The Wizards travel to Boston Wednesday to take on a surging Celtics team that currently boasts the best record in the Eastern Conference at 8-1.
While these two have had notable clashes in the past, these rosters have been almost entirely overhauled.
The Morris brothers have moved on from both clubs. Isaiah Thomas went from Boston to Cleveland, to Los Angeles, to Denver, and now to Washington. Kelly Oubre is thriving in Phoenix, and Kelly Olynyk is now in South Beach. Avery Bradley is on the Lakers. Jae Crowder is on the Grizzlies. Marcin Gortat is out of the league, and Al Horford is in the City of Brotherly Love.
There are, however, similar faces on both rosters with Bradley Beal (26.1 PPG) thriving in the nation's capital and Marcus Smart, scrappy as can be, still as the energizer for Brad Stevens.
Some of the new faces on both rosters have been instrumental in reshaping the future of both teams.
Kemba Walker (25 PPG) departed Charlotte to join the Celtics this past offseason and has been a welcome addition to the city as well as the team.
In Washington, it's fair to say the Wizards have added the most talked-about NBA rookie on the planet, in Japanese forward Rui Hachimura (13.6 PPG).
While Pelicans' star Zion Williamson is the biggest name to join the NBA since LeBron James, has yet to make his regular season debut.
Hachimura, on the other hand, has exceeded all expectations in D.C. and is now looked upon as one of the building blocks of this Wizards' core to help the squad rejoin the Eastern Conference's elite after missing the postseason last year.
Hachimura's first career game in Boston will be a memorable one.
While these rosters have changed immensely, there is still a semblance of a rivalry between these two franchises, and a standout performance from Hachimura and more importantly, a win, could help spark what was once considered a heated rivalry.
Boston's roster does not feature any top tier, big men. Enes Kanter was brought in during the offseason for offensive rebounding and a scoring punch. Robert Williams is still raw and drops jaws night-in and night-out but is mainly used as a rim protector and for lobs. Daniel Theis will most likely get the start for Boston at center but the German big-man is relatively undersized at 6'8'.
Hachimura will have the opportunity Wednesday night to be the difference-maker with his unique blend of size, skill, and ability to play multiple positions.
Boston can score with any team in the NBA. With Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown in the fold, the team's perimeter defense is as good if not better than anyone's. But in the frontcourt, they struggle. Jayson Tatum (19.4 PPG) is an exceptional scorer but is still developing on the defensive end.
Swingmen that can play multiple positions have been the Celtics' Achilles heel this season.
Let's take a look at the leading scorers for each of their opponents through the first 9 games of the season.
10/23 at Philadelphia: Ben Simmons (6'10') 24 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds.
10/25 vs. Toronto: Pascal Siakam (6'9') 33 points, 8 rebounds.
10/26 at New York: R.J. Barrett (6'6') 26 points, 7 rebounds.
10/30 vs. Milwaukee: Khris Middleton (6'7') 26 points, 6 rebounds.
11/1 vs. New York: Marcus Morris (6'8') 29 points, 7 rebounds.
11/5 at Cleveland: Collin Sexton (6'1') 21 points.
11/7 at Charlotte: Miles Bridges (6'6') 18 points, 10 rebounds.
11/9 at San Antonio: DeMar DeRozan (6'6') 22 points.
11/11 vs. Dallas: Luka Doncic (6'7') 34 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists.
With one outlier (Sexton), you can notice the trend. The Celtics struggle to defend swingmen that can switch between the 3 and the 4.
Rui Hachimura (6'8') should thrive against Boston on Wednesday night and prove to be yet another task for the Celtics' frontcourt defense.
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