Thunder Vs. Wizards Preview: Meet The Team Washington Hopes To Become

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 14: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder walks past John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center on March 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Washington Wizards are hosting what they hope to believe are their future selves in the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight. Let's meet them.

Are they good in general?: According to an archaic measure known as the "NBA standings," they are the best team in the league. The more new-age measure known as point differential suggests they're outperforming their record a bit.

Are they good against the Wizards? They have not played the Wizards this season. Last year, they won in double overtime in Oklahoma City, then won far more easily in D.C. after the Kendrick Perkins trade.

Are they fast or slow? Technically, they're middle of the pack in pace. As we all know, though, if this team gets out in transition, look out.

Are they especially good at anything? This team is such a good offensive team, at least in the regular season. Their top three guys -- Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden -- are so good at getting to the basket. The Wizards' pick and roll defense has to be perfect, and it probably won't be. All three guys are great at drawing fouls, and you always have to worry about Durant shooting over the top. A good team defensive scheme frustrates Westbrook and forces them to beat you over the top. Not sure the Wizards have that.

Are they especially bad at anything? They've actually been really bad on the glass this year, ranking 23rd in offensive rebound rate and 26th in defensive rebounding rate. JaVale McGee could get lots of putback attempts in this one.

Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really likes? I'd pay James Harden a lot of money.

Are there any people involved with the organization that Mike really doesn't like? Thabo Sefolosha brings far less to the table than his reputation suggests.

Are there any players poised for a breakout? Harden's in the middle of one heck of one.

Are there any players the Wizards especially need to worry about? It's really all about Durant, Westbrook and Harden. They shoulder so much of a scoring load, and by themselves, they're able to push through most games. The other Thunder players matter, of course, but only in the context of how they help those three score. It's a fairly obvious game-plan, which is why I think the Thunder struggled in the playoffs, but it's still really hard to execute.

Is their mascot cool? Given the obvious difficulty of turning a non-visual concept like "Thunder" into a mascot, I guess this isn't too bad.

Rumble2_medium_medium

Any other random quirks? Bet you didn't know this, but Kevin Durant is returning home!

Game thread at 6:30, recap right after.

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