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It's all about defense for the Wizards

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The Wizards are hanging with the best defensively, but will a potent offense begin to take shape, as well, with the upcoming arrival of Bradley Beal?

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1. Wizards staying defensive this season

Defense wins championships and the Wizards are proving theirs can rival the best in the NBA. The offense has yet to fully come together with a couple key ingredients still unable to be used, though one is working his way into the mix very soon. The numbers on the defensive side of the ball are showing once again that the Wizards are solid this season, as it has been since Randy Wittman's arrival.

2. How will Rasual Butler fare as the season progresses?

He was supposed to be a fill-in to help shoulder the load during Bradley Beal's absence, but so far Butler's given quality production in quality minutes after taking Glen Rice, Jr.'s spot in the rotation. Can he be counted on to keep this up for the long haul? He's proving that a Wizards organization with a history of leaving the last roster spot open in case of emergency should keep him on board for the rest of the season.

3. Beal could be ready to go tonight against the Dallas Mavericks

"I can't answer that," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said when asked about Beal's availability.

Those four words have rocked the Wizards' world over the past 24 hours. No? Ok, no. But Wittman certainly is toying with the exciting idea of having the young stud back when the Wizards face the highest-scoring team in the NBA tonight, two days earlier than Beal's six-week post-surgery timetable had initially expected.

His wrist has responded well after two straight days of full participation in practice. The only issue is apparently his fatigue level conditioning-wise, which is normal after nearly six weeks on the shelf. Wittman will take how Beal feels today, following another workout after the team's shootaround, into account before making a decision.

"I just told you that we got to take it each day. I told you we got to take it each day. I can’t tell you yes today and then tomorrow he’s sore and you’re going to say I lied to you. We got to see how he feels tomorrow, get him a good workout in after shoot-around, and see how that goes."

4. Wizards will have their hands full tonight

The Wizards will match up against a blazing hot Mavericks squad tonight in their biggest test of the young season. The Mavs bring a ton of offensive firepower to the table, but will face a tough defensive unit in the Wizards, as long as they apply themselves for the full 48 minutes. It will certainly be an interesting matchup for this Washington team, with expectations of being a top team in the NBA this season, as they face off against a team that is on a historically-good offensive streak to start the season.

5. Wizards face Mavs tonight

You've got the idea by now. The Wizards (7-2) and Mavericks (8-3) will play each other tonight. Now it's time for the game info.

Tip off from the Verizon Center is at 7 p.m. You can catch the game live on Comcast SportsNet or listen on 99.1 WNEW.

This is the start of a very important week for the team as they should get a pretty good glimpse of where they stack up in the first of three very difficult games.

Bonus: What if the Wizards did trade for Kobe Bryant?

It's not going to happen. But what if it did? That idea certainly makes you wonder a little bit.

Double Bonus: Paul Pierce says he wouldn't be drafted in today's NBA

Pierce made some very valid points as a guest on "The Dan Patrick Show" regarding today's NBA versus when he was drafted. He even admitted that he probably would not have been drafted, or at least drafted a lot lower, were he to come out of college and into the league nowadays.

"I think a lot of these young talented kids are just rated on their pure length and athleticism, but really no basketball IQ, really no footwork, really can't shoot the ball," Pierce said. "When they look at [a] guy and they say he has potential, he's fast, he has long arms, he can jump. And then he gets out there and can't throw a rock in the ocean, or he can't run a play. Or his basketball IQ is low. I think those things sometimes get overrated. A lot of kids get drafted just on that."

He made a great point there, before ragging, slightly, on this year's draft class.

"This draft class was supposed to be one of the great draft classes of this era, and as you see, I really don't see nobody in this class really standing out so far, even though it's only been 10 games," Pierce told the radio show. "Unlike the LeBron [James] class where you had a number of franchise guys, you just kinda knew that class was going to be great, but this class has been dubbed the same thing based off potential, and we haven't seen much of it."

It definitely would be very interesting to see where he would be drafted if he were coming out of college into today's NBA.

As a reminder, there will be a reader/writer FanDuel fantasy basketball tournament tonight exclusively for the SB Nation community! Make sure you sign up for FanDuel here, if you haven't done so already. Then, for the tournament, make sure to click here and put your best fantasy team together.