Wall and Carter-Williams hold many similarities in their game. Their heights don’t prototypically fit the point guard position at 6’4 and 6’6 respectively. Both are not known as great shooters but are a nightmare for opposing defenses in the open-court.
Trevor Ariza. Who exactly is Trevor Ariza? I would ask Randy Wittman but based on his Otto Porter response, he doesn’t seem to know anybody. Trevor Ariza is a very likable, but somewhat confusing player. Some remember Trevor Ariza as the clutch, play-making and momentum changing defensive stopper that made big plays for the Lakers. Others know him as the horribly inefficient player for the Rockets and Hornets that compiled one of the worst shooting seasons ever.
As a Wizard, Ariza has been a mixed bag. He was outplayed by Martell Webster last year for the starting spot, but played well off the bench after the All-Star break. Defensively, he has prided himself on taking on the best player from the opposing team, if that player is a 4, 3, or even a 2. We were all a little confused when he “won” the starting spot in the offseason, but guess who showed up big on opening night? Ariza displayed his vintage 2008-2009 stroke from downtown against the Pistons and kept the Wizards within striking distance all game. Ironically, when Webster and Ariza play at the same time for the Wizards, it’s the best feasible lineup they can offensively have. That combination in the lineup outscores opponents by 11.9 points per 100 possessions. My point is, Trevor Ariza might be more important than we initially thought. If Martell Webster can recreate last year’s magic from his bench role, and get the consistent production from Ariza, then they basically hit the jackpot twice.
Tonight we will see one of three things from Trevor Ariza. Either he dominates like he did the last time around, has a somewhat productive game, or he is utterly inefficient and painful to watch. What’s your money on? Who exactly is Trevor Ariza?