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NBA 2015-16 Team Previews: Washington Wizards – Wittman Gets Hip

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Washington Wizards

Our NBA 2015-16 Team Previews continues in the Southeast Division, next up The Washington Wizards:

Record:  46-36, 5th in the Eastern Conference,  2nd in Southeast Division, Lost in 2nd round of playoffs

Rank: Offense: 101.8 (19)   Defense: 100.0 (5) Differential/Net: plus +1.9 (12) Pace: 96.0 (16)

2014-15

Key Stats:

  • Third overall in Opponent Shooting Percentage keeping teams to 43.2%.
  • John Wall averaged 35.9 minutes per game.
  • Bradley Beal’s lingering history of injuries.

Off Season Moves

Key Areas Needing Addressing:

  • Reducing John Wall’s minutes.
  • Bench production.
  • Better coaching down the stretch.

Draft:    Kelly Oubre Jr.  selected 15th in first round by Atlanta and traded to Washington, Aaron White selected 49th in second round

Player Additions/Players Re-Signed:

Players Exiting;

2015-16

Core Players:

John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Nene, Marcin Gortat

Key Reserves:

Kris Humphries, Jared Dudley, Alan Anderson

Outlook

Rising Star:

Zooming through your TV set is human flash John Wall. Perhaps the fastest player with the ball in his hands, Wall has shredded opposing defenses with his bizarre speed and natural feel for the game. Wall’s ability to control the timing of his passes through the tightest of windows while going full speed is out of this world. Defenders are left hopeless when Washington decides to spread the floor and let Wall work, he won’t wow you with Kyrie like cross overs but by the time you can react to his first dribble he’ll  already be on his way to the rim.

Wall is an elite two way guard who also gets it done on the defensive end. At 6’4 Wall uses his length and quick hands to harass ball handlers while anticipating passing lanes like an NFL defensive back.  His lack of consistent shooting has kept him from “best point guard” conversations but he has shown to have steady improvement through each season. If Wall can consistently knock down the three ball when left open we’re looking at a legitimate MVP caliber player.

On The Bubble:

Going into his fourth year, Bradley Beal has one of the smoothest strokes in the game. A classic fundamentally sound two guard, Beal has amazing footwork that lets him get a shot off on balance at just about anywhere on the court. The Wizards will look to play a more small ball offense that’ll fully utilize Beal’s offensive skill set. Many scouts have compared Beal to Ray Allen, a lights out shooter who can also make plays going towards the rim with sneaky athleticism.

Unfortunately, Beal has had a history of nagging leg injuries that has kept him from playing a complete season. Beal has to be able to stay healthy for his long term security with the Wizards, another season riddled with injury for the potential star can hurt his market in terms of future plans.

X-Factor:

Replacing Paul Pierce in the starting line up is Most Improved Player of the Year candidate Otto Porter Jr. Every contending team needs a glue guy who can lock up defensively as well as contribute on offense in a multitude of ways. This is what makes the progression in Porter’s game exciting for Washington fans. Through his first two seasons Porter was almost considered a bust due to his lack of production and inconsistency. (A lot of this was going on.)

With no real evidence, one would have to believe that Porter’s improvements as a player is partially due to spending a year under Paul Pierce being a sponge to everything the future Hall of Fame veteran had to say. Porter’s versatility also gives Coach Wittman the option of playing him as a stretch four. Imagine a line up of Wall, Beal, Dudley, Porter and Gortat. Do it Wittman! Stop living in the 1990’s!

Best Case: 

As long as Wittman doesn’t limit the potential of this roster with his questionable play calling and substitutions down the stretch of close games, the Wizards have a plausible shot of making it out of the East.

Worst Case:

Randy Wittman coaching woes continue and the injury bug continues to keep Beal from completing a full season. Washington’s lack of front court depth and solid bench production become the Achilles heel which will ultimately be the shortage that keeps them from advancing in the playoffs.

Second Round exit.

Prediction:

Wall emerges as one of the leaders in the MVP race while Beal stays healthy and completes his first full season (I really hope I’m not jinxing this). Otto Porter becomes a house hold name and one of the premier three and “D” players in the league. Wittman becomes hip and encourages the bombarding from deep while off season acquisitions provide solid bench production.

Hello Eastern Conference Finals.

Games versus the Houston Rockets

  • December 9th at Verizon Center
  • January 30th at Toyota Center

Fansided Affiliate Site:  Wiz of Awes

Make sure you catch up on our entire Team Preview Series, our Houston Rockets Player Profile Series as well as our SCS Round Table Sessions to help you get through the early season. Start your morning with SCS Rocket Science Daily and visit us throughout the day to keep abreast of all your Houston Rockets news and updates.

Next: Hornets Preview

Next: Rockets Preview

Next: SCS Complete Round Table Sessions

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