The Wizards were given a gift over the weekend, when Giannis Antetokounmpo couldn't play for the Milwaukee Bucks because of illness. Tuesday, Jimmy Butler isn't expected to be with the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center for the same reason.
According to Bulls Insider Vince Goodwill of CSNchicago.com:
Butler, who has scored 40, 52 and 42 since Dec. 28, only scored one point on 0-for-6 shooting in the Bulls' 109-94 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. He played just 28 minutes.
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With Dwyane Wade (rest) expected not to play in the second game of a back-to-back either, the matchup with the Wizards (18-18) will look significantly different as they try to get over .500 for the first time since November 2015.
Rajon Rondo has been replaced in the starting lineup by Michael Carter-Williams and hasn't played in the last five games. Rondo is 1-for-16 in the two meetings with the Wizards, who won the last time to put the season series at 1-1.
The first time these teams met, the Wizards didn't have John Wall as he was being held out of back-to-back games and Bradley Beal had a sore hamstring.
Based on what took place last season on Feb. 24, however, the Wizards' core players should know better than take victory for granted. The Bulls had injuries galore -- no Butler or Derrick Rose at the time -- but E'Twaun Moore took over and led seven players in double figures of a 109-104 upset of a team desperately trying to qualify for the postseason.
They fell behind by 12 points to Milwaukee but came back to win 107-102.
There's been a lot of hype around this year's rookie class in the NBA. Now, we've had a chance to hear from the rookies themselves, and they're apparently very high on Dallas Mavericks guard Dennis Smith Jr.
39 rookies took part in a survey for NBA.com, and Smith was voted most likely to win Rookie of the Year, receiving 25.7 percent of the vote. Lonzo Ball came in second at 20 percent, and Markelle Fultz followed at 17.1 percent.
Smith spent one year at North Carolina State before being taken 9th overall by the Mavs.
Keep in mind though, the history of this poll doesn't have much success when it comes to predicting the award. The rookies surveyed have predicted the Rookie of the Year just once since 2007 when Kevin Durant won the award.
Last year, they picked Timberwolves guard Kris Dunn, who already was traded to the Bulls this offseason, and the award went to Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon.
Granted, there were very few who would've predicted a second round pick like Brogdon to win Rookie of the Year.
Vegas also has a slightly different idea as to who will win the award too.
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Utah's Donovan Mitchell was voted as the "biggest steal" in the draft based on where he was taken. Mitchell was picked 13th by the Jazz.
Phoenix's Josh Jackson was voted as the top defender in the rookie class. The former Kansas star received 26.3 percent of the vote, followed by Golden State's Jordan Bell (23.7 percent) and Mitchell (21.1 percent).
Ball and Jayson Tatum were also voted the rookies that will have the best career.
The Wizards will play the New York Knicks two times during the 2017-18 preseason, once at home at the Capital One Arena and again on the road at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks confirmed the news on Tuesday in a tweet of their full schedule, though the matchups with New York were previously reported by CSN. Now that we have the dates for their games against the Knicks, here's how the Wizards' preseason schedule looks:
Oct. 6 vs. New York Knicks, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m.
The Wizards then start their regular season at home against the Philadelphia 76ers on Oct. 18. That will be the first NBA game for No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz.
It's always hard to predict who will actually play in the preseason, but the Wizards' preseason set is pretty decent. The Cavs are the defending conference champions and have several stars in LeBron James, Kyrie Irving (for now) and Kevin Love. The Knicks have Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, making them worth watching despite their record. And the Heat just barely missed the playoffs last season and could be the Wizards' biggest threat to defending as division champs.
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