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Do the Washington Wizards Have Enough Backcourt Depth to Get By?

August 27th, 2014 at 1:01 PM
By Matt Graber

The Washington Wizards did a good job of fortifying their frontcourt depth this offseason. The additions of DeJuan Blair and Kris Humphries, combined with the returning Marcin Gortat, Nene, Drew Gooden and Kevin Seraphin, will give the Wizards a deep rotation and will provide injury insurance. Blair and Humphries aren't stars, but they're solid players who will give the Wizards the luxury of resting players if needed and using more matchup-based lineups. Unfortunately, the Wizards don't have that luxury when it comes to their backcourt. With the aging Andre Miller, the unproven Glen Rice Jr. and the un-impactful Garrett Temple serving as the only viable backups, the Wizards will have to rely heavily on the tandem of John Wall and Bradley Beal.

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Will Bradley Beal Be an All-Star This Year?

August 26th, 2014 at 11:24 AM
By Matt Graber

Wizards fans have been touting shooting guard Bradley Beal as a future All-Star since he entered the league, and the young guard is starting to live up to those lofty expectations. Beal made some significant strides last season, raising his scoring average his scoring from 13.9 PPG to 17.1 PPG, improving his three-point percentage to over 40%, and elevating his game in the playoffs to help the Wizards score a first-round upset over the Chicago Bulls. Beal has shown that it a question of when, not if, he'll make his first All-Star team. But can he make his breakthrough this year?

Beal is definitely an All-Star talent, and if he can continue to improve his numbers he has a good chance of making his All-Star debut this season. While advanced statistics have become more and more popular and relevant in recent years, the fact remains that numbers such as points, rebounds and assists are what draw the eye of many fans. If Beal can improve his shot selection and become a more well-rounded and efficient shooter, he could average 20 PPG this season, with a possible uptick in rebounds and assists as well. If he can put up 20, 4 and 4, he'll have the kind of stats that fans attribute to All-Star worthiness.

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Can the Washington Wizards Avoid Another Slow Start?

August 24th, 2014 at 12:23 PM
By Matt Graber

The Washington Wizards, for all their talent, aren't exactly known for starting the season off on the right foot. Year after year, the team tends to stumble out of the gate, posting disappointing results and losing winnable games while displaying signs of dysfunction. During the 2011-2012 lockout shortened season, the Wizards started out with eight straight losses and didn't register double digit wins until March en route to a 20-46 record. The 2012-2013 squad got off to an abysmal 0-12 start without John Wall and had the NBA's worst record for much of the first half of the season. Even last year's playoff team experienced some early season trouble, as the team couldn't climb above .500 until February. These slow starts have tempered fan expectations and have killed the team's momentum, forcing them to come from behind in the standings and dashing their playoff hopes. Fortunately, this year could signal a turnaround, as a favorable early-season schedule could actually see the Wizards pull of a rare early-season run of success.

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Will the Wizards Have Enough Playoff Scoring to Make a Deep Run?

August 21st, 2014 at 1:18 PM
By Matt Graber

People are expecting big things from the Washington Wizards this year. After last year's playoff run, fans are hoping for a repeat performance, believing that John Wall and Bradley Beal can lead the team to even greater heights now that they have some playoff experience under their belts. And it's not just fans who are excited; NBA pundits are high on the Wizards as well, with ESPN ranking them as their third choice for East Champs in their Summer Forecast. With a talented young backcourt, depth in the frontcourt, and a battle-tested leader in Paul Pierce, the Wizards seem poised to make some noise in the playoffs this year. They just need to do one thing; score.

The Wizards scoring numbers dipped across the board last year come playoff time. The team averaged 90.4 PPG with a 43.2 FG%, shooting 33.5% from beyond the arc. Compare that to their regular season numbers of 100.7 PPG, 45.9 FG% and 38% from three, and its clear that the team couldn't replicate their regular season shooting success. While their dominant 4-1 series victory over the Bulls was impressive, it wasn't due to their offense; it owed more to the Wizard's strong defense and the fact that the Bulls had to rely on Mike Dunleavy to be their primary scorer. Their scoring woes continued against the Pacers, as they put up point totals of 82, 63, 92 and 80 in their four losses.

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Can the Washington Wizards Win a Loaded Southeast Division?

August 19th, 2014 at 12:47 PM
By Matt Graber

Last season, the Eastern Conference was disparaged by fans and pundits alike for it's lack of depth and competition. Outside of the Heat and the Pacers, the East seemed to lack any legitimate contenders. The Bulls struggled for stretches without Derrick Rose, young teams like the Wizards and Hornets (then Bobcats) struggled to crack .500, and the Nets and Knicks disappointed. However, last year's playoffs began a reversal of fortunes that carried into the offseason, as new contenders began to emerge and big free agency moves triggered a conference-wide power shift. The East is now a legitimate power, with the Cavaliers and Bulls legitimate title favorites, the Wizards, Hornets and Raptors emerging as rising young contenders, and veteran teams like the Heat, Nets and Hawks still lurking. We shouldn't be hearing nearly as many Leastern Conference jokes this year; whoever makes the playoffs will have to earn it.

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