Why Hornets vs. Wizards Will Be a Marquee Matchup in Near Future
Washington has 21 wins and the Hornets only have 22, although the Wizards are higher up in their division.
While this game won't be catching the attention of any fans outside of the DC or New Orleans area, in a few years that may not be the case.
Both teams are extremely young and have a collection of promising players who could make both of their teams contenders in a matter of years.
While most people will quickly flip through this game on Friday, there are a number of reasons why, in only two or three seasons, it will be a game that will have fans glued to their televisions.
Although Bradley Beal has only started 46 games this season, he has already made a name for himself on the Wizards.
The rookie out of Florida is leading Washington in minutes and is second on the team in points per game, although he was just passed by John Wall Tuesday night.
While John Wall is perhaps the most well-known player on the Wizards, Beal has the potential to be a top starter in the NBA if he keeps up this production.
The 19-year-old has taken a leadership role on the team. He and Wall could easily make Washington a contender if the team adds some players around them.
In 51 games, Beal has had games of 29, 28 and 26 points, and has 12 games this season of 20 points or more.
Beal's contract gives the team an option for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, so he could be around Washington for a while. His game will only improve over that time.
While Anthony Davis only averages 12.9 points per game, he has been outstanding on defense in his rookie year and has the potential to be one of the best defensive players in the league.
The 20-year-old is leading the New Orleans Hornets in rebounds and blocks per game. He is 10th in the league in blocks. Davis also averages just over a steal per game, giving him the second rank in the NBA rookie ladder.
Defense is certainly Davis' strength, but he can also put up offensive numbers and leads NBA rookies in double-doubles with 14.
The rookie forward out of Kentucky has had games with 28, 25 and 23 points.
Durability is an issue for Davis, however, as he has missed 15 games this season. If he can stay healthy, Beal and Davis would be a great matchup to watch a few years down the road.
While Bradley Beal may have the most potential on the Wizards, John Wall is certainly the face of the team for years to come.
Wall becomes a restricted free agent at the end of the 2014, and he thinks he is a max contract player, so there is a chance he could be leaving Washington soon.
Should he choose to re-sign, Wall will quickly become a major sports figure in the nation's capital. Wall is leading the team in points per game with 14.6, and he averages 7.3 assists per game, also a team-high.
In his first two seasons in Washington, he was easily the most productive and most exciting player on the team. Wall averaged 16.4 points per game, 4.6 rebounds and 8.3 assists in his rookie year.
His numbers would be just as high this year were it not for the 34 games he missed at the beginning of the season due to injury.
As Wall and Beal spend more and more time together, their chemistry will improve, and they will quickly become one of the best combinations in the league.
Eric Gordon certainly isn't the biggest name out there, but he has a high upside for the New Orleans Hornets. He's in the midst of recovering from a season in which he only played in nine games.
Gordon has averaged over 16 points in each of his NBA seasons, including this year (16.9 points per game).
The shooting guard is under contract with the Hornets through 2015.
Gordon has a very high upside, as he showed during his time with the Clippers. In his rookie season out of Indiana, he averaged 16.1 points per game, along with 2.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists.
His best season was in 2010-11, when he averaged 22.3 points per game. He's struggled with knee injuries in the past, but if he can stay healthy, he'll be a bright spot on the Hornets.
Whoever the Wizards Decide to Draft This Year
Bradley Beal and John Wall are certainly two pieces for the Wizards to build around for the future, but the Wizards will still need to pick up several other pieces.
Right now, the Wizards are projected to pick third in the draft, which would make Otto Porter their most likely selection.
Porter stands at 6'8" and has a 7' wingspan, which makes him a beast on the court. He dominates on the inside. If he could develop an outside shot, he'd be a great piece for the Wizards to add to their roster.
Another option for the Wizards is Nerlens Noel, assuming he decides to enter the draft. Noel would be an exciting pickup for Washington.
No matter who the Wizards pick up in the 2013 draft, fans will want to find out how they fit in with Beal and Wall as the team continues to build for the future.
While Ryan Anderson didn't have a full starting season until 2011, he has been a solid power forward in his five years in the league.
Last season, when he started 61 games for the Orlando Magic, he averaged 16.1 points per game, shooting 44 percent from the floor.
While he hasn't started nearly as many games this season with the Hornets, he is averaging more points and assists per game and has a (slightly) higher field-goal percentage than last year.
Anderson is under contract with the Hornets into 2015-16, and he has the skills to continue to improve over the years.
Anderson only started this season when Anthony Davis has been out, but over time he could develop into a great sixth man for the Hornets.
Also, if Davis can't solve his injury problems, Anderson is a solid starting option as well. Either way, Anderson has a place on the Hornets and could be a difference-maker on the young team down the road.
New Orleans Name Change
Players are nice to have and all, but what beats a new mascot and new jerseys?
The Hornets announced back in February that they are changing their nickname to the Pelicans. They have since unveiled their new logos.
This change will take place next year, but why not tune in to a New Orleans vs. Washington game to check out if the logo and uniform change improves New Orleans' play?