After three quick tune up scrimmages, the real games being. Washington will take on the Phoenix Suns Friday afternoon in their first seeding game of the restart. These eight games will all be about getting the younger guys more reps but with the skeleton crew the Brooklyn Nets are trotting out on the floor, the Wizards suddenly have an outside shot at sneaking into the playoffs or at the very least, forcing an elimination tournament.
The wait is finally over - the NBA isn’t just back! The games now count for real!
When: Friday, July 31 at 4:00 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)
Suns: Kelly Oubre Jr. (Knee, Expected to be out), Jalen Lecque (Personal Reasons, Out), Dario Saric (Ankle, Game-time Decision), Aron Baynes (Illness, Game-time Decision)
Who’s the Wizards go-to player right now?
Thomas Bryant hasn’t gotten to the point where he can create his own shot yet. Ish Smith is much more comfortable and much more efficient as a facilitator than he is go-to scorer. Meanwhile, some thought Shabazz Napier would be the one guy on this roster who could benefit the most from the restart in taking on more of a leadership role.
Right now, Rui Hachimura seems to be the leading candidate as the Wizards’ go-to guy. He didn’t take any monumental leaps forward (no one did) or anything like that, but in these three short scrimmages, has looked much more assertive, decisive, and more comfortable with the ball in his hands.
Crafty pass from Rui Hachimura with Jared Dudley all over him to set up Isaac Bonga for two. pic.twitter.com/GSp9BGyI7U— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) July 27, 2020
Not to mention, Hachimura looked a lot more comfortable shooting the ball further from the hole. If the Wizards are going to somehow sneak into the playoffs or at least force a play-in tournament, they’re going to need multiple guys to step up on a nightly basis to get wins. But based on what we’ve seen so far through the scrimmages, Hachimura has shown the most improvements between now and March and just might be asserting himself as the leader and go-to guy of this team over the next eight games.