Collins is having the best year of his career, Young’s pull-ups are breaking defenses and, with some help from the schedule, Atlanta’s defense has improved since DeAndre Hunter, its best perimeter defender, had wrist surgery.
Washington Wizards: B
- Record: 14-8
- The basics: 20th in offense, 11th in defense, 18th in point differential
- One notable stat: The Wizards’ analytics-friendly defense allows the most midrange shots and fewest 3s in the NBA.
- One reason for optimism: There’s obvious room for improvement offensively: Washington is shooting just 32.4 percent on wide-open 3, the third-worst mark in the NBA, and eventually you have to think Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans and Corey Kispert will start to make their clean looks.
- One reason for optimism: As well as being a fast team themselves, the Spurs have the best transition defense in the NBA, per CTG.
- One reason for pessimism: Derrick White’s production has been all over the place – he scored a total of seven points on 3-for-21 shooting in a three-game stretch in November and had 24 on 10-for-21 shooting in a win over the Wizards the other day – and his 29.8-percent mark from 3-point range is disappointing.