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?

Point Guard:

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.

Advantage: Wizards

Shooting Guard:

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.

Advantage: Raptors

Small forward:

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. 

Power forward: 

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.

Advantage: Raptors


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.

Advantage: Raptors

The line:

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

  • Nilanka15

    The line might be related to Bargnani and Calderon both playing HEAVY minutes last night.  If those guys are fatigued tonight, we could be in for another 62 point outing.

    • Jeffrey Thompson

      I don’t think it will be a 62 point game as in the case with Philly; however, I seriously do believe that the Wizards can take this one.  As 2damkule said, they’re due for a win and who is always the one who has to be victim–Toronto.  It happened with the Nets a week before so don’t count washington out in this one.

      • Juicy

        Agree, teams often key in on the one game they think they can get, and give it their all.  If this is the one for the Wiz they might be preparing for it more than others.  But they also have to get out of their own way.

        This will be a great test of what is a Casey team?  We are assuming this game is a trap game because Triano would walk into this trap.  Smitch probably would have too.  But it will be interesting to see if Casey has them any more ready than their history would suggest.

        Plus, they might be thinking “just get this one.  We don’t want to be the first one to lose to the Wiz.  I’ll give Sacto a W, but not the Washington Generals”.

  • 2damkule

    russian tank commander is, by all accounts, out until at least friday.

    agree, this is a trap game.  you know the wiz are due.  feel so bad for wall, he’s a good kid, and extremely talented, it must suck to come to work everday and be surrounded by such idiocy (erm, i guess i know how my coworkers feel…).  still think he’s one of the pre-eminent up & coming young players in the L, and i truly feel that his slow start is 90% due to the traveshamockery of a team that’s playing with him.  still, this is a good experience for him, should speed up his maturation process…well, as long as it doesn’t last too long.  if they could just unload one or two of the headcases/knuckleheads, they’d be able to move forward, but i can’t see anyone taking blatche (& his contract) off their hands unless they sweeten the pot.

    • Pizzaman

      at least he doesn’t have to put up with Arenas

  • Brian B

    Chuckling at how a year ago, some wanted the raps to trade for Blatche. Now every blog in the world, plus Espn writers, see him as toxic.

    Agree that this is Raps game to lose, but worried about fatigue factor… that just might be the Wiz edge.

  • voy

    “Calderon is, against all odds, having the best season of his career”.

    I say we go totally contrarian, to most of the music you hear at nba games, and have our guys, during the pregame, introduced to “against all odds” by Phil Collins. 

    Then having heard a Phil Collins song I willingly shoot myself in the face.

  • KaioKev

    Be very very scared Raptor fans. This will be one of those games where it down to the wire and your clinging to to edge of your seat!!

  • Sheptor

     I can see the Wizards up for this one and potentially taking it. But I still think the Raptors go 5-5 on the season tonight. Bargnani played heavy minutes but didn’t look tired once last night. Casey will be pushing them tonight to kick this team while they are down and I’m sure the Nets game will be used as a motivator in the dressing room as to what happens when you don’t play the way you should against opponents with bad records. Bargnani plays less minutes but still has a monster game. 3 was not falling last night but expect it to be butter tonight ( 25 pts 8rbs 1 block 3-5 from beyond). His confidence is really soaring now and he knows this is a game where HE has to be the best player on the floor and win it for his team.

    • 2damkule

      hope you’re right, but the 2nd on a b2b2b, after playing heavy minutes (and intense heavy minutes at that), & travelling = tired legs…tired legs = flat shot…and for this team, poor shooting is a quick way to a 20pt loss.  if they let the wiz get out of the gate quickly, the mentality to pack it in, rest some guys & prep for wed might take over.

  • minks77

    Hello Win virgins, I brought a gaggle of easy prey for you to feast on. 

    This game is all about pride. Can’t cough this up. That being said, I see weary legs and mental softness being major factors. Still no killer instinct on this squad. No one who enjoys watching the life drain out of an opponent after he’s stuck the dagger into his heart and twisted it for good measure.

    Really hope they don’t fuck this one up.

  • 511

    I wonder what it’d take to get John Wall? I’d offer up Ed and DeMar to just to see. Not a bad trade, now that I’ve said it out loud. 

    • Nilanka15

      I posted a similar inquiry on the forums.  Lots of desperation in Washington these days, even in a year expected to be a non-competitive one.

      Could be a great opportunity to buy while Wall’s stock is low (compared to what it will be in 2-3 years).

      • 511

        Re ‘great opportunity’, exactly. I could see Colangelo selling that one to both sides. Ed’s dad played there and Ed is listed as being from Washington as well, so … there’s that. And the ‘selling low’ could be said for both sides. I think I’d do it. 

        • Nilanka15

          I might be more inclined to include Calderon in the deal.  I have no idea if the salary numbers would even allow it, but Calderon’s stock is definitely high right now, and Washington will probably be looking for someone to replace Wall, even if it’s just a 2 year solution.

          Perhaps Calderon + Davis (or Calderon + DeRozan)?  Although, there’s a part of me that’s not ready to give up on DeRozan yet.

          • VCSUCKS

            There’s no way in their right mind that the Wizards do any of these deals. A PG like Wall is a franchise changing player. DeRozan and Davis…not so much.

