Jeremy Hyman | WashingtonWizards.com
Despite knowing many of the destinations before the official release of the preseason schedule on Wednesday, we now officially get a chance to take a look at the full seven game slate of Wizards preseason games.
The preseason is normally a time for a team to begin coming together. A time for the coaches to start implementing their sets, their concepts, their philosophies. It's a time for some of the younger players and fringe players to try and make a case for making the final roster.
The preseason is also a time the NBA likes to try and expand their fan base by having teams play games in cities that don't have their own team. Some teams will play in near-by cities, some teams will travel the world to showcase their talent globally.
The Wizards get to do both.
Let's first look at the stops of
last year's preseason schedule
. The highlight was a trip to Kansas City to play the Heat at Sprint Center. I remember getting excited thinking about getting a chance to go eat some Kansas City BBQ. And while I'm certainly not going to knock KC BBQ, lets now take a look at
this year's slate
Rio de Janeiro, first trip back to Baltimore since 1999, Wall returns to Rupp Arena, two home games vs. the Nets & Heat, a trip to Cincinnati, and a preview of opening night in Detroit.
The Wizards and Bulls will get to play the first ever NBA game in Brazil on October 12th at the HSBC arena in Rio de Janeiro. With Nene expected to be displayed front and center in his home country, it should make for a proud and powerful moment for the Wizards big man. The team will likely be there for a few days and the idea is to help spread the game of basketball in Brazil and in South America.
This game alone would make for an exciting preseason.
Three days later they welcome the defending world-champion Miami Heat to Verizon Center, which preseason or not should display some incredible talent and high octane basketball, even if it's short-lived.
Two days after playing the Heat, the Wizards return to Baltimore for the inaugural Baltimore Basketball Classic at Baltimore Arena. This will be their first trip back to the Charm City in 14 years. The franchise moved to Baltimore prior to the 1963-64 season and played their for ten years before moving to Landover, Maryland. They will take on the New York Knicks, who will be bringing Baltimore native Carmelo Anthony. This should be a really exciting night for both teams, the city of Baltimore, and the NBA.
These three games alone would make for a great preseason.
Two days later, the Wizards will head to Lexington, Kentucky to the famed Rupp Arena to take on the New Orleans Pelicans. A showdown between the two #1 picks out of Kentucky (2010 - John Wall, 2012 - Anthony Davis) should make for an electric atmosphere as Big Blue Nation will be out in numbers cheering on their former stars. Wall often still talks with his former coach John Calipari and even though it will only be a preseason game, anyone who knows Wall knows he'll want to give the Kentucky fans some entertainment when returning to his former venue. It is also the night after Big Blue Madness at Rupp Arena, which is a basically a big party to kick off the team's 2013-14 campaign.
So in a one week span, the Wizards will play in Rio, host the champs, then head to Baltimore and Lexington.
Besides this world-traveling week, the Wizards will host the Brooklyn Nets in Jason Kidd's first "sort of real" game as a Head Coach on October 8th. Kidd did coach the Summer League team and while preseason is a step up from Summer League, we still can't call this his debut because the game doesn't count.
They then finish preseason with a back-to-back set as they preview the season opener on October 22nd in Detroit vs. the new-look Pistons and then head to another non-NBA city as they take on the Cavs in Cincinnati on the 23rd.
For a month full of games that don't count, it's ok to admit if you're at least a little excited for preseason to start.
Stay tuned to MonumentalNetwork.com and WashingtonWizards.com throughout October for plenty of coverage from the numerous sites.