The Mavericks travel to Washington, DC to take on the Wizards tonight. What can we expect?
What did the Wizards do over the offseason?
The Wizards have their eye on the 2016 prize, DC-area native Kevin Durant, and their offseason moves reflected this. As Bullets Forever put it, the team focused on acquiring the best players they could on one-year deals, adding Gary Neal, Jared Dudley, and Alan Anderson to the team and banking on the continued improvement of their impressive and young-ish backcourt.
What have the Wizards done lately?
The Wizards are currently four spots out of the playoffs, having been the unwitting victim of both the tougher-than-expected Eastern Conference and their own bad luck (they're missing most of their front court to injury and personal matters at the moment). They're also having a tough time adapting to some pretty major adjustments to their playing style this season.
The Wizards have focused in recent years on constructing a solid defense paired with a "take what the defense gives us" offense. In other words, they took a lot of long twos. But they revamped over the offseason, abandoned their slower paced, defense-oriented ways, and embraced the modern NBA's obsession with threes. Everyone from John Wall to Kris Humphries has started shooting more from behind the arc, resulting in a nearly 50 percent increase in threes taken per game this season.
Unfortunately, this isn't yet working out for the Wizards. Last year, their offense was only the 19th best in the league, but their defense was top five. This year, they're in the bottom ten in the league in both offense and defense.
Which player might be due for a big game?
All-Star point guard John Wall has taken responsibility for the team's poor play, and could be looking for a chance to make good on his promise to play better. More realistically, the Mavericks front court will likely take advantage of Washington's depleted big men.
How to watch
You can catch the game on Fox Sports Southwest or on League Pass (or CSN Mid-Atlantic if you're in the DMV). Note the early tip-off, which is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Central.