The Los Angeles Lakers are currently winners of nine games straight. They finally head home after a four-game road trip culminating in a New Orleans homecoming for Anthony Davis. Nonetheless, the Washington Wizards have won three of their last five. With their trip to Staples Center, a few former Lakers will be making their return.
Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga were all drafted by the purple and gold. Isaiah Thomas had a brief stint with the Lakers as well. The Lakers and the Wizards will be meeting for the first time this season, having split the last two season series. Let’s take a look at the Wizards and how they match up.
The Washington Wizards are led by Bradley Beal. The former third overall pick is currently fourth in the NBA in scoring (28.9 points per game). He ranks 17th in the league in 3-pointers made, with 47. For reference, the closest Laker is LeBron James (ranked 37th with 35 3-pointers made).
Washington has one of the best offenses in the league currently (second in offensive efficiency). Beal has plenty of support from Davis Bertans, Bryant, Wagner, and Thomas. Also, Gonzaga rookie product Rui Hachimura has had a decent rookie campaign so far chipping in 12.1 points and five rebounds per game. The two former Laker bigs have been doing well for themselves. Bryant is averaging nearly 15 points and eight rebounds per game. Essentially, Wagner has been a revelation for the Wizards, improving his scoring numbers (4.8 last year to 12.3 this year, 41% from the field last year, to 65% this year), outside stroke (46% from 3 with two and a half attempts per game), and rebounds (two to five).
A glaring problem with the Wizards is their defense. Currently, they have the worst defense in the league, giving up 114 points per 100 possessions. In comparison, the Lakers only allow 103.3 (eighth overall). The Lakers are a top ten team in offensive efficiency as well.
I would want to see how the Lakers take advantage of the Wizards’ defense. They are 12th in opponents scoring within five feet (61.8%). From beyond the arc, the Wizards are also allowing their opponents to shoot 37.2%.
It would be interesting to see how the Lakers defend Washington’s guards. Ever since losing Avery Bradley, they have had an issue in doing so. Beal has the potential to light them up. Thomas is also averaging 12 points per game which can be an issue if Rondo is on the court for an extended period of time.
The Lakers take on the Wizards at Staples Center at 7:30 PM. Follow Lakers Outsiders for updates.