Washington Wizards Status Check:
Home Record: 6-7
Last game: Beat the Bobcats 108-75
Last 10 Games: 2-8
PPG: 97.5 (18th)
Opponents PPG: 104.2 (23rd)
Offensive Rating: 103.2 (25th)
Defensive Rating: 110.2 (25th)
Pace: 93.4 (30th)
Effective Field Goal Percentage: .478 (25th)
Turnover Percentage: .149 (27th)
Defensive Rebound Percentage: .679 (30th)
Offensive Rebound Percentage: .278 (9th)
Free Throws Per Field Goal Attempt: .228 (18th)
Opp. eFG%: .515 (25th)
Opp. TO%: .152 (4th)
Opp. FT/FGA: .260 (24th)
Stats from Basketball-Reference.com.
The Wizards haven’t been good for a while. Their fortunes were supposed to change when they won the 2010 NBA Draft Lottery and used the first overall pick to select John Wall from Kentucky. Unfortunately for the Wizards, Wall has been limited to only 15 games this season and is out indefinitely due to a bone bruise below his right knee.
What’s more, Washington is a team in transition, having recently shipped Gilbert Arenas to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Rashard Lewis. Of course, Lewis is in the middle of a career crash and burn. His PPG (12.2) and field goal percentages (41.9 overall and 36.7 from downtown) are hovering near career lows. And that’s pretty much why the Magic were willing to let him go.
Anyway, with Wall out and Arenas gone, Nick Young has become the focal point of Washington’s offense. Michael Lee of Wizards Insider writes: “In the past two games since Arenas was dealt, Young has been the last Wizards called and scored 51 points, including a season-high 30 against Miami in the first game. Coach Flip Saunders describes Young as a ‘bad shot maker’ since he always seems to fade or lean on jumpers, and takes several more while contested. But teams have to pay him attention.”
As for the Bulls, they’re coming off their biggest win of the season, a 121-76 thrashing of the Philadelphia 76ers. For the Bulls — who are without Joakim Noah (right thumb surgery) and might not have Taj Gibson (concussion) — frontcourt depth is looking extremely limited. Although that could change.
According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, the Suns have waived center Earl Barron. And Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD writes that both the Bulls and Knicks have expressed interest in Barron. Although he had been playing a very limited role in Phoenix, Barron’s Per 36 Minute averages of 7.1 PPG and 7.9 RPG were decent for a backup big man. At the very least, it would provide a little extra insurance past Kurt Thomas and Omer Asik.
That said, the Bulls will need to come out with intensity. The Wizards have had a couple days off and the Bulls played at home last night and then had to fly to Washington for tonight’s game. Fortunately, blowing out the Sixers allowed Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau to rest his starters. Derrick Rose, for instance, logged only 29 minutes and Carlos Boozer played only 30 minutes. So everybody should be reasonably fresh.
In all honesty, the Chicago players need to take advantage of the fact that the Wiz are bad at both ends of the court. If the Bulls are going to be as good as everybody thinks they can be, beating bad teams on the road on the second night of back-to-backs would be a good sign of their forward progression.