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Do the Knicks have anyone who should scare the Wizards?

Do the Knicks have anyone who should scare the Wizards?

As the Wizards look to snap a three-game losing streak, they go up against a Knicks team that may not have a single player Washington should be worried about. 

New York enters Monday night sporting the 28th-ranked offense, the 26th ranked defense and a bottom-three net rating. 

Would you expect anything less from the Knicks?

While the Knicks may not have many players that scare Scott Brooks and co., the Wizards may not have many players in general by the time these two teams tip-off.

Isaiah Thomas' status for the game is unknown after he was ejected for entering the stands Saturday night to confront a Sixers fan. If he isn't available for the game, he'd join John Wall, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, CJ Miles, Jordan McRae and Moe Wagner on the inactive list. 

So without further ado, here's a look at a couple of Knicks the Wizards will need to focus on limiting, though they shouldn't have much trouble doing so.

Marcus Morris

The Wizards can thank Marcus Morris for Davis Bertans. The Spurs decided to offload Bertans in order to create enough cap space to fit in a two-year, $20 million deal they agreed to with Morris.

But when the Knicks came in and offered him a one-year, $15 million contract, Morris broke off his deal with the Spurs and went to New York. The Bertans trade had already been executed, so the Spurs were left without either Morris or Bertans. 

For the Knicks, Morris leads the team in scoring at 18.4 points per game and is shooting and incredible 46.6 percent from three on 5.8 attempts. Due to injury, the Wizards don't have many forwards that can match his strength inside or possess the length to bother his high release jumper. 

My personal preference would be Admiral Schofield. He's by far the Wizards' most versatile defender and has played pretty well. I'd like to see him get more minutes against the immense amount of power forwards the Knicks have, and given the injury situation, Brooks may not have a choice but to play him. 

RJ Barrett

Barrett may be the only ray of hope Knicks fans have for a bright future, and so far in his rookie season, he's had to play much of his time out of position. 

The Knicks don't have many capable point guards to handle the ball, so they've turned to Barrett as their de-facto playmaker. It's yielded mixed results as you'd expect from a rookie wing playing the most difficult position in the game. 

Through his first 29 games as a pro, Barrett is averaging 13.9 points 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists on 38.9 percent shooting from the floor and 30.3 percent from three. 

He'll come out firing to start the game and continue to put up shots whether they're going in or not. It'll be important for the Wizards to keep him out of the paint and force him to be a jump shooter. 

So while the Wizards somehow found a way to get more injured over the last week, they should be able to beat a Knicks team that is truly terrible. 

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If the Knicks miss out on Kyrie Irving, could they target Bradley Beal?

If the Knicks miss out on Kyrie Irving, could they target Bradley Beal?

The Knicks' plans to court Kyrie Irving may be thwarted by the other team in their city. New reporting by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski links the Celtics free agent with the Brooklyn Nets.

If Irving did choose the Nets over his other summer suitors, that would leave a hole in the Knicks' plans to bring in multiple stars with the hope of contending for a title next season. 

None of this would concern the Wizards unless the Knicks decided to hunt for an alternative star guard on the trade market, which could lead them to Bradley Beal. 

Consider this bit of prescient analysis, from NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig several weeks ago. 

New York likely would want to wait for Kevin Durant to sign in free agency as the long-running rumors suggest. Then the question is who gets the second max slot.

Kyrie Irving? Certainly possible. We know the Celtics are out. One source said don't sleep on the Nets getting involved.

Kemba Walker is a New York native. The All-NBA candidate is also someone the Hornets might do whatever it costs to keep.

There's also Beal, who would make a great fit next to a fellow perimeter threat in Durant.

The Knicks' assets include the third pick in 2019, which is a projected tier above the fourth slot since it means landing no less than Duke guard RJ Barrett. New York also has impressive rookie center Mitchell Robinson, point guard Dennis Smith and an unprotected first-round pick from Dallas that projects to convey in 2021.

If the Knicks decline to part with Robinson and three, the Wizards would have to consider Barrett, the top recruit in the 2018 class and Duke's leading scorer, a future All-Star. They might.

Beal—who did not make the All-NBA teams despite averaging 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists this season—would make an attractive option for any team seeking a guard who's both a bonafide star and still has room to grow. 

But why would Washington even consider moving a home-grown talent like Beal when they're not faced with the spectre of paying him a supermax contract?

If the Wizards believe they are multiple years away from contending for a title, Beal's prime might not be as valuable to them as it would be to a team that's going for broke next season. 

And, in turn, a rookie's development might line up better with the timeline of the Wizards' rebuild. Especially if that rookie is a near-certain star like Barrett. 

How such a trade would happen is complicated by Washington's front-office vacancy. Interim president Tommy Sheppard has filled in for Ernie Grunfeld since his dismissal and is likely to make decisions for the team on draft night

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Thomas Bryant's game-winner came on a play Scott Brooks once used to beat the Wizards

Thomas Bryant's game-winner came on a play Scott Brooks once used to beat the Wizards

The Wizards won their game in London against the Knicks Thursday in bizarre fashion, the game-winner coming via a goaltending call on a Thomas Bryant shot attempt in the paint.

And according to Bradley Beal, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks has called the play Bryant "scored" on before...to beat the Wizards in 2015. 

"It's crazy. I remember Coach drew that up against us when he was in OKC," Beal told NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller. 

On Jan. 21, 2015, when Brooks was still the head coach of the Thunder, Russell Westbrook scored a layup with one second left in overtime to give Oklahoma City a 105-103 victory over Washington. 

(Watch the video above to see a side-by-side comparison of Westbrook's basket and Bryant's game-winner.)

Fast forward to Jan. 17, 2019, and the play succeeded again, but this time for the Wizards. However, it went quite differently the second time around. 

"Russ started (in the backcourt), got a full head of steam on me and laid the ball up to win the game," Beal said. "And it was pretty much the same situation, but I ended up slipping. And I just thank God (Bryant) actually played the game of basketball and rolled to the basket. And I just had to trust him to be able to make the right play."

And even though the ball didn't go through the hoop, Bryant ultimately made the right play to give the Wizards a hard-fought, comeback win across the pond.

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