The Wizards have been awful this season. They’ve lost all eight of their games, half of them by 18 or more. John Wall’s shooting percentages have dipped across the board. Rashard Lewis may or may not have had an altercation with assistant coach Sam Cassell. Flip Saunders may or may not be on the hotseat. One thing we know for sure: this team ruined its owner’s birthday. For shame.
Does this feel like a trap game to anyone else?
By almost any statistical measure, Jose Calderon is outperforming John Wall this season. Calderon is, against all odds, having the best season of his career. The numbers are ridiculous, but you probably already know them. Wall is, against all odds, experiencing a bit of a sophomore slump. Going into this season, he was supposed to break out. He was finally healthy and wanted to face the guys who took advantage of him when injured. He had worked on his jumper. He had a year of pro experience. None of this has mattered so far. Watching Wall, it seems like he’s trying too hard and he’s letting missed jumpers affect him. Washington’s lack of an offensive plan isn’t helping.
Despite all of this, I don’t see how I can give the Raptors the edge in this matchup. Calderon played 40+ minutes last night, Jerryd Bayless is still day-to-day, and Wall is the fastest basketball player I’ve ever seen.
Name that player: An offensive-minded shooting guard from USC with lots of athleticism and smaller rebounding numbers than you’d like.
TRICK QUESTION. It’s Nick Young and DeMar DeRozan. These guys are very similar basketball players, even though they have differing styles and personalities on the court. You want DeRozan to be more aggressive; you want to reign Young in a bit. Young is a better defender than people give him credit for and DeRozan is making strides on that end, too. I’ll give DeRozan the edge, as I think he’s too good for his slumps to last longer than three games.
The backups: Jordan Crawford is shooting 31.6 percent on the year for Washington. This makes Leandro Barbosa’s 36.5 percent mark look nice.
James Johnson will kill your fantasy team in the points category, but he’ll help you almost anywhere that doesn’t involve shooting. Rashard Lewis can pretty much only provide points/shooting, but hasn’t even been doing that this season. I haven’t seen anything about his sore knee keeping him out this time, but rookies Chris Singleton and Jan Vesely should see some floor-time regardless. For me, that’s fun. Kleiza is still day-to-day for Toronto.
Advantage: Raptors, barely. Unless Rasual Butler shoots 1-8 again.
Andrea Bargnani and Andray Blatche have been similarly frustrating for years, but this year it’s different. Bargnani has impressed on both ends of the floor, while Blatche has been the same poor defender he’s always been… with poorer shooting!
If you ask me, Raptors also take home the win in the bonus lefty power forward matchup: Ed Davis vs. Trevor Booker. Davis hasn’t been the most consistent person in the world, though.
JaVale McGee is longer than Amir Johnson. He’s taller than him. He blocks shots far more frequently and his highlights are more fun to watch. Problem is, he routinely puts his team at a disadvantage defensively by attempting the spectacular play instead of the proper one. Johnson isn’t as flashy, but he is far more productive at this point in his career on both ends. Now, he needs to get those turnovers down.
The Wizards are favored by two. They haven’t won a game yet, so this seems weird to me. I’d take the Raps, but I’m no gambler.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass