[Thanks to Justin for today's game preview -yfbb]
Tonight, the Bulls will be at the United Center to faceoff with a similarly mediocre team, the Washington Wizards. While the Wizards are a growing organization, they still remain decent and have some young talent that seems to be the centerpieces.
When you think of the Wizards, the first thing that comes to mind is, John Wall. This 4-year guard out of Kentucky is already an elite and superstar player. At 19.5 PPG and 8.6 APG, Wall is without a doubt the leader of this offense. His upsides are tremendous like his quickness and scoring abilities, but he needs to learn to control his temper and mature a bit before he accomplishes anything significant. To contain Wall, Kirk will have to tightly guard him and have help D coming in if he is beat, which will happen.
Right behind Wall is the sophomore sidekick, Bradley Beal. Beal was the 3rd pick overall in the 2013 NBA draft and he is certainly paying off for the Wizards. At 20 years old, he is able to score 17.6 PPG. If Butler plays [he will! -yfbb], he will have no problem guarding Beal. Butler's on-ball defense can shut down mostly any player. Beal is raw talent and will soon become a superstar. These two players will be the Bulls main focus defensively, but don't count out veteran forward Trevor Ariza. Ariza is averaging a near career-high of 14 points a game and is an overall big SF at 6'8''. While Dunleavy's offensive production is thriving on the Bulls currently, he might have some trouble guarding the explosive Ariza. Defensively, Marcin Gortat is the starting center averaging 8.7 RPG and 1.5 BPG. Overall, Gortat is not much of an offensive threat and will certainly have some trouble containing Joakim, who is ranked among the best of centers.
The likely starters for Washington will be Wall, Beal, Ariza, either Nene or Booker, and Gortat at center.
As for the Bulls, it is nice to have Boozer back in the lineup. He has been our main scorer throughout the season (excluding Deng) and seems to run our offense as a whole. The likely starters will be Hinrich, Butler, Dunleavy, Boozer, and Noah. Augustin is playing nicely off the bench and will be sharing nearly equal minutes with Kirk. Butler is day to day with his inconsistent thigh, so Snell might get the start.
Hopefully the Bulls will continue the 5 game win streak, but then again hopefully not. (if you want to tank)
Tipoff will be at 7:00 CT. The game will be aired on CSN-Chicago or NBA TV. You can listen in on ESPN 1000 AM. Go Bulls!