NBA TEAM PREVIEWS
Atlantic: Boston Celtics | Brooklyn Nets | New York Knicks | Philadelphia 76ers | Toronto Raptors
Central: Chicago Bulls | Cleveland Cavaliers | Detroit Pistons | Indiana Pacers | Milwaukee Bucks
Southeast: Atlanta Hawks | Charlotte Hornets | Miami Heat | Orlando Magic | Washington Wizards
Pacific: Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Los Angeles Lakers | Phoenix Suns | Sacramento Kings
Northwest: Denver Nuggets | Minnesota Timberwolves | Oklahoma City Thunder | Portland Trail Blazers | Utah Jazz
Southwest: Dallas Mavericks | Houston Rockets | Memphis Grizzlies | New Orleans Pelicans | San Antonio Spurs
Presenting an NBA preview of the Washington Wizards that looks at the potential highs and lows for this coming 2016-17 NBA season.
What’s Good… John Wall, of course. Wall is that top NBA point guard that gets forgotten among Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and Damian Lillard. He’s like a younger version of “last few seasons” Chris Paul in that flashier names with better teams are in more people’s mouths. But, think about this – all of those other guys have another star-level player or two on the court with them, and Wall has basically done it all by himself without that healthy productive partner; we’re looking at you, Bradley Beal. How many other players have averaged a double-double in points and assists the past couple of seasons like Wall? Just one… that CP3 guy. It’s like they’re their own club – “Overlooked Point Guards That Are Really Excellent; No, Seriously.”
What’s Bad… Allegedly for a bit of time, people thought the relationship between Wall and Beal was bad, particularly after Beal re-upped for big money, making more scratch than Wall will over the next three years. Also, allegedly, things are now all good with the potentially best backcourt after the Curry and Klay Thompson dynamic duo. However, how much, if following his normal pattern of missing a significant amount of games due to injury, will that matter if Beal isn’t on the court? That could potentially be bad news and judging from the past few seasons, an inevitability. Beal has already missed time in training camp due to a concussion. Not a good sign. Another thing to watch for is the Wizards’ three-point shooting past Beal, who is their only real consistent threat from beyond the arch after the team let Jared Dudley go.
The X-Factor… New head coach, Scotty Brooks was basically known for two things while with the Oklahoma City Thunder – defense and development. While the Wizards did relatively stink in the former last season, in recent previous seasons, they were actually pretty good. Brooks will need to get the team back to their defensively efficient ways, which should be easy to do since most of the core from the last few seasons are still there with the added bonus of a full season Markieff Morris and new addition, Ian Mahinmi, although he’ll be out for at least a month to start the season due to deBEALitation. On the development side of things, the Wizards are looking to keep it young, not really signing any veterans on long-term contracts and making sure there’s ample minutes for a youngster like Kelly Oubre, Jr. to get some burn and experience. The Wizards are banking on Brooks to get the Wizards back on track; luckily, he has the tools and personnel to do it.
Bet On… Beal getting hurt – I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that enough. Wall making the NBA All-Star team. Brooks getting into rhythm with his new team by the beginning of 2017 and the Wizards eventually securing a spot in the postseason after missing it last season.
The Crystal Ball Reveals… The Wizards getting back into the top eight or so in team defensive rating and on the back of that, close to 50 wins. Last season, the expectations were too high, and with a more tempered outlook this season, the Wizards should match that, if not exceed it.