3 things to watch for in Milwaukee Bucks vs rebuilding Washington Wizards

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 01 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 01 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Kristaps Porzingis
Mar 19, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

After thoroughly dominating a division rival in their last game, the Milwaukee Bucks are sticking around at home to take on the abysmal Washington Wizards.

When I say abysmal, I mean they really are not very good. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and are 7-20 since January 19th with the league’s fifth-worst net rating (minus-6.2) in that span. Aside from their penultimate game against the Detroit Pistons, this is the Bucks’ easiest game down the stretch.

Milwaukee is actually 1-1 against Washington this season but is one of the 20 losses that they’ve suffered since January 19th. There’s no Bradley Beal for the Wizards and potentially no Kyle Kuzma.

Kristaps Porzingis is the Washington Wizards’ biggest offensive threat

Without Beal, the Wizards have a tough time generating offense and now that burden has fallen squarely onto the shoulders of Kristaps Porzingis.

He’s played in eight games for the Wizards since coming over in a trade from the Dallas Mavericks and has been… fine? He’s averaging 20.8 points on 62.3 percent true shooting, 7.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game in just over 26 minutes a night.

He profiles as someone who should be able to hurt the Bucks because of his shooting prowess and the Bucks’ penchant for giving up open 3s to pick-and-pop bigs. In his career against them, he’s shot nearly 40 percent from deep on 56 attempts, so it’s partially true.

However, the big Latvian has struggled a ton from outside this season. Although his true shooting is very nice and sparkly it is despite him shooting 30 percent from 3 with the Wizards. That’s actually an improvement on the 28 percent he was shooting with the Mavs earlier this season too!

The difference is that he’s taking over one fewer 3 per game and getting to the line for nearly three more attempts a game as a Wizards, thus leading to the 62 percent true shooting percentage.

Hey, maybe Porzingis finds his touch for this game but he’s also only shot over 35 percent from 3 in a game 13 times out of his 42 games played. If he’s content to bang around inside, then he’s going to be in for a rough one against Brook Lopez, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Serge Ibaka.

Milwaukee will let him take 3s, it will be up to Porzingis if he wants to take them or focus on what has been working for him with the Wizards so far.