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Wizards 2012-13 season preview

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Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Early games to watch

1. Nov. 21 at Atlanta » The Wizards could be the second-best team in the Southeast Division. This game will show whether it's really possible.

2. Dec. 4 vs. Miami » The first of two visits by the reigning NBA champs also could see the season debut of John Wall -- if he returns on schedule from an injured left knee.

3. Dec. 14 vs. L.A. Lakers » Kevin Seraphin has played well in the past against Dwight Howard, and the Wizards beat the Lakers at Verizon Center last year.

4. Dec. 11 at New Orleans » Rookie of the year candidates Bradley Beal and Anthony Davis will go head-to-head for the first time since Florida lost to Kentucky in last season's SEC tournament semifinals.

5. Jan. 4 vs. Brooklyn » Andray Blatche returns to Washington. So does Deron Williams, whose insults toward A.J. Price in the preseason won't soon be forgotten.

Position breakdown

Guards

The Wizards brought in A.J. Price to be John Wall's backup. But when Wall got injured, Price was forced to earn the position after the emergency signing of Jannero Pargo. Jordan Crawford may not be able to hold off Bradley Beal at starting shooting guard very long, but he may see minutes alongside the rookie at the point or in a three-guard lineup.

Forwards

Martell Webster and Chris Singleton both made better impressions on the wing in the preseason than Trevor Ariza, who might play better with Wall but can ill afford to wait for him to get healthy. Cartier Martin continues to shoot well but may find it hard to get minutes. Until Nene returns, Trevor Booker assumes the starting role at power forward, backed by Jan Vesely, whose energy and effort needs to be consistent and focused.

Centers

Emeka Okafor played sparingly during the preseason, fitting for a consistent veteran who Washington needs to average a double-double this season. Kevin Seraphin's breakout performance last season could be stunted by his calf injury. Journeyman 7-footer Earl Barron took advantage of Seraphin's absence to claim Washington's final roster spot.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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