In a lot of way, the 0-3 Washington Wizards are like the Milwaukee Bucks. They have a promising young point guard lingering outside the door of NBA stardom: John Wall. Wall won’t be playing in this game though — a left knee injury has him likely shelved until at least the end of November.
Most of their minutes at shooting guard are occupied by players — Bradley Beal and Jordan Crawford — who haven’t shot well at all this year. (In Crawford’s case, it’s a chronic, career-long condition. Gravy.) Crawford has a sore ankle — he is listed as questionable for tonight’s game and will likely be a game-time decision. Beal is a promising young rookie from the University of Florida who played terrifically against the Bucks’ Summer League team in July. He scored 16 points in his most recent game against Boston.
Both teams acquired veteran starting centers in the offseason — Samuel Dalembert and Emeka Okafor — who have underwhelmed in short-ish minutes to start this season. But at times, the two teams’ best players have often been the backup centers. For the Wiz, that player is Kevin Seraphin, who amazingly leads the team in total points after three games despite only playing in two of them and doing so from the bench.
Unlike Larry Sanders, though, Seraphin is both comfortable and proficient operating from the low post. A big key for the Bucks tonight is to limit the number of easy baskets that Seraphin and Trevor Booker get. If the Wizards get stuck in a perimeter-oriented offense, the end result will most likely be offensive (to the backs of the rims, mostly).
Wizards: A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Emeka Okafor
Bucks: Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tobias Harris, Ersan Ilyasova, Samuel Dalembert
A Quick Peek at Some Team-Based Metrics:
|Offense Four Factors||Defense Four Factors|
The Bucks are only 26th in the league in their free throws per field goal attempt ratio, but the Wizards are dead last in the NBA.
Milwaukee is surprisingly the 2nd-best defensive rebounding team, but a game against the Celtics may skew the numbers a bit. (They were a historically bad on the offensive glass last season, and this season is shaping up the same way.)
The biggest problem for the Bucks is that while they rank 9th in effective field goal percentage on offense, they are 25th on defense. Memphis got far too many easy looks on Wednesday. Fortunately, the Wizards aren’t marksmen by any stretch — they sit 27th in eFG% on offense. If the Bucks play their typical level of defense, and especially if they get it from their bench, then they should be able to trigger the type of 9-0 or 15-2 scoring outburst that often wins them games against the league’s weaker opponents.
The game will not be on local television in Milwaukee, but it will be available on radio (WTMJ 620 AM).