John Wall Had Major Success Against the 76ers Last Year; Can He Continue That Success This Year?

3:53 PM, Jan 13, 2012   |    comments
Holiday is more of a complete player than John Wall. Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Last season against the Philadelphia 76ers, John Wall averaged 23 points, 11 assists and -- the best part -- 47 percent from the field. What is the percent chance of having a stat line like that reoccur tonight? I'll go seven percent.

Anyways, its been awhile since I previewed a team. The Wizards will play back-to-back games with the Sixers on Friday and Saturday. I'm very familiar with the Philly pro basketball team. Last season I blogged for Philadunkia under ESPN True Hoop's umbrella. Here's how I see the matchup.

Why are the Sixers 7-3 on the season?

Head coach Doug Collins is preaching the old San Antonio Spurs method of unselfish basketball and defense; and its working to a T. Philadelphia's leading scorer is backup point guard Lou Williams (15 ppg) and the team has by far the best scoring defense in the NBA (allowing only 85.5 per game).

The Sixers are the opposite from the Wizards in two ways: They don't worry about what the box score says and they actually, genuinely, thoroughly enjoy each others company. Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala serve as professional figures other young guys look up too, while Lou Williams serves as the team jester. Their roles are perfectly carved out by Colllins, while the Wizards must hold a players only meeting to determine such a thing.

The Sixers are just a fun team to be around because they have confidence in each other. There is no "go-to guy" in Philly, which makes them all the more dangerous for a team like Washington. Not knowing who could take over that night offensively is actually one of the teams biggest strengths, but will cause problems in the star-laden postseason. With the way the season is going though, a three seed in the eastern conference is not out of the question for the 76ers.

Would point guard Jrue Holiday be the best player on the Wizards?

Yes. The 21-year-old has had an extra year of seasoning over John Wall and his statistics this season (14.6 ppg, 4.8 apg, 46 percent shooting) aren't particularly mind-blowing. The most important thing Holiday brings to the table is his balanced attributes. He's turning into a smart basketball player in the half-court, is quick enough to run effective fast breaks with his young 76ers, can stroke three-pointers and has a nasty left-handed finger roll.

I think if you plugged in Holiday on this Wizards team, they'd become better right away. Holiday can adapt to a basketball game while Wall is stuck in the fourth gear. Other Wizards try and play near Wall's pace but it causes turnovers, confusion and hatred towards each other.

Wall may trump Holiday in the defensive category, but can you picture the Wizards "star" adjusting his style of play for the better of the team? Granted, we always have to say, Holiday does have some talent around him to distribute too, but I'm not necessarily talking about that. I'm talking about Wall becoming more of a balanced player.

Could Wall ever shoot 46 percent from the floor with his fragmented jumper? Could he cut down on turnovers -- averaging almost four a game this year. Could you actually feel confident in him running a halfcourt set for majority of a game? Friday and Saturday will be an interesting compare-and-contrast type of game with Holiday and Wall.

Where do the Wizards actually matchup well against Philly?

*The Sixers center Spencer Hawes is off to a career best start, nearing the top of the league in field goal percentage at 61.8. But Hawes is questionable due to a lower back injury. Flip Saunders' offense tonight should revolve around JaVale McGee. Philly struggles against tall centers in the paint on offense and defense.

*Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker should be able to match the energy of the Sixers up-tempo duo in Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner. A solid point Wizards broadcaster Phil Chanier brought up about Singelton and Booker is that they are both the type of players who get under your skin. Whether its playing a little chippy or talking smack, these two are rarely quiet on the court.

*And that's it. This improved Philly team has zero excuses to lose to Washington in either game.

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