Culture of Hoops

2013-14 NBA Season Preview: Washington Wizards

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Most Important Player: John Wall
Wall’s health is vital for a Wizards playoff run this season. The proof is in last year’s record when Wall was in the lineup, as opposed to when he was injured. The team was 24-25 after he returned from his knee injury. Prior to that, the Wizards were 5-28. Enough said!

X-Factor: Emeka Okafor
Okafor is one of the most underrated players in all of the NBA. The Wizards were in the top 10 last year in defense, with Okafor being one of the main reasons. He can disrupt and block shots in the paint, run the court well for a big man and has a very good mid-range shot as well. If he plays like he did most of last season, along with Wall playing a huge majority if not all 82 games, the Wizards will be a 5 or 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Rotations: The Wizards will have one of the top starting backcourts in the league with John Wall and Bradley Beal. The starting frontcourt will consist of Emeka Okafor, Nene and Otto Porter Jr. The bench depth should be much better than last year. The team will probably use Martell Webster as their sixth man, coming in for Porter or Beal at small forward or shooting guard. Eric Maynor (point guard), Trevor Ariza (shooting guard/small forward), Al Harrington (power forward) and Kevin Seraphin (center) will all receive consistent minutes off the bench as well. The wild cards for this team are power forward Jan Vesely and shooting guard/small forward Glen Rice, Jr. If these two young players take advantage of their few playing opportunities, then this team should be really deep.

What Needs To Go Right: John Wall must be healthy. If Wall plays seventy or more games, the Wizards will get to where they want to go. If he gets hurt for any period longer than a month, the team will be looking at lottery balls for the seventh consecutive season.

It’s Really Bad If: Another tumultuous beginning to the season that leads to Wall and head coach Randy Wittman developing a public feud. The team begins to choose sides in the media and the Wizards end the year with fifty or more losses.

Bold Prediction: The Washington Wizards upset the Indiana Pacers as a 6 seed in the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. It would only be the second time this century the team makes it passed the first round of the playoffs.


Trevor Ariza, SG/SF
Strengths: On-ball defense, three-point shooting.
Weaknesses: Decision-making, penetration.
Season Prediction: There are rumors Ariza may not be a Wizard through the end of this season. Don’t be surprised if he is traded at some point. Expect him to average about seven points per game.

Bradley Beal, SG
Strengths: Athleticism, three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, knack for scoring.
Weaknesses: Perimeter defense, shot selection.
Season Prediction: No sophomore slump for Beal. He should lead the team in scoring at about 18 points per game and be the main scoring option on any dribble penetration from John Wall. Expect him to elevate his shooting percentage as well.

Trevor Booker, PF
Strengths: Athleticism, NBA physique, transition defense.
Weaknesses: Height as a 4, shooting, post play, half-court defense.
Season Prediction: Booker will play sparingly with this new Wizards squad. He should average a couple points and rebounds per game in very limited minutes.

Al Harrington, PF
Strengths: Perimeter shooting, versatility, veteran leadership.
Weaknesses: Health, age, athleticism, post defense.
Season Prediction: The fact he can play any frontcourt position should give him opportunities for minutes off the bench. He should average about five points in 15-20 minutes per game.

Eric Maynor, PG
Strengths: Court vision, half-court offense, pick-and-roll.
Weaknesses: Health, defense, perimeter shooting.
Season Prediction: Maynor will serve as a quality backup for John Wall at point guard. Expect him to come in and average 5-8 points and four assists per game.

Nene, PF/C
Strengths: NBA body, footwork, post passing, inside scoring.
Weaknesses: Athleticism, defense, inconsistent shooting.
Season Prediction: Nene will play anywhere from fifty to sixty games this season. He should average about 10 points and seven rebounds a game.

Emeka Okafor, C
Strengths: Mobility, size, post defense, mid-range shooting.
Weaknesses: Free-throw shooting, offensive consistency.
Season Prediction: Okafor will continue to be a huge post presence for the Wizards this season. Expect him to average about nine points, seven rebounds and a block per game.

Otto Porter, Jr., SF
Strengths: Scoring versatility, defense, speed.
Weaknesses: Physique, inconsistent shooting, no true position.
Season Prediction: Porter will struggle at times his rookie season. He will come out of the gate slow, but rebound to average roughly nine points and five rebounds a game.

Glen Rice, Jr., SG
Strengths: Good size, perimeter shooting, passing.
Weaknesses: Defense, foot speed, offensively stagnant.
Season Prediction: Don’t look for Rice to get very much playing time this season. The shooting guard and small forward positions are deep for the Wizards. Look for him to average three points per game in limited minutes.

Kevin Seraphin, PF/C
Strengths: Good size, post moves, runs the floor well.
Weaknesses: Post defense, shot selection, hands.
Season Prediction: Last year, Seraphin showed signs his game was moving in the right direction. Look for him to average about five points and five rebounds per game off the bench.

Chris Singleton, SF
Strengths: Good size, defense.
Weaknesses: Shooting, rebounding, ball-handling, penetration.
Season Prediction: Barring a few injuries, Singleton won’t see much playing time this year. He may play a third of the games, averaging a couple of points per game.

Garrett Temple, SG
Strengths: Defense, three-point shooting.
Weaknesses: Mid-range shooting, penetration, half-court offense.
Season Prediction: Unless an unforeseen injury takes place, Temple won’t see much playing time this season. He will only average a few points and assists per game this season.

Jan Vesely, PF
Strengths: Athleticism, transition offense/defense, offensive rebounding.
Weaknesses: Shooting, post offense/defense, court awareness, defensive rebounding.
Season Predictions: Vesely was the Wizards best player during Summer League. However, I don’t see him getting much playing time during the year. He will average two points and three rebounds per game in about thirty games.

John Wall, PG
Strengths: Speed/quickness, passing, dribble penetration, play-making ability.
Weaknesses: Perimeter shooting, pick-and-roll defense, turnover prone.
Season Prediction: Wall will be second on the team in scoring, but lead the team in assists and steals. He should average about 16 points, 5.5 rebounds, 7.5 assists and two steals per game.

Martell Webster, SG/SF
Strengths: Three-point shooting, free-throw shooting, defense.
Weaknesses: Dribble penetration, mid-range shooting, passing.
Season Prediction: Webster will be the sixth man for the Wizards this season. Anticipate him to average 10 points per game off the bench, shooting about 45 percent from three-point range.

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