Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Jannero Pargo will start along the perimeter for the Wizards tonight as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. The trio helped ignite a stagnant offense in the second quarter of the Wizards’ 108-101 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday and Coach Randy Wittman decided to see if it could stop the team from having so many slow starts.
Beal, the third overall draft pick last June, leads the team at 16.5 points per game through the first two preseason games and will have a chance to go against No. 4 overall pick Dion Waiters, who will start for the Cavaliers.
Webster is second on the team in scoring at 15 points and has also contributed six rebounds. Pargo made his preseason debut against the Knicks and finished with nine points and matched Beal with a team-high five assists.
Pargo will have the chance to go up against his younger brother, Jeremy, a reserve for the Cavaliers. And he takes the matchup seriously.
“I’m trying to bust his [tail] if he on me,” Pargo said. “I’m being real with you. When we get home during the offseason, we always play a game of one-on-one. Since his college days. He has yet to beat me. We only play three dribbles, though. Any more than that, he got me. He’s too big. Three dribbles, he can’t get me.”
Kevin Seraphin and Jan Vesely will remain the starters at center and power forward, but Wittman admitted that he doesn’t “have much other choice right now.” A.J. Price, Jordan Crawford and Trevor Ariza were all moved to the bench and Wittman said the changes were made because the other players have performed well, but he also wants to see different groups together. Price, Crawford and Ariza got two games together, but Wittman said that isn’t necessarily the case for Beal, Pargo and Webster.
“It’s not set in stone that way,” he said.
Emeka Okafor is still recovering from a stomach virus that caused him to lose 12 pounds. Okafor said that he was back to his weight when he was a freshman in college. He blamed the illness on eating a room service burger at the George Mason Inn on the last day of training camp. Okafor was long gone when George Mason upset Connecticut in 2006, but he becomes the latest Husky to get sick around the Patriots.
The Wizards expect Okafor to practice fully on Sunday in New York and he is feeling better after participating in Saturday’s shootaround. Already without Nene and Trevor Booker, the Wizards also lost Chris Singleton, who developed a sore left shoulder in the loss to the Knicks.
Wittman said the depleted front line will allow Brian Cook, Shavlik Randolph and Earl Barron to have more of an opportunity to earn the final available roster spot.
“It’s not the best-case scenario, but at some point during the year, you always run through periods of time like this,” Wittman said. “It also gives me an idea of a guy that maybe sits for seven to 10 days and I’ll have confidence that he can do it the right way.”