John Wall will go under the knife for arthroscopic surgery on his knee, which may keep him out for 2 months, maybe more. With a 27-22 record, good for 6th in the East, they’re at risk of dropping out of playoff contention if Bradley Beal can’t carry the load. Beal has been their guy this season; partially because of how Wall’s injuries have inflicted his game, but also because Beal has avoided injuries of his own.
Nevertheless, the Wizards are always a pleasure to compete against because of the extracurriculars they bring to their games. Whether it's claiming the throne before they accomplish anything, being concerned with meaningless player rankings, or planning “funerals”, they're truly the hypebeast of the league.
Their last few matchups with the Dubs featured some theatrics. In 2016, Steph Curry and Wall exchanged 51 and 41 points in D.C. In 2017, Curry exploded for 42 points, holding Wall to just 20. And in the most recent matchup, Beal and Draymond Green got tangled up and brought the scrap into the first row. In a series, I’d give the Wizards a game, but for the most part, they’ll be too in their own heads to truly contend.
Giannis is just incredible. He’s one of the few players that the Warriors really respect the hell out of. However, the pieces around him are still shaky.
Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, and Jabari Parker (hoping he’s healthy) are all out matched by the Warriors counterparts, and the Bucks bench isn’t even worth talking about. There’s also the game within the game of Delly and Steph's Finals rematch (he isn’t well liked by the Warriors.)
But Giannis is amazing and at his best can make everyone's job easier. He’s also a matchup nightmare. He’s too tall to be guarded by a 3, but too shifty to keep a big man on him. The Warriors counter with KD, who mirrors Giannis’ body type, and can make things just as difficult for the Bucks. What’s most admirable about the Bucks is their demeanor, and it starts with Giannis. His rookie year, he ran through Milwaukee to get to a game because his car wouldn’t start. But for all young stars, the stage of the Finals can change their career trajectories, for better or for worse. So while it may hurt him in the short term to lose on the biggest stage, in the long term it’ll surely sharpen his iron.
Much like the Bucks, the amount of young talent on the Sixers is entrancing. Ben Simmons has carved out a surprisingly effective role for the modern NBA, given his shooting woes, and Joel Embiid, if he can stay healthy, could be a generational player.
Trusting the process got them here but also credit some solid drafting & development of starters Dario Saric and Robert Covington. But there is serious concern with last year's #1 pick, Markelle Fultz. His shooting shoulder has been messed up since preseason, and from what recent footage has shown, his form just looks awful.
But the Dubs are the kind of competition that can teach these players a lot, whether or not they're playing (sorry Fultz). For now though, they just need to do as Embiid says and “Trust the Process”.