Wizards Win, Finalize Roster
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The Wizards closed out the preseason with a convincing 101-82 win over the Cavaliers in Cincinnati. The win is only the second in seven exhibition contests for Washington, but gives them some positive momentum heading into the regular season opener next week.
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards, stuffing the box score with 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Ariza getting plenty of opportunity with rookie Otto Porter, Martell Webster and Chris Singleton sitting out. Al Harrington gave a glimpse of exactly what is expected of him, scoring 17 points in only 19 minutes, including three or eight shooting beyond the arc. Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were the only Cleveland players in double figures with 19 and 17 points respectively.
With 15 guaranteed contracts, there really never was any suspense as to who would make the regular season roster. According to hoopsrumors.com, Washington will waive forward Josh Childress, Pops Mensah-Bonsu and Xavier Silas.
Washington seems much improved this season, but the return of center Emeka Okafor could be the key to avoiding another slow start. If Okafor cannot return by the Holidays, the Wizards should strongly consider making a deal. We have discussed the possibility of Minnesota stretch four Derrick Williams, but with the Timberwolves extending him into next season, that ship may have sailed. Our friends at Grantland also believe a deal could be looming, suggesting Denver power forward Kenneth Faried could be an option.
Looking for previews of the 2013-’14 season? We have a few recommendations;
ESPN Player profiles of the Wizards in excellent, but requires Insider subscription
The Wizards regular season opener is Wednesday against the Pistons in Detroit. Washington returns for the home opener on Friday November 1st against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Verizon Center. The Wizards wrap up a busy first five days of the season with a Sunday evening game (Nov 3) against the defending champion Heat in Miami.
Tom Blaz is a co-owner of the DC Sports Report and The Recruiting Eagle, which focuses on Athletics at Auburn University. You may follow Tom on twitter at #RecruitingEagle