By Chuck LamarCSNwashington.com
Wizards fans do not panic. We all saw the debacle that was the preseason opener. The 76ers looked like a team coming off of a playoff berth and the Wizards looked like a team coming off of a 23 win season. Tonight, the Wizards get another shot to take down the Philadelphia 76ers; we get another chance to show we are not the same team that took the court on Friday. This will also be the first opportunity to take this show on the road, something that we struggled with last season. The Wizards hope to put forth a better showing this time around.
Nick Young, Maurice Evans, and Trevor Booker all should return tonight. All three players bring something that was sorely missing in the first preseason game, scoring from Young and defensive intensity from Evans and Booker.
This offseason, Nick took a lot of heat for being just a scorer but as the first game showed, the Wizards need a scorer. On Friday, the Wizards came out shooting ice cold and were never able to get into a rhythm. The 76ers had six players score in double figures to the Wizards one. The Wiz Kids struggled to get any meaningful points from their reserves. Nicks return allows Jordan Crawford to return to the role of sixth man, providing a spark off of the bench.
The defensive deficiencies from last year were still present. While, I was impressed by the defensive prowess of Chris Singleton, the 76ers still shot 50 from the field. Im not suggesting that Moe and Book make the Wizards a top ten defense. But for a team that struggles on defense, having two or your top defensive players out didnt bode well for the Wizards. The energy and effort that both of those players bring to the court specifically on the defensive end were absent on Friday.
If we fancy ourselves as a potential playoff team, chasing the 7th or 8th seed, then we have to learn how to beat teams like Philadelphia. We have to become more fundamentally sound on the defensive end. We have to win on the road. We have to play better than we did on Friday. So while, the team didnt look great the first time out and struggled mightily at times; lets not pull our Chicken Little imitation, the sky isnt falling.