You've seen the 2013-14 Washington Wizards schedule. Here are five games I have circled.
Sunday, November 3: Washington at Miami
Otto Porter's going to need to become an elite defensive player if he's going to live up to his draft position, and this might be his first real test as a pro. Obviously, he's going to have his work cut out for him when he matches up with LeBron James, but he could also have to spend some time guarding Dwyane Wade if the Heat guard decides to break out his post game against Bradley Beal. No one is expecting Porter (or anyone for that matter) to shut down any of Miami's Big Three, but if he can be more than just a roadblock while Washington scares or even beats the defending champions, it could take a lot of pressure off of Porter to play well early on.
Saturday, November 16: Washington vs Cleveland
In what will be only their third home game of the season, Washington will host the Cavaliers. Both teams could very well be battling it out for a playoff seed later in the year, but what really matters here are the individual matchups. Kyrie Irving and John Wall will obviously be an incredible duel between two number one picks, but they aren't the only ones who will be worth watching. Dion Waiters was chosen one spot behind Beal last year and they could very well wind up the two best shooting guards in the Eastern Conference within a few years. Meanwhile, Otto Porter and Anthony Bennett, two players who are almost complete opposites of each other, will get to meet for the first time as professionals. To top it all off, these are two franchises that flat out despised each other as recently as three years ago. Even if the current rosters don't care about the LeBron years, Washington's die-hard fans still haven't forgotten just how epic the team's battles with Cleveland were.
Monday, January 13: Washington at Chicago, NBATV
Considering that they were both picked first overall after starring for John Calipari and play the same position, it's almost impossible to not compare John Wall to Derrick Rose. Rose got the better of Wall during their earlier encounters, but this will be their first meeting since Rose blew out his knee and Wall (hopefully!) learned to shoot. If both teams play as well as commentators and analysts seem to think they will, this could also serve as a preview of the first round of the playoffs.
Saturday, February 1: Washington vs Oklahoma City
This should be one of the most entertaining games of the season for fans of both the Wizards and Kevin Durant. Durant will be playing in front of his hometown crowd, while Washington fans will be treated to a showdown between Wall and Russell Westbrook, one of the few guards in the NBA who could give him a run for his money in the athleticism category.
Saturday, March 29: Washington vs Atlanta
Despite the loss of Josh Smith, the Hawks should continue to be a decent team next year, largely due to the underrated contributions of Al Horford and Lou Williams and the arrivals of Paul Millsap and Elton Brand. This will be Washington's last game against any of the East's fringe playoff contenders and could go a long way toward determining whether either the Wizards return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 or wind up with a late lottery pick.
Did I leave anything out? Check out the schedule for the upcoming season and let us know what games you're looking forward to in the comments.
More from Bullets Forever:
- 2013-14 Washington Wizards schedule unveiled, team opens vs. Pistons on Oct. 30
- Analyzing the 2013-14 Washington Wizards schedule: A brutal November, a soft finish
- John Wall, Ted Leonsis, the Wizards and strategies to woo free agents
- NBA free agency 2013: What's still out there for the Wizards?
- Bullets Forever's Summer Skill checklist: Trevor Booker