With so many people keeping their eyes on the big boys
in the Eastern conference, there is a team that can be a surprise to watch. That team is going to be the Washington Wizards
. After last year in the playoffs, where they finished 2nd in NBA Southeast division and lost in the NBA Eastern conference semifinals, 4-2, vs the Indiana Pacers. This year heading in, they will be looking to push that round even further.
Very importantly, they have a team that wins at home. They defend their home court, actually coming in better than the Toronto Raptors, the legendary Dallas Mavericks
, and the hot Houston Rockets. All which are teams that are likely looked at with more promise than the Wizards.
They also sport a defense that keeps teams from scoring buckets. Giving up just 43% shooting to opposing teams, keeping them cold from the field. They statistically have a better opponents ppg than the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Portland Trail Blazers. And actually a much better defense than popular teams like the Los Angeles Clippers, the Dwight Howard based in the middle Houston Rockets, and again the Dallas Mavericks. And their defense has gotten better than last years team as well.
They have a great strengths in their youthful backcourt. Between 4 year PG, John Wall and deep ball shooter, Bradley Beal and even getting some valuable pts off the bench in Ramon Sessions, they keep teams moving all over the court. Currently, in the East, their backcourt is the best in the conference. And their big man in the middle, Marcin Gortat is in the discussion as one of the better big man in the East as well. He quietly gets them 13 and 9 a night, and no one notices. Including 21 games with double doubles this season.
I fully expect Beal and Wall to definitely build off of their nice playoff performances of last year, where they played fantastic. Bottom line, no one in the East can stop this explosive backcourt. Beal can shoot, he’s got good handles, and Wall can also play in the post. Either one can both have their way vs other teams, they both create shots and driving lanes for everyone else on the team.
The major weaknesses they have though is the 3 spot. Including the bench spot with youngster Otto Porter Jr. who has shown signs of becoming a strong 3, but has been inconsistant, behind Paul Pierce. The 37 year old former Celtic captain, was one of the most important reasons why his Brooklyn Nets made the playoffs when he was there, and obviously he was the heart and soul in beantown for 15 years. But he is an aging star, and has a severe lack of speed guarding the opposing players off the dribble.
No one expected the Celtics to be making it in, but the fact is, Boston doesn’t have a lot of depth on that team anymore. And they can’t shoot the rock and their backcourt is nothing too great. So I think they definitely are a team that will be a tougher out than them. As well as Milwaukee, who will be good, but they also seriously lack scoring ability and Zaza Pachulia has been nothing to write home about to say the least.
They have fixed their team a lot with good player development, better coaching, with Randy Wittman and creating a system that has been successful. The Wizards will be looking this year, to use their combination of youth and explosiveness in the backcourt and veteran leadership in the frontcourt with veteran Paul Pierce. To handle the teams that will be stepping on the court vs them. They can beat the struggling defense of the Celtics and maybe even the streaky Raptors, and who knows, they have been very tough when playing the Bulls.
One thing for certain, it will be interesting to see how they stack up.