The following article was written by new P&T team member Russell Richardson.
The Knicks and Wizards lock horns again this Saturday, 7:30 p.m., in an exhibition game at the Capital One Arena. When these two teams last met (March 25, 2021), the Knicks roared back from 17 points down to beat the Wizards, 106-102. Alec Burks logged 27 points; RJ Barrett posted 24.
Washington is fresh off a 125-119 loss to the lowly Houston Rockets. (O.K., Jalen Green looked good in his Rockets debut. Maybe Houston won’t be quite a bad as expected.)
The big news is that Julius Randle is out for personal reasons. Word on the street is that another Little Randle might be born soon. Mazel tov! In Randle’s place we’ll see more of Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox.
Tom Thibodeau says Obi Toppin and Kevin Knox will get more minutes with Randle out tomorrow against the Wizards.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) October 8, 2021
Corey Kispert is a rookie of interest (15th pick) and started in Washington’s first preseason contest. He scored 12 points against Christian Wood and the Rockets. Let’s see how he does against Canada’s own RJ Barrett. RJ finished with a tidy 17/3/2 on Tuesday vs. Pacers.
Superstar Bradley Beal and new signees Kyle Kuzma (the hair) and Spencer Dinwiddie (the cryptocurrency) also started last Tuesday. Dinwiddie continues his journey back from ACL surgery. More than playmaking, he tossed a lot of hot-potato in the Houston game. Let’s see if that continues. The Knicks were interested in him last summer, but ultimately chose Bronx native Kemba Walker, whose knee health is also the subject of endless discussion.
Comparatively, in their first preseason games, Dinwiddie netted 14 points and five assists in 21 minutes versus the Rockets, and Kemba got 12 and four in 21 against the Pacers.
Let’s see which PG takes the belt in The Royal Rumble of Questionable Knees.
Speaking of...Nerlens Noel’s knee is still day-to-day. If he plays, he will match up against Arkansas product Daniel Gafford, who put up 10.1 PPG/5.6 RPG/1.8 BLK in 23 games for the Wiz last season. Gafford (38th pick, 2019) should bump with Noel and/or Taj Gibson, followed by Jericho Sims. Watch for Gafford and Sims to catch a few lobs.
Notable: F Deni Avdija is set to make his debut on Saturday after missing time with a right ankle fracture. Will the Israeli improve his free throw percentage (yikes, 64.4%) in his sophomore year? Has he been able to work on his ball-handling during his recovery? Can he provide a spark off the bench? Wizards fans want to know.
Expect to see Montrezl Harrell, Davis Bertans, Aaron Holiday, and Raul Neto in action for the Wiz. Derrick Rose, Immanuel Quickley, and Alec Burks should also make appearances for the Bockers. If the game is a blowout or if Thibs feels generous, Deuce McBride and Quentin Grimes might squeak in a few minutes, too.
Washington. Saturday. 7:30 p.m tip-off. Go Knicks.