NBA Season Preview: Washington Wizards

Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, John Wall
John Wall, ex-Nets forward Paul Pierce, and Bradley Beal form Washington’s starting frontcourt. (AP)

Projected record: 47-35 (4th in East)


Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, John Wall
John Wall, ex-Nets forward Paul Pierce, and Bradley Beal form Washington’s starting frontcourt. (AP)

Head coach: Randy Wittman
2013-14 record: 44-38
2013-14 ORtg: 103.3 (T-16th)
2013-14 DRtg: 102.3 (T-9th)
Players in: DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries, Paul Pierce
Players out: Trevor Ariza, Trevor Booker, Al Harrington, Chris Singleton,
Projected Starting Lineup: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Nene, Marcin Gortat

SEPTEMBER 24, 2014

Kevin, this is your conscience speaking.

You’ve got a huge season ahead of you. Even though you’ve just come off one of the best seasons of your life, won MVP and have rejuvenated basketball in the Midwest, well, you’re still technically the NBA’s Biggest Loser.

I know you know I know that you know that there’s a whole bunch of pressure mounting on an Oklahoma City championship, and if you don’t win, there are some people out there that want you to go join the Washington Wizards.

But I was thinking about this while you were sleeping, what do we actually know about the Washington Wizards? Does Barack Obama even like them? What’s the deal with Nene? Has he played in the last five seasons? Is John Wall better than Russell Westbrook?

So I went ahead and took the liberty of using your supersonic (HA, GET IT? Too soon? OK…) speed and agility to connect via to the information superhighway and gather some career changing thoughts for you, Durantula.

(Also: are you really trying to make “The Servant” happen? Come on, first you wanted to sign with Under Armor and now this? Get it together, Kevin.)

The Wizards starting five has a terrifying balance, top to bottom: you’ve got the franchise, elite freak-athlete at point guard in John Wall, two excellent shooters with Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce, and a solid frontcourt with Nene and Marcin Gortat anchoring the paint.

They let the overrated and eventually overpaid Trevor Ariza walk and replaced him with Pierce. Kevin, I hear you thinking, hey, but that’s my position! But the Wizards only signed Pierce to a two-year deal with a player option—so you could seamlessly fill in there when the time is right.

Aside from that, the Wizards will bomb away from downtown: in 2013-2014, Washington shot the three-pointer at a 38% clip – good for fourth-best in the NBA. Bradley Beal looks like he’s about to take the next step towards superstardom as an elite scorer, except he’ll play defense! (Sorry, James Harden, I know we were teammates, but I can’t control my ego sometimes. Blame Freud.)

This team will live and die behind Wall’s production. He’s the undisputed ringleader in Washington, and a nightmare for opposing guards defensively, like Westbrook. Relatively speaking, John Wall is the Eastern Conference version of your current point guard, except that he won’t shoot away your team’s chances during a frustrating night. They look to expound on a surprising season that saw the Wizards grab the 5th seed, upset the Chicago Bulls, and nearly dispatch the Indiana Pacers in the second round.

Much like the Brooklyn Nets did last summer, the Wizards brought on Pierce in the old-bones leadership role. Pierce had his shining moments last year in the playoffs, but also struggled throughout the season and folded in the second round. Behind him is Otto Porter Jr.… you can’t even pretend like that wouldn’t be a great name to thank in your 2017 MVP speech.

The Wizards fit the mold of a team both trying to compete and develop. Last year, they won 44 games, went 2-2 against Miami and showed tons of future potential in that studded backcourt.

With the Indiana Pacers and Chicago Bulls’ seasons in flux, relying on superstars to return dominant from gruesome injury, the Washington Wizards could easily find themselves as the second seed in the Eastern Conference come February. Honestly, Kevin, this might be a team worth jumping ship for.

John Wall might even be able to teach you some dance moves.