The Wizards struggled with injury problems throughout last season but were able to earn a playoff spot at the end of the season. Washington finished with a 43-39 record, which placed them eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards met up with the Toronto Raptors in the first round and lost in six games.
Washington is in the Eastern Conference, which should make it easier for the Wizards to compete for a playoff spot. The Wizards have consistently been a playoff team in the East for the past couple seasons. If Washington can stay healthy, they should be in the playoffs again this season.
I believe the Wizards had a solid offseason. In the offseason, Washington made some moves to strengthen up their depth. The Wizards did not make any jaw dropping moves, but some of their moves should help build on last season’s success.
John Wall is the starting Point Guard for the Wizards. Wall missed half of last season, which was rough for Washington. Wall averaged 19.4 points and 9.6 assists per game. He is also a huge presence defensively for the Wizards. If he can stay healthy throughout the season, I believe the Wizards could improve in the standings this season.
The Wizards had Tomas Satoransky and Jordie Meeks come off the bench at the Guard spot last season. Both players are back this season and I expect them to fill in similar roles. Satoransky averaged 7.2 points and 3.9 assists per game last season. Meeks averaged 6.3 points and 1.6 rebounds per game last season.
Washington picked up Austin Rivers in a trade with the Clippers this offseason. Rivers is coming off the best season of his career. He averaged 15.1 points and 4.0 assists per game last season. Rivers will likely be the Wizards top Guard off the bench.
Troy Brown was drafted by the Wizards in the first round of this year’s draft. Brown has been marked as a player with great court vision and feisty defense, but his shooting has struggled to remain consistent. I believe his game could translate nicely into the NBA. I do not expect him to see a lot of time this season though.
Overall the Guard core for the Wizards is pretty strong. Wall and Beal should help carry this team throughout the season. The depth should have gotten stronger with the addition of Rivers and Brown. I believe that the Guards will be the most consistent piece on this team.
Otto Porter is the starting Small Forward for Washington. Porter has stepped up his game each season as his career has progressed. Last season Porter averaged 14.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He could increase his numbers again this season, which would really help push Washington to that elite level.
Kelly Oubre Jr. will likely be the top option off the bench for the Wizards Forward core. Oubre averaged 11.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. He was able to help Washington by bringing a solid change of pace with him off the bench.
Washington picked up Jeff Green in free agency this season. Green averaged 10.8 points and 3.2 rebounds per game last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He should come in off the bench at the Power Forward spot. Green was a good depth pickup for the Wizards.
The Forwards for the Wizards are solid. The depth at the Forward role continues to strengthen the lineup. Porter and Morris are both solid starters as well. The starting Forwards and Guards for the Wizards have been in Washington for quite a few seasons. That means that the chemistry should already be in the starting lineup.
Washington picked up Dwight Howard in free agency this season. Howard has jumping from team to team throughout his career. Last season, Howard was with the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. I believe he should play a solid role with the Wizards this season.
The Wizards have Ian Mahinmi coming off the bench at the Center spot. Mahinmi averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 77 appearances last season. I expect Washington to use Mahinmi in a similar way this season. He should be coming off the bench unless Howard goes down with injury.
Washington lost Marcin Gortat in a trade with the Clippers this season, but Howard should be able to fill his role. Howard’s inability to stay on a team for any length of time should be a slight concern for the Wizards, but he should be able to at least play a solid role this season. Overall, the Centers should not hold back this Wizards lineup.
The Wizards boast a solid starting five, with what looks like some really solid depth. Washington has a lineup that should be able to compete pretty effectively in the Eastern Conference. I do not expect this team to end the season at the top of the East, but they could earn a fourth of fifth seed in the playoffs.
BetOnline has Washington listed at a win total of 45 ½ wins. This would be a three-win improvement on last season. If the Wizards can keep a healthy John Wall in the lineup for most of the season, I believe they beat that win total. He has a long offseason to fully recover, which makes me lean towards him staying healthy. The best bet for Washington is over the win total.