What have the Washington Wizards been up to since the Raptors blew them out 127-108 on Dec. 1? Not much besides more losing and pulling off the most high-salaried one-for-one trade in NBA history. When the Wizards sent Gilbert Arenas ($17.7 million this season) to Orlando for Rashard Lewis ($19.5 million this season), it seemed like to trade two people would make in an NBA 2K11 online league. It also didn’t seem like a trade that would likely help either team in the short term, although the long-term chemistry and financial benefits for the Wizards were obvious — Lewis’ contract is a year shorter and his final year isn’t fully guaranteed.
While the “new-look Wizards” have continued to lose with impunity, Lewis has quietly been playing his best ball in a couple of years since he became another brick for John Wall. In 11 games with the Wiz, he’s averaging 13.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field. If Magic fans are paying attention, they’re probably wondering where that player was when they needed him in Orlando for the past season and a half. It might not be too soon to state that the Wizards emphatically won this trade — particularly considering what a bust Arenas has been in Orlando. Leave it to Magic GM Otis Smith to turn what was once the worst contract in NBA history into a worse player with an even worse contract. Nice job, Otis!
Toronto: Sonny Weems, Leandro Barbosa, Peja Stojakovic and Reggie Evans all didn’t travel with the team to Washington.
Washington: Andray Blatche (right shoulder) and Nick Young (left knee) are both considered probably for tonight.
1. Will Andrea Bargnani break into the top 10 rankings in scoring average by the end of the season? He’s 15th right now with 21.9 PPG while Eric Gordon is 10th with 23.7 PPG
2. Will the Raptors end up with the league’s worst defence for the second season in a row? After a promising start, they’ve sunk to 28th overall in Defensive Rating with 111.5 points allowed per 100 possessions.
3. Will John Wall’s road to stardom be blocked by his poor shooting? He’s shooting under 40 percent from the field and under 30 percent from three-point range.
4. Remember when people used to compare Yi Jianlian to Andrea Bargnani? Now, that seems more ridiculous than those comparisons between Bargnani and Dirk Nowitzki.
5. Do you think Javale McGee in the dunk contest will make us lost back wistfully on the Chris Andersen dunk contest experience?
Start time: 7:00 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Jose Calderon, DeMar DeRozan, Linas Kleiza, Amir Johnson, Andrea Bargnani
Washington: John Wall, Nick Young, Rashard Lewis, Al Thornton, Javale McGee
Tonight’s pregame song is “Harder Better Faster Stronger” by Daft Punk. This isn’t an official video (I don’t think they released one for this song) but it’s pretty damn cool nonetheless. Plus, it sums up nicely how the Raptors will need to play if they’re going to beat the Wizards tonight.