Washington Wizards point guard John Wall will miss his first game of the season tonight, citing personal reasons, and the already-struggling Wizards will be forced to adjust to playing without him.
Wall is averaging 21.2 points per game so far this season and scored a dominant 30 against the Nets on December 1st. He also averages 8.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game, and is an elite player in the league.
Without him in the mix tonight in Atlanta, rookie Hawks point guard Trae Young will be looking to take advantage of the gap, and No. 2 guy Bradley Beal will be expected to step up and support his Wizards team with a few more touches than usual.
The Wizards are 10-14, a disappointing start for the star-studded Eastern Conference team, and will be needing a win tonight as they work to take over the eighth spot in the conference, currently occupied by Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets.
That being said, here’s a look at what the Wizards could be working with tonight in Atlanta without John Wall:
Wizards Projected Starting Lineup Without John Wall
PG: Tomas Satoransky
SG: Bradley Beal
SF: Otto Porter, Jr.
PF: Kelly Oubre, Jr.
C: Thomas Bryant
Notice in the Twitter post above of the Wizards’ shootaround, Tomas Satoransky is featured. That’s likely because he’ll be getting his first start of the year at the point guard position as John Wall’s backup.
Satoransky averages just 5 points per game in his typical 15 minutes, along with 2.7 assists and 1.8 rebounds. With the increase in minutes that he’ll be getting tonight, though, who knows what he can do?
Wizards Could get Third-Straight win Tonight
Though the Wizards have so far been among the most disappointing teams this season, having been a favorite to compete in the stacked Eastern Conference given their talented roster, they’re looking for their third straight win tonight in Atlanta. If they can get it, even without Wall, it’d be a promising sign for the drama-embroiled team.
There have been trade rumors that have seemed a bit like threats as the team has struggled to get wins, and the frustration of the many talented players on the roster (including Wall, Beal, Morris, and Oubre) has been visible and palpable. On top of that, the team has battled injury and non-basketball-related gossip that has contributed to derailing them and keeping them at the bottom of the conference.
We’ll see if they can pull it out tonight in Atlanta. The two teams will face off at 7:30 pm CST.