The Scoreboard is a sports feature spotlighting the winners and losers, the champs and chumps, the highlights and lowlights, and anything in between, of sports in the D.C. area.
Wizards of the Preseason
There’s a rule of thumb in pro sports that you shouldn’t take much stock in preseason results. A winning preseason record does not guarantee a successful regular season, nor does a poor preseason mean that the team is doomed.
But the Washington Wizards should head into their season opener against the Miami Heat with some confidence after going 4-1 over the week-and-a-half-long preseason, which culminated in a 140-111 victory over the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association on Sunday, Oct. 12. Rookie Troy Brown Jr. filled his stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 27 minutes of play.
Bradley Beal averaged 17 points per game in four preseason contests, while point guard John Wall finished with 15.2 points and 7.0 assists per game.
“Overall, it’s been a good training camp,” coach Scott Brooks told reporters after the final preseason game. “It’s a good way to close the preseason with everybody playing well.”
(For what it’s worth, the Wizards also went 4-1 in the preseason last year, and finished a disappointing eighth in the Eastern Conference.)
The local NFL team is the definition of mediocre—or average, if you’re being generous. A week after being dominated by the New Orleans Saints, 43-19, the team returned to FedExField on Oct. 14 and upset the Carolina Panthers, 23-17, to improve to 3-2 in the season and stay in first place in the dreadful NFC East.
As Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post points out, the team is 5-5 in its last 10 games, 10-10 in its last 20, and 28-28-1 over its last 57. Steinberg also notes in his Oct. 15 newsletter that Dan Snyder’s team is 9-5 as home underdogs since 2015, and 8-5 as home favorites.
“Seriously, even in a stupidly unpredictable league,” Steinberg wrote, the team is “a special brand of wacky.”
In this season and last, Washington has a 2-7 record after wins. Its next game is against the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 21.
Life has been a little different for Capitals winger Tom Wilson since being suspended 20 games by NHL’s Department of Player Safety for an illegal check on St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist during a preseason game. He can still practice with the team but cannot go on road trips and is, in his own words, “surrounded by lawyers.”
Wilson, whose physical style of play has resulted in suspensions before, but none as long as his current ban, is not eligible to play until Nov. 21. His appeal hearing for the suspension is scheduled for Oct. 25 in New York.
“This is tough. It’s a tough process, mentally for sure,” Wilson told reporters on Oct. 14. “There’s a lot of ups and downs … but right now, I have to assume it’s going to be 20 games, and we’ll go from there and see what happens, but i just take it every day. I don’t want to get out of shape. I want to stay in shape. … I’m training like I am today expecting that maybe I’ll be in there tomorrow. I just have to have that mindset.”
The suspension, his fourth in 105 games, has also forced Wilson to consider changes to his game.
“The hitting aspect of the game is definitely changing a little bit, and I’ve got to be smart out there and I’ve got to play within the rules,” he told The Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan. “And at the end of the day, no one wants to be in the situation that I’m in right now. I’ve got to change something because obviously it’s not good to be out and not helping your team.”