When: Friday, March 10th, 7:30 pm PST
Where: Golden 1 Center, CSN-CA, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
John Wall: The Wizards point guard is having the most successful season of his 7-year career in his individual stats as well as his team’s success. Optimus Dime is not only average a league second-best in assists with 10.9 per game, but he’s also averaging a career-high 22.7 point per game. Wall is incredibly quick and will always attempt to drive the ball and either score an easy layup, draw a foul, or dish the ball to open open teammate on the perimeter. Defenders are always most successful with him when they keep him out of the paint as one of his few weaknesses is outside shooting. On the year, he’s shooting a below-average 31% from beyond the arc as well as 35% from 10-16 feet.
Bradley Beal: Alongside John Wall, the Wizards young shooting guard (he’s only 51 days older than Willie Cauley-Stein and less than 6 months older than Buddy Hield) is also having a career year. After missing an average of 20 games per season in his first four years, Beal has seemingly found his health as he’s played in 58 of 62 possible games so far. The ability to establish a rhythm has clearly pushed Beal to another level as he’s shooting a scorching 40% from 3 point range on an insane 7.2 attempts per game. The Kings struggle to contain opposing shooting guards and the three point line, so Bradley Beal is most likely to feast on the young guns. The game plan against Beal should be the exact opposite as the strategy against Wall. The Kings should be doing whatever they can to push him toward the hoop and away from the perimeter.
What to Watch For:
The rooks: It’s a well-known fact that the Kings season is completely over. Dave Joerger has done a good job of developing the young guns while not exposing them to too much pressure and we should expect that to continue tonight. The Wizards feature a strong starting front court of Otto Porter, Markieff Morris, and Marcin Gortat, so while I expect a good amount of playing time for the kiddos, starting will be unlikely.
Although Washington did bolster their bench at the deadline by acquiring Bojan Bogdanovic and Brandon Jennings, the Kings rookies should be able to flex their muscles when facing the second unit. Buddy Hield should not only continue to look for his shot and avoid careless turnovers, but hopefully he’s looking for a revenge game as his worst performance of the season was against the Wizards back in late January. He scored 0 points on 0/5 FG with 2 rebounds and 2 turnovers. Of course, Kings fans should also be looking forward to another show being put on by Skal Labissiere. His rim-protection and fluid offensive skill set will be on full display tonight.
Dave Joerger continues his limited leash with the rookies and each of them plays well, although under 20 minutes. Buddy Hield’s scoring just about equals his minutes played and Skal Labissiere dazzles yet again.
The Kings veterans continue to help out by performing worse than the new guys and the Kings lose 106 - 96.