In this week's 3-on-3, our guys Abdullah Sharif, Trevor Jackson, and Joe Glorioso focus on three burning topics revolving around our Wizards this week: Bradley Beal's injury and it's impact on the Wizards; John Wall's clutch moment in front of his #1 sh*t talker; and the testing schedule ahead for the Wizards...
Bradley Beal's ankle sprain has him listed as day-to-day. In terms of worst case scenario, how will this affect the Wizards and Beal?
Trevor: First off, thank goodness the news coming out is better than it initially looked. I was one of the people thinking worst case scenario thoughts as I thought it looked like his knee moved. Hopefully he is able to recuperate quickly and fully. At this point, his health is much more important that rushing him back to the lineup.
In terms of the impact on the team, they are definitely going to miss his scoring and efficiency. Over the last 9 games, Beal is averaging 20 points per game while shooting 49.3% from the floor and 48.7% from long range. It is going to be tough to replace that, especially if Randy Wittman decides to get "creative" with his starters. Who honestly knows what he is going to do? I would like to see him slide Martell Webster over to the 2, and insert Trevor Ariza -- who has been playing well on both ends lately -- into the 3 spot. But of course, that would make sense. I wouldn't be surprised to see Wittman go with his go-to starter Garrett Temple or even pull more random moves and insert Cartier Martin into the lineup. The rotations really seem like a coin flip. Without Beal the team will suffer some, and ultimately I believe it will come down to how Wittman handles the lineups as to whether they can continue to compete night in and night out.
Abdullah: The Wizards obviously have a serious void to fill with the indefinite absence of Brad Beal. In the seven games that Beal has missed this season, the Wizards as a team have scored seven less points a game than their season average, dropping from 92 a game to 85. This will obviously cause for some trickery and pave the way for coach Wittman's oddball rotations and mix and matching starting lineups. The Wizards do have other measures for scoring, however. Martell Webster has proven the ability to score from inside as well as out. AJ Price gets hot sometimes. But personally I feel the front court will need to step up. Nene has been magnificent while healthy and we're all aware of Emeka Okafor's incredible emergence since the beginning of the season.
As for Beal, the man has endured pain since he entered the NBA and has bounced back each time. A right ankle sprain during training camp, a sprained wrist in January and a busted mouth during an accident in practice have all done little to slow down our surging rookie, and I expect the same turnaround this time as well.
Joe: The Wizards dodged a bullet with the news that Bradley Beal is only day to day with what looked like a far more serious injury when it happend. Had Washington been forced to play a long stretch of time without their budding superstar I suspect that opposing teams would have re-focused their efforts in stopping Wall and forcing the other Wizards scorers, i.e. Webster, Ariza to beat them with shots, something I don't believe they were willing to give Beal the luxury of.
I think they should hold out Beal for Wednesday night's game against the Timberwolves as well as Friday night's tilt vs. Nets and let him return Saturday vs. Bobcats. But, Bradley is 19, he loves the game and I fully intend to see him Friday night if not tomorrow with a monitor on his mintues.
We as Wizards fans are all just happy as hell this wasn't another case of the Curse O' Les Boulez striking.
John Wall has faced plenty of adversity driven by his critics and naysayers. So how special was John's clutch performance in the face of David Falk last night?
Trevor: It was great. Seeing John Wall step up after Bradley Beal went down and take over the game the last 2 minutes, and then hit the game sealing shot with just seconds to go was huge. The "Falk You" stare afterwards was even better. He has been getting a lot of criticism lately, and definitely needed a game like last night to get back on track. Doing it in front of David Falk was just the icing on the cake.
Abdullah: Loved it. Loved it. LOVED IT. I mean, this is the kind of stuff I watch sports for. To see a beloved star fight through constant scrutiny and hateration, only to turn it around and put a clamp on everyone's mouth. David Falk's comments about John Wall had just about everyone in Wizards Nation bent out of shape, specifically his coach, Randy Wittman. But John played the quiet card and finally, on the night where Falk was just a handful of feet away in observance, Wall sunk a game-deciding jump shot against the Sixers. Although this was truly a proud and memorable moment for John and his fans, we're still still on the lurk for a consistent shot.
Joe: I think Wall needed to close a game out on his own and the Sixers provided him that opportunity. The night was setup perfectly for John with all the sports talk chatters of Beal coming on as the marquee player and of course playing against Evan Turner with the evil Darth Falk in attendance.
Falk opened his mouth, then apologized. Evan Turner and the Sixers lost and Wall hit the game winning shot with Falk staring right at him. My scorecard has it Wall 3 - Team Falk 0. It's time to move on to more pertinent issues like his continued growth as a point guard and stop focusing on all the TMZ crap that accompanies this team.
For one more night though John Wall reminded fans that the Wizards are his team and he wants the ball with the game on the line. Considering how he had been finishing games leading up to Sunday evening it was a welcome sight. One that we can only hope to see more of.
With just a quarter of the season remaining, the Wizards will find themselves on the road for 14 of their final 24 games. What kind of finish are you expecting from these guys?
Trevor: I am expecting more of the same with this team competing each night, and believe they will finish these last games around .500. I am not one of those people that believes in tanking at all, and hope the Wizards keep winning. However, I just hope they don't win too many games to take us out of the Otto Porter sweepstakes. We need to keep the Capital Otto Show in DC.
Abdullah: The road-game-infested schedule that lies ahead for the Wizards will be a daunting one, considering there is a chunk of six games out of seven that will be played away from The Phone Booth, including three on the west coast. However, these Wizards have clearly evolved into a group that trusts and feeds off one another and consistently compete on a nightly basis, despite the unfavorable results on the road. They've shown their prowess in several facets, primarliy on defense, but have also gravely improved in ball rotation, spacing, and shot selection. These are enough elements to warrant victories for least half of their remaning games.
Joe: Washington will give its fans what it usually does at the end of non-playoff years. The Wizards will play right under .500 until the last two weeks of the season and will run off 5 straight wins to end the season starting with their final visit to Madison Square Garden against the Knicks.
Washington will end up with 30 wins, the 9th most ping pong balls for the draft lottery and a slim chance at drafting either Otto Porter or Shabazz Muhammad. Hows that for going out on a limb in March.