Wizards fans! You made it! The NBA regular season has returned. Your Washington Wizards – featuring a starting lineup that now includes Otto Porter (who may or may not be a cat) and a three-point shooting Kris Humphries – will open the season against the Orlando Magic.
The Magic are a young upstart team on an upwards trajectory who are still probably a year or two away from really scaring anybody, but they’re eager to get into the East playoff hunt. Third-year guard Victor Oladipo and second-year guard Elfrid Payton will be attacking all night, and Shabazz Napier has all the markings of a junior #WizardKiller. The Wizards swept the Magic last year, but not always easily: The point differential in three of the four games was 7 points or less. We all fondly remember this buzzer-beater from the December 10 game in Orlando:
Possibly one of Andre Miller’s finest moments in a Wizards uniform. But the point remains that despite still being in the middle of a rebuild, the Magic are not a team to sleep on.
When and Where: The game will be held at 7:00 PM Eastern in the Amway Center in Orlando.
TV: CSN Washington if you’re in the DMV, FS Florida if you’re in Orlando, and streaming online on League Pass for those of us who are out of market.
Radio: The #radioparty is on 99.1 FM WNEW.
Alan Anderson (ankle) is out indefinitely. Martell Webster (hip) practiced on Tuesday and is questionable for the opener. Nene, however, is available to play and "well rested." DeJuan Blair will likely be available as well.
Elfrid Payton, Aaron Gordon, and Tobias Harris all practiced on Tuesday for the Magic and appear to be ready to go for Wednesday's game.
Storylines we’re watching
Will the Wizards’ offensive success translate into the regular season?
The Wizards had the best preseason offense, hands down. Pace and space suits the roster -- particularly Wall, Beal, Porter, and Gortat -- and Kris Humphries did his part by hitting nearly 36 percent of his three-point attempts. However, as everyone is quick to point out, preseason doesn’t matter. Keep an eye on how the Magic choose to guard Humphries at the three-point line, and how much the team looks to Beal and Porter to make plays when they get the ball off of a Magic miss.
How will Nene perform at center?
It’s widely theorized here on Bullets Forever that Nene should be one of the best backup centers in the league. He may not have much of a vertical anymore, but his defensive acumen and passing ability some much-needed cohesion to the second unit. Nene and Jared Dudely haven’t had much time to play together due to both of their respective injuries, but we should see hints of how they’ll work together tonight. Though Nene spent much of his time in Denver playing primarily at center, he played the position an estimated* 30 percent of the time last season, and has been vocal about his preference to play power forward in the past.
*According to basketball-reference.com