The last time we saw the Washington Wizards was on March 10th when they knocked off the New York Knicks. The NBA pressed paused shortly thereafter due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most thought that would be it for Washington’s season (and maybe the NBA).
Fast forward 4.5 very long months and here we are. The NBA season restart is in sight but first, Washington will take on the Denver Nuggets in their first tune up before the regular season resumes.
When: Wednesday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Disney World, Orlando
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington
Wizards: Bradley Beal (Shoulder, Out), Davis Bertans (Personal Reasons, Out), John Wall (Achilles, Out)
Nuggets: Michael Porter Jr. (Undisclosed, Game Time Decision), Torrey Craig (Undisclosed, Game Time Decision), Monte Morris (Undisclosed, Game Time Decision), PJ Dozier (Undisclosed, Game Time Decision), Gary Harris (Undisclosed, Game Time Decision)
What should we even watch for?
With Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans sidelined for the restart, that leaves Ish Smith (?) as the leader and arguably best player on this team’s active roster. Aside from Smith, Shabazz Napier, and Ian Mahinmi, the roster is filled with young players who have presumably eight more opportunities to show that they’re taking steps in the right direction and should be a part of this team longterm.
All eyes will be on guys like Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Isaac Bonga, and Mo Wagner as Washington resumes their season. Going into this year, it was all about building for the future. Just because the NBA paused for 4.5 months, that doesn’t change anything for the Wizards as the young guys will see significant minutes and will have plenty of opportunities now that Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans are sidelined.
Yes, the Wizards have an outside shot of forcing a play-in tournament or even making the playoffs, but let’s not lose sight of the franchise’s longterm vision entering this year. It’ll be very important that the younger guys get more reps and that we continue to see that progress is still being made.
No more “what if’s” or hypotheticals to talk about over and over again, we’ll have real Wizards basketball to watch and it starts on Wednesday afternoon.