The Washington Wizards are one of the most confusing teams out there. Two years ago they won 49 games and looked ready to make the leap in the Eastern Conference. That year they had no bench to speak of, but the starters were an awesome unit. Last year, they had a better bench, but when John Wall missed half of the season they fell to 43 wins and the starting five wasn’t what it was. They were seemingly better without Wall and Tomas Satoransky filling in a more traditional point guard role. This year, they’ve added Dwight Howard to the mix and their win total is set at 44.5.
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Looking at pure stats and projections, this looks like a 48 win team. They are definitely the forgotten team in the Eastern Conference as everyone is talking about the Celtics, Sixers, Bucks and Raptors. This is probably the only team outside of those four that I can see getting a top-4 seed, but a lot would have to go right.
Let’s start with John Wall and Bradley Beal. These two have to get along and they have to stay on the court. Whether they get along by hardly playing together outside of the first five minutes and last five minutes is something that Scott Brooks will have to decide, but that is key. They need to avoid injuries as well and stay on the court. They have too much talent between them for this team not to hit 45 wins if this team stays healthy.
I could see great things from this team if they are able to get Otto Porter more open looks. If Beal can attempt 6.5 three-point attempts last season, there is room to get Porter over 4.1. The 5-6 range would be huge for them as he is their best three-point shooter. That is really on Beal and Wall to find him those looks as the primary playmakers.
This bench should be even better than it was last year with the additions of Austin Rivers and Jeff Green, but, man, those are two of the most worrisome players out there. You never know what you are going to get from Green and Rivers can look like an All-Star one day and a scrub the next. He’s gotten a lot better at not doing that over the past couple seasons, but it’ll be interesting to see how he performs under a new coach and if those bad habits will show back up.
The worst thing I can really say about this squad is that Dwight Howard is on it. The concern with him is if he can be accepting of his role as the fourth or fifth option in this offense and do his job on defense and rebounding. One has to think that at this point, on his sixth team, that he’ll accept that is what is expected of him. Then again, this is Dwight Howard.
I am leaning over on this one, but not by much. It’s fun in NBA circles to hate on the Wizards and that makes sense. Scott Brooks isn’t known as a genius coach, the team is seemingly always fighting and they added Dwight Howard to that mix. It’s not a good look, but this number is low and they have enough talent to beat this number. 48 wins is not of the question to me.
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