Three things to watch: Wizards open preseason vs. Warriors Friday in Japan

Bright and early Friday morning, Wizards basketball is officially back. Washington and Golden State are set to tip off the NBA preseason from Tokyo.

  • WHERE: Saitama Super Arena (Saitama, Japan)
  • WHEN: 6 a.m. ET; 7 p.m. local time 
  • TV: NBC Sports Washington & NBA TV
  • RADIO: 1580 AM & The Wizards App

With the Wizards’ first on-court action of the season now just hours away, here are three things to keep an eye on in the team’s 2022-23 debut.


Much has been made of the chemistry of this group of guys so far in training camp, which returns most of its 2021-22 core, but with a cast of new faces. Those new faces, however, bring their own set of connections across the roster.

Newly acquired guards Monte Morris and Will Barton have a connection with Coach Unseld from seasons prior in Denver. Morris and Kyle Kuzma grew up together as childhood friends. Kuzma and Delon Wright, who signed with Washington this offseason, played with one another collegiately at Utah. 

On the flip side, the Wizards’ rotation features a few returning faces who have yet to take the court together. Friday’s game will mark the first time All-NBA guard Bradley Beal and All-Star center Kristaps Porzingis will take the court together in a Washington uniform.

One of the nice parts about this trip to Japan is that it should expedite the process of growing together as a group. 

“At this juncture of the season, it’s also a great opportunity for bonding,” said Coach Unseld. “Your traditional camp is usually in your home market, but to have this opportunity to get away, it kind of pulls guys together.” 


Preseason action needs to be looked at through a far different lens than the regular season ball that will come weeks later, but it will be interesting to see how the Wizards get things going in terms of lineup combinations. How will head coach Wes Unseld Jr. choose to deploy the team’s multi-positional size? Will Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford see more minutes together as they did toward the end of last season? How will minutes be balanced between the team’s group of young wings? Where will the bevy of newly acquired guards fit alongside one another?

Things will likely change throughout the preseason and into the regular season, but it’s always fun to get that initial look at different combinations of talent. 


This is a simple one. Hachimura is returning to his home country of Japan to play NBA basketball in front of his friends, family, and fellow Japanese hoops lovers. Don’t be surprised if he gets a raucous ovation at the start of the game, and don’t be surprised if the crowd erupts every time he makes an impact on the game. Hachimura is a fan-favorite in Japan, and this is a wonderful opportunity to watch him show out in front of his home country.