            • mountio

              Thank you. There is abosolutely no way in hell Wash would consider any of this. They are a terrible team and Wall is the only good thing they have going. Sure, hes struggling out of the gates .. but it would take something special to get him out of DC (and DD and Ed are not even close).

          • CJT

            I have found to be very underwhelming.  I expected him to come in to the league and be a difference maker right away, but in the games I have watched he hasn’t made anything happen.  He did get to the line quite a bit though, which is where all his points came from.  Not sure I’d be willing to give up on our young talent for him. 

          • 511

            Ya … I was considering the point guard dilemma that Washington’d be looking at. I’d hate to give up Calderon but that’d be too sentimental by half; we almost let him go a year and a bit ago, afterall. Maybe Bayless could factor in, somehow, instead. 

            I do think there’s a deal here that could be done, that would benefit both teams. Someone should get Gots2go to call Bryan. I think he has his number. 

          • voy

            interesting trade proposal but I dont think Wash would pull the trigger.  They already have 2 bigs in their starting lineup + vesely on the bench.  I dont know if they’d want want to add ED to that equation.

            If we lost DD, as mediocre, as he’s been, our sg/sf tandem may become the most horrendous, from an offensive standpoint, in memory.

            I’d maybe offer ED and our 2013 first round pick. I dont think Wash would do this either though. I dont know why Washington would be looking to move Wall.

            • Nilanka15

              I know it’s extremely unlikely.  Just wishful thinking I guess…

      • 2damkule

        the wiz aren’t trading wall.  the end.

        he’s one of the only guys on the roster worth holding onto…when you have issues with your team, you don’t get rid of the one guy who is clearly NOT THE ISSUE, just because he’ll give you the best return.

        further, if the wizards front office did lose their collective minds & put him on the market, there would be about 20 teams kicking the shit out of each other to get to the front of the line, and pretty much all of them would be able to better any offer the raps could put forth.

        and taking this to it’s (il)logical conclusion…just what package of raptor assets would entice the wiz to part with wall? let’s see…uh, it’s gonna cost more than what’s been suggested. by just a little. let’s start the conversation with the fact that if the wiz were to, again, lose their minds & put wall on the market, it would be a package deal that would see one of (or both) blatche & lewis included (meaning a third or fourth team would need to get involved, just to get the salaries close). it might also require someone taking crawford or young off their hands (for, of course, decent players in return), but this could be a side deal. now…the players going to the wiz. i doubt the raps are getting anywhere close to acquiring wall without including bargs, and a combination of other players that would more than likely include some combination of davis, derozan, amir, calderon & possibly JV (or a future pick or two) – these players/combination(s) of players would likely be spread out to the other teams that would need to be involved in order to get a deal done. remember, the wiz would be looking to jettison some key members of their roster (read: unload most of the headcases & start a new rebuild) if they’re entertaining the idea of trading wall, so they’ll be looking to get back as much young talent on good deals as possible, as well as clear cap space (i.e. getting big expiring contracts), $$ & picks.

        • 511

          Well, that made me laugh. And, I know. Just a daydream that seemed not too irrational for a brief moment. But … ya. 

    • sleepz

      Wall was the #1 pick and is their franchise player. He put up good numbers last year.

      Washington would hang up on Colangelo if Demar and Ed was offered for Wall.

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    TO PG >  Wash PG

    TO SG Wash PF

    TO C = Wash C

    TO Bench = Wash Bench

    Washington is coming into this  game with a day’s rest unlike the Raptors were playing Minnesota last nite.

    NYoung will get the better of DD while AB & Jose will be worn out by playing 40 minutes plus vs Minny.

    JMcGee always seemingly plays well against Toronto & Blatche is just like AB has been for most of his NBA career- a talented but lethargic big man.

    I see a Washington W as they get their 1st win of the season tonite against a worn down Raptors squad playing on a b2b.

    Wash 93 TO 88

  • Jeffrey Thompson

    Hey this is off topic, but do you see where that jacka$$ Holinger ranks the Raptors? It’s insulting:

    • Lino

      well where would you rank the (4-5) raptors? and what metrics would you use?

      • Raptorsss

        I could be wrong…but I think Jeff is being sarcastic, since we bash on Hollinger.  I don’t like Hollinger’s opinion’s but I love his stats…

  • tonious35

    We all are thinking the same thing for our tired team….

  • Brezec for Prezec

    Go Raps!

  • RapsM

    If there was any team they shouldn’t lose to it the wizards.

  • why

    Hopefully Jan Veasley’s girlfiend is at the game.

    • 2damkule

      you gotta watch out for girlfiends…they’re they WORST!

  • draftedraptor

    Imagine putting out a starting lineup like this : J Magloire, E Davis, J Johnson, L Barbosa , A.Carter and coming out with a win. That would destroy the wizards season.

    • 2damkule

      i think it would also rip the fabric of the space/time continuum.  better not risk it.

  • KJ-B

    w-O-w Vesely, my fav from last year’s draft looks amAzinG!!! Cut off a DeRozan drive, switched to Amir on a rotation, then bodied Special Ed when the ball rotated to the weak side!!! If only we couldda drafted him!!! JVal’s amazinnng still tho… 

  • Dude

    Jesus how bad is Rasul Butler??  And did he teach Derozan his jump shot or what??

  • RapsM

    This maybe sinful, but days like this i miss VC ’cause I just want someone to just slam right now.

  • carlos

    ye Raps lose!!!!