Season preview: Washington Wizards

Season preview: Washington Wizards


Season preview: Washington Wizards

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STAYING: Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi, Sheldon McClellan, Chris McCullough, Markieff Morris, Daniel Ochefu, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter, Tomas Satoransky, Jason Smith and John Wall.

ADDED: Tim Frazier (New Orleans), Jodie Meeks (Orlando), Devin Robinson (Florida), Mike Scott and Michael Young (Pittsburgh).

GONE: Bojan Bogdanovic (Indiana), Trey Burke and Brandon Jennings (Shanxi Brave Dragons).

STRENGTHS: Elite backcourt … They have one of the top two-way point guards in the game in John Wall … He can score, pass and play defense with the best of them … Wall is a one-man fast break that gets a lot of easy points for Washington … So, so good getting to the basket … He averaged 7.9 points on drives alone last year … Sidekick Bradley Beal is a top-notch shooter who finally put together an All-Star caliber season after signing a max deal … Any questions about chemistry between the two went out the window last year … Otto Porter comes off a surprisingly productive season … The hope is he’s going to build on that strong performance … Overall, Wizards have done a good job of surrounding Wall with shooters who can take advantage of his ability to break down defenders off the dribble … Scoring should not be a problem for Washington … Big men Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi have very defined roles working to make the team’s perimeter players shine.

WEAKNESSES: In order to truly contend for the title, defense must improve … Last year, they had the third-worst defensive rating of all playoff teams … They could use a bit more intimidation down low … They rely an awful lot on Wall to get things done … With him on the floor, Washington’s offensive rating was similar to Houston’s … Without him, it was more like Brooklyn’s … Beal had a healthy season last year, but hard to overlook the fact that he’s missed 21 percent of games in his NBA career … Depth is nothing to call home about.

PREDICTION: 1st in the Southeast Division, 3rd in the Eastern Conference.



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