Wizards

Rui Hachimura to battle top rookies Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro in Wizards vs. Heat

Wizards

As the Wizards travel to Miami to take on the Heat on the second leg of a back-to-back, standout rookie Rui Hachimura is set to square off against two of his chief competitors in the rookie of the year race. 

2019 first-round pick Tyler Herro and undrafted former G-League star Kendrick Nunn have played a large part in the Heat's 15-6 start. 

TUNE IN NOTE: The Wizards and Heat tip-off on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington

But Miami is one of the most difficult teams to play against. They're tremendous defensively thanks to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo anchoring Erik Spolestra's scheme, and they consistently put pressure on defenses by driving to the hoop. 

The Wizards put on a very impressive performance against the Sixers, but they can't expect to play any worse and come away with a win on a back-to-back in South Beach. 

Here's a breakdown of who you should know heading into this matchup between the Wizards and Heat. 

Tyler Herro-Kendrick Nunn rookie duo

One of the biggest weaknesses for the Heat over the last few years was shot creation. Against good defenses, the Heat routinely struggled to generate good looks and remained at the bottom of the Eastern Conference playoff picture because of it. 

Signing Jimmy Butler was a great start, but they still needed more creation on offense to make legitimate noise this season they were going to have to find offense from somewhere other than him. 

 

So far this season, they've found it in Herro and Nunn. 

Herro is averaging 13.6 points off the bench on 39 percent from three while Nunn is posting an impressive 15.3 points and 3.4 assists while starting every game for the Heat as an undrafted rookie who played in the G-League all of last season.

Rui Hachimura exceeding everyone's expectations in his rookie season and is coming off one of his best games yet in the form of a 27-point, seven-rebound outing against Joel Embiid and the Sixers Thursday night. 

If it weren't for Ja Morant's greatness, Hachimura, Nunn and Herro would be at the forefront of the Rookie of the Year Award conversation. It should be a treat to watch these young players go after each other Friday night. 

Jimmy Butler

While the rookies have garnered most of the attention in Miami so far this season, it's been Butler quietly driving everything on both ends of the floor. 

He's an elite defender who will almost certainly be tasked with defending Bradley Beal, and he's a force on the offensive end who's incredibly difficult to keep out of the paint. 

Butler's the type of player who will constantly put pressure on the Wizards Friday night, and on a back-to-back following the biggest win of the year, that's a bad mix for Washington. 

It's hard to expect the Wizards to come out and put together a winning effort after such an improbable win over Philly, but you never know. Getting a big win in front of your home fans is the kind of thing that can lead to a run of multiple victories. 

The Wizards and Heat tip-off on Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

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