Barack Obama and the Washington Wizards have a lot in common. They both started off with a lot of potential and hope for change, but neither one has really been able to accomplish anything.
Minnesota Timberwolves (15-48) vs. Washington Wizards (15-45) at Verizon Center
Tonight, the Wolves travel to the nation's capital to take on John Wall and the Washington Wizards. Despite drafting John Wall with the #1 overall pick, the Wizards are only 1 1/2 games ahead of the Wolves in the standings. John Wall looks like a player who is worth keeping, but there is not a whole lot else on the Wizards' roster to feel good about.
Luckily for Washington, their record is much better at home (14-17) than on the road (1-28). This gives them a fighting chance in tonight's game, but even with homecourt advantage, I still expect the Wolves to take the easy win.
Let's break down the matchups:
Even if McGee got to use two balls, Nikola Pekovic would block both of them.
Nikola Pekovic vs. JaVale McGee
I'll admit, the 2011 slam dunk contest changed my opinion of JaVale McGee. I used to think he was just another athletic center with nothing going on between his ears. I thought he was just another Ryan Hollins-type of player. Of course, since I only watch about two Wizards' games each year, my knowledge of McGee was limited at best.
In the dunk contest, though, I liked his creativity. I liked his gamesmanship. And I thought that he should've won it instead of Blake Griffin, who had a dunk that I'm pretty sure at least 50% of NBA players could do without any practice.
So, I earned some more respective for JaVale McGee. Now, I'll call him the rich man's Ryan Hollins. I still don't think he'll ever be a contributor on a championship contender, and I think Nikola Pekovic will own him tonight, but its a step in the right direction.
Winner: Nikola Pekovic
C'mon, son...you really think Andray Blatche can outplay Kevin Love?
Kevin Love vs. Andray Blatche
I've been told that Andray Blatche has a lot of potential. I was also told that nearly 6 years ago when he was drafted by the Washington Wizards. Sure, big men may take longer to develop. And sure, 24 isn't exactly old (only one year older than rookie Wesley Johnson). But in 6 years, it would be nice to see some flashes of brilliance out of this guy. I'm starting to lose my hope that he's anything more than an underachieving role player.
Kevin Love had another crazy performance in the game against Philadelphia last night. His 20/20 games are starting to be overlooked because they are coming so frequently. Forget what Phil Jackson says or what others might say about "stat-padding", Kevin Love is the second best T'Wolf of all-time. In my opinion, it isn't close.
Winner: Kevin Love
Remember when Josh Howard was an All-Star? That was a long time ago.
Michael Beasley vs. Josh Howard
Not too long ago, Josh Howard was thought of as one of the premier small forwards in the league. He was selected as an All-Star. He played in the NBA Finals. He was arguably the second best player on that Mavs team next to Dirk Nowitzki. Unfortunately, he started a go downwards as a player. In 2006, he was invited by Jerry Colangelo to participate as a defensive specialist with Team USA, but declined. His game started to slip. He missed more games, and eventually, Mark Cuban decided to trade him in a deal for Caron Butler.
Howard tore his ACL last year, and now, he's left trying to recapture some of his talent for the Wizards.
Michael Beasley is not going to be another underachieving small forward who failed to reach his potential. The Wolves are on their way to contending, and once they get there, Beasley will likely be in the spot where Howard was a few years ago. In tonight's game, look for Beasley to shred Howard's defense and put up about 24 points.
Winner: Michael Beasley
Flip Saunders recounting the good ol' days back in Minnesota.
Wesley Johnson vs. Nick Young
If Nick Young could put it together, he could be something special. He's got talent. He's got a nice shot. But he's way too inconsistent as a player to ever be more than a Von Wafer-type spark plug for a team.
Wesley Johnson has been inconsistent this year as well, but in his rookie season, he has already shown flashes of improvement. He's getting better at moving without the ball. His defense is much improved. Even his shot selection is better. I think, in the near future, the debate between Wes and Paul George will be over and people will look back thinking that two teams missed on Wesley Johnson, not that the Wolves picked him too early.
Wes was a crucial pick for this franchise and a lot of pressure has been put on his as a result. Fans want immediate results with him, especially because of his age, and they want the wins to come along with those results. With a little patience, I think Wolves fans will be very happy with Wes in a short period of time.
Winner: Wesley Johnson
Three. That's the number of point guards on the Wolves who are better than John Wall.
Luke Ridnour vs. John Wall
In basketball, one player can make a difference. This phrase is repeated all the time. Unlike in the other major sports, one guy - like LeBron or Kobe - can lead a team without much else to success. Not a championship, of course, but Kobe got a team with Smush Parkerto the playoffs; LeBron had a team with Donyell Marshall in the NBA Finals.
What does that say about John Wall? Sure, he's a nice point guard, but his Wizards are one of the worst teams in the league. Is it because he's so young? Is his supporting cast that bad? Or is Wall not as good as advertised? I'm not implying anything with these questions, but they should be asked.
Also, if there were a dance named after Luke Ridnour, what do you think it would look like?
Winner: Luke Ridnour
My Prediction: Timberwolves 111 - Washington Wizards 106
Timberwolves' Record: 16-48