Earlier this month we learned the Wizards entire slate of games for the upcoming 2013-14 season and highlighted a few of the schedule's notable matchups. Now we go a bit deeper by counting down the 10 most interesting contests.
Game No. 10: Wizards at Bobcats, January 7
Game No. 9: Wizards vs. Kings, February 9
Game No. 8: Wizards vs. Knicks, November 23
Game No. 7: Wizards vs. Warriors, January 5
Game No. 6: Wizards vs. Magic, December 2
The interest: There are plenty of rookies with which to measure Otto Porter against this season, but none more than Victor Oladipo. In the days and weeks leading up to June's NBA Draft, the high-rising D.C. native climbed the prospect charts while a vocal faction of Wizard fans stated he's the one. Instead, the Indiana guard and former DeMatha product went second overall to Orlando, one slot before Washington took the Big East Player of the Year. As for the game, it comes during an early-season stretch where the Wizards play 11 of 12 against 2013 playoff teams. Orlando is the lone exception. The Southeast Division foes split the four-game series last season.
The Magic: While the Magic are unlikely to reach the postseason in 2014, expect noticeable improvement from their youthful squad. Orlando received the better end of the multi-team trade that involved Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum thanks to center Nikola Vucevic's breakout season. Forward Tobias Harris impressed after coming on board from Milwaukee at the trading deadline in a deal for J.J. Redick. Glen Davis, Mo Harkless and Andrew Nicholson provide additional frontcourt muscle. Jameer Nelson remains the point guard, though the Magic experimented with Oladipo running the offense during summer league. It makes sense seeing as the rookie plays the same spot as Arron Afflalo, the Magic's best guard.
The stat: John Wall received ample and proper credit for his role in the Wizards second-half turnaround, but the point guard was largely a supporting play in Washington's most lopsided win. In Wall's second game back, the Wizards hammered Orlando 120-91 for their largest margin of victory on the season. Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Kevin Seraphin and A.J. Price each scored 18 points as Washington made 7 of 11 3-pointers and shot 56 percent from the floor. One of six double-figure scorers, Wall had 11 points.
The matchup: Whether Orlando made the correct call or not with Oladipo, the selection ended any debate about whether taking the defensive fiend over Porter would have been the right call for Washington one slot later. Actually, it didn't so much end the debate as table what became a heated discussion among Wizard fans pre-draft. It's likely the pro-Oladipo faction feels embolden entering this game; both rookies are going into competitive positional situations, but Oladipo will see steadier minutes at this point in the season. That is unless Washington trades away a member of its current frontcourt/swingman logjam - or Porter looks more like his normal instinctive self rather than the player pushed around during his limited Summer League run. Porter's initial role could include time in the backcourt, meaning an actual rookie v. rookie battle. Regardless of the initial results, this discussion won't end in early December.