The Wizards are tied atop the Eastern Conference with a 3-1 record to begin the season and up next is the Golden State Warriors, set for Friday night at 10:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
Four games isn't a large sample size, but let's look at some early trends involving this team...
1. Bradley Beal is Balling
Like the Wizards as a team, Bradley Beal is off to an impressive start and there's reason to believe he can be even better as this season goes on. We know Beal can score, we know he can shoot.
Now he's opening up the rest of his game and it might earn him his first All-Star appearance. Through four games - yes, a small sample size - Beal is averaging 24.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game.
That type of versatility could put him in the All-NBA conversation. He wants to rebound more and so far it's working well. Also worth noting is Beal's 8.0 free throws per game. He can become one of the NBA's best scorers and getting to the line is a great way to do that. The only thing he isn't doing well is shooting threes.
He's at 26.3 percent and we know that won't continue.
2. Porter is More Aggressive
Otto Porter is also looking like a new guy through four games. He's been much more aggressive, especially in the first half. Against the Sixers he scored the Wizards' first eight points and against the Pistons he had 20 points at halftime. Right now he's averaging 16.8 points, 7.5 assists and 3.3 steals.
Consistency has been an issue for him over the years, so we'll need to see more, but that is a very good start for him. And like Beal, his 33.3 three-point percentage is likely to go up and quickly.
3. Getting to the Free Throw Line
Beal isn't the only Wizards player drawing contact and getting calls. The Wizards are second in the NBA in free throws made per game (25.0), fifth in attempts (31.0) and ninth in percentage (.806). That includes two extremes, though. Against the Sixers they had 38 attempts and made 30 of them. Yet on Wednesday against the Lakers they attempted 23 including overtime and hit just 15 (65.2%).
1. Threes Aren't Falling
Last year the Wizards were eighth in the NBA with a 37.2 percentage from three-point range. Through four games this year they are 28th at 28.4 percent.
That is not going to last and not just because Beal and Porter haven't found their groove. Both John Wall and Mike Scott are shooting just 14.3 percent, much lower than usual. Plus, both Jason Smith and Markieff Morris are hurt to varying degrees. Yes, Smith returned on Wednesday, but a sprained right shoulder is not optimal for a right-handed shooter.
If last year and the preseason were any indication, he will eventually start lighting it up from long range.
2. Defense is a Work in Progress
Wednesday night against the Lakers was a solid defensive performance overall for the Wizards, even though they would like to have several plays back from late in the game. But there are other numbers after four games the Wizards will need to improve on.
They are allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent from the field, which ranks 25th in the NBA. The Wizards rank in the bottom half of the league in opponents three-point percentage (36%, 17th in NBA) and 22nd in defensive rebounds per game.
3. Bench Still a Mixed Bag
Given Kelly Oubre, Jr. is a starter at the moment, he doesn't count for their second unit.
And on their bench, only Jodie Meeks has passed the eye test as a major contributor and that's with his 36 percent from the field in mind. Ignore that number, however, and he's been a nice spark off the bench. He can score in bunches and we have seen that so far through four games.
The bench will be tough to evaluate fully until the Wizards get Morris back, but Tim Frazier, Mike Scott and Ian Mahinmi aren't off to the greatest of starts. All three have had their moments, but haven't made the impact we know they are capable of.
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