The Wizards take to the court Monday night in Brooklyn for their fourth preseason game of the season. You can watch the game on our air (7:30 p.m., Comcast SportsNet). When you do, take note of these three points...
*Healthy bodies: We already know the Wizards (1-2) will be up against a bit at the point guard spot between now and likely Thanksgiving without John Wall in the lineup. The timeline for Nene's return from his plantar fasciitis remains unclear. Back before the start of the regular season or by opening night, shrugs. Starting with media day, these two absences, baked into the preseason cake. Neither Emeka Okafor nor Trevor Booker not playing a second during the opening three games, not so much. Chris Singleton sitting out every second of Saturday's win at Cleveland or Kevin Seraphin leaving after five minutes with a calf injury, the same. Randy Wittman already had a tough enough task figuring out how best to blend in the many new pieces with the existing youthful options already here. No Wall or Nene certainly slows the process. Not having a legitimate NBA rotation especially in the frontcourt takes the job to another level.
*The lineup: Wittman promised changes in the starting five for the third preseason game after consecutive offensively challenged and slow starts. Out went Jordan Crawford, Trevor Ariza and A.J. Price, in went Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Jannero Pargo. The Wizards trailed by eight points after the first quarter, but the game never got out of hand from there and ended with a winning result. In roles both ultimately figure to find themselves in, the rookie Beal maintained his poised and aggressive play as a starter while Crawford continued with his usual scoring knack off the bench.
The other spots, harder to gauge. Ariza's shooting touch yet to make an appearance in a Wizards uniform, making his appearance in the regular season opening starting lineup at Cleveland iffy than one might have imagined following the trade with New Orleans. At the point, Shelvin Mack has zero starts to date. He also has committed zero turnovers while Jannero Pargo is credited with 12 over the last two games.
*The captain: The Wizards will receive an early look at the new-look Nets, a franchise in a new city (Brooklyn) with a new star player (Joe Johnson) playing in a brand new arena (Barclays Center). All angles, legitimate headlines - just not the one on the minds of folks living in or rooting for the team representing the DMV. Andray Blatche now dons a Nets jersey, having joined up with Johnson, Deron Williams and Brook Lopez after receiving his walking papers (and a fat check) from the Wizards this summer after seven largely chaotic seasons. Coming off the bench for Brooklyn, Blatche has reportedly been a positive presence for the Nets, coming up with 12 points, five rebounds and the game-winning basket in the team's preseason opening 108-105 overtime win against the 76ers.