Here we have what appears to be one of the most lopsided matchups of the night. The Wizards haven’t exactly been killing it so far this season, but they’re 7-5, and they come into tonight’s game with the Kings as 11-point favorites at home. The Kings, meanwhile, are just 3-9 and are fresh off of a blowout loss at the hands of the Knicks over the weekend.
Washington shuffled the bench a little bit over the summer, but this is still largely the same cast of characters that has led the Wizards to the playoffs in three of the last four years. John Wall and Bradley Beal comprise one of the league’s most dynamic backcourts. Beal in particular has been incredibly solid so far this season. The 24-year-old is averaging a team-high 24.6 points, along with 4.6 rebounds and 3.3 assists.
The scary part about Beal’s start is that he’s not even shooting the ball as well as we’ve seen in the past. Beal is hitting about 37 percent of his three-pointers thus far, which would be the worst mark of his career if it were to continue for a full season. It’s safe to say that Beal’s shooting will only improve as the season progresses, which means he may well average better than 25 points per game by the time the season ends.
As for Wall, his numbers are down essentially across the board. He’s still been solid, but he hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. The former All-Star is still going for 20.3 points, 9.7 assists, and just under 4 rebounds per game. However, he’s shooting just 42 percent from the field and a putrid 26.3 percent from distance. As is the case with Beal, we can safely expect Wall to bring his numbers up and closer to norms as the year progresses.
The complementary pieces for Washington are the same, as well. Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Kelly Oubre will soak up most of the rotation minutes alongside Wall and Beal. Porter got off to a blazing individual start this season, but his numbers have cooled a bit since Morris returned from an injury last week.
As for the Kings, they’ve been something of a disaster this season. Sacramento made the choice to bring in a few seasoned veterans over the summer, including George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter. The Kings’ roster consists primarily of youngsters, so it made sense for the team to add some veteran leadership.
Unfortunately, with so many bodies in the fold, head coach Dave Joerger has essentially decided to run a huge rotation. There are a whopping 13 players on the roster averaging at least 12 minutes per game. With such an inconsistent rotation and with so many players requiring minutes, it’s been hard for the team to develop much rhythm or chemistry, hence the dismal 3-9 start.
One bright spot has been the play of rookie De’Aaron Fox, but he still manages to get lost in the shuffle. He’s playing backup minutes behind George Hill, which has made it hard for him to truly shine. The Kings have also gotten solid minutes out of fellow rookie Justin Jackson, but he’s just one of about six guards seeing ample rotation minutes.
These Kings are no strangers to getting crushed. Sacramento has already lost 5 games so far this season by 18 points or more, which is almost impressive. While I don’t necessarily think the Wizards covering this 11-point spread is a lock, it’s hard to imagine the Kings can stick close in this one.