The Washington Wizards finished with a record of 29-53 and third in the Southeast Division last season, and are primed for an even better season this year. Down the stretch when John Wall was finally healthy, the Wizards were very competitive and were able to beat some very good basketball teams. Assuming Wall and the rest of the Washington supporting cast stays healthy this year, there is reason to believe that they could make a push for a Playoff spot.
John Wall was drafted with the #1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, and was expected to become a superstar immediately. He’s entering his fourth NBA season, and is expected to take off and prove to the league that he’s capable of living up to the expectations that most have for him. Last year, he averaged 18.5 points, 7.6 assists, and 4.0 rebounds. Give him a full season being completely healthy and he could up those numbers to an even higher level.
Washington does have a good supporting cast around Wall, and there are a couple very talented young players on the wings. Both Bradley Beal and Otto Porter will have to step up for the Wizards this season for them to reach their full potential. Beal showed that he has the ability to score the basketball last year, putting up 13.9 points per contest, and later on in the season showed that he can knock down the three-point shot at a high level as well. Porter is a rookie, and no one knows exactly what to expect from him. There is absolutely no doubt that he’s got the talent to become something special, but he’s got a long ways to go to get to that point. He averaged 16.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.7 assists per game during his senior year at Georgetown, and is more than capable of making an impact right off the bat this season.
Other players that you can expect to have an impact in Washington this year are Trevor Ariza, Nene, Emeka Okafor, Kevin Seraphin, and Martell Webster. There are so many talented players on this roster, and they finally have the perfect mix between youth and veterans to make a push this season. Nene has been a major disappointment since being brought in after a strong tenure with the Denver Nuggets. The Wizards were expecting him to step in and be a legitimate post scorer, but that just has not happened to this point.
There are other young, talented players on this Washington squad that may find roles, but have not yet been identified as rotation players. Glen Rice Jr. had a solid year in the NBA D-League last season and showed that he’s capable of scoring and shooting the basketball at a high clip. Jan Vesely is a former first round pick who hasn’t panned out to this point, but the Wizards still have faith that he’ll be able to break out and have a good year. Perhaps the most interesting new acquisition for the Wizards, Eric Maynor, will be asked to play a big role off the bench behind John Wall. Maynor can shoot the ball, and is known as a great all-around floor general as well.
Obviously, the Wizards have a very talented roster to work with this season. Health is probably the key factor in whether or not they’re able to make the Playoffs this year. Assuming they stay healthy, the realistic expectations for them are around the 7th or 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and a Playoff appearance. Wizards fans have been waiting a long time to see their team come back to competing for a Playoff spot, and they should get exactly that this year.
Evan Massey is an Editor at Hoops-Nation.com. Follow Evan and Hoops-Nation on Twitter.