The Washington Wizards take on the New Jersey Nets tonight in their season opener at the Verizon Center. Read on to find out more about the Wizards' opponent, which is basically Deron Williams, an injured Brook Lopez and a bunch of random dudes the Nets are hoping to somehow turn into Dwight Howard.
Are they good in general?: They finished 24-58 last year and 4-8 with Williams playing. They didn't make any major moves, and they lost their second-best player in Lopez to injury. So no, they are not good.
Are they good against the Wizards? They were 1-2 against the Wizards last year, with the one win coming in December at home. Williams didn't play in any of those games, but I think we can safely say that even with him, they aren't very good against the Wizards either.
Are they fast or slow? Last year's team finished 23rd in the league in pace factor, averaging 92.5 possessions per game. In the 12 games Williams played, though, the Nets averaged 96.8 possessions per game, which would have been good for eighth in the league if they kept it up all season. Worth noting: that number is skewed by the 119-possession triple-overtime game they played against the Raptors in London. Take that away, and the Nets are at 94.8 possessions per game in Williams' other games, which would have been 14th in the league last year. Either way, the presence of Williams means the Nets are a faster-paced team.
Are they especially good at anything? Not really, no. If you had to point to something, they were a pretty decent rebounding team last year thanks to the work of Kris
Are they especially bad at anything? The Nets were dead last in the NBA in defensive turnover rate last year, which bodes well for a Wizards team that has been prone to turnover issues in the preseason.
Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really likes? Always been an Anthony Morrow fan, though I really haven't seen him do much to progress from just being an elite shooter.
Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really doesn't like? Since Lopez is injured, I won't have to go on about how overrated he is.
Are there any players poised for a breakout? Keep an eye on Damion James, a swing forward from Texas who will have the opportunity to nail down good playing time at small forward. His top competition is former Knick Shawne Williams, who was signed late in camp and is more of a stretch four.
Are there any players the Wizards especially need to worry about? Besides Williams, of course, the Wizards need to make sure they close out strong on Morrow and keep Humphries off the offensive glass. Do those things and a win should come easily.
Is their mascot cool? It's just a
bear silver fox, which is kind of lame, even next to Alex Ovechkin.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez
Any other random quirks? Welcome back, DeShawn Stevenson!
Game thread + pregame nuggets at 6:30, game time at 7. GO WIZARDS!