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NBA 2016-17 Team Preview – Washington Wizards: Wall to Wall

By Tamberlyn Richardson
Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall stretches prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall stretches prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
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Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall stretches prior to the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview – Washington Wizards

To prepare our readers for the regular season SCS  offers a series entitled NBA 2016-17 Team Preview for each of the Houston Rockets’ 29 opponents. Who will return to the playoffs? Which team will fall from grace and who will be the Cinderella team?

Included in each profile:

  • Where the team finished 2015-16
  • Key 2015-16 stats
  • Future draft pick status
  • Current and future salary rank
  • Off Season Moves
  • 2017 Free Agents
  • Schedule, NBA League Pass and Win Projection Ranking
  • Team Overview entering season (Starting 5, reserves and notable injuries)
  • When each team will play the Houston Rockets
  • Strengths, Weaknesses and Prediction

NBA 2016-17 Team Previews now looks at John Wall’s Washington Wizards. After a disappointing season and offseason surgery on both knees can the brilliant point guard lead his team back into the post season.

NBA 2016-17 Team Preview: Washington Wizards

2015-16 Record:  41- 41

Playoffs:

Missed playoffs finished 10th in Eastern Conference

Points Per Game: 104.1 (9th )

Opponent Points Per Game:  104.6 (21st)

Pace: 98.5 (5th )

Offensive Rank: 105.3 (20th)

Defensive Rank:  105.8 (14th)

Three Point Rank:  35.8% (11th)

Rebounds: 41.8  (26th)

Assists: 24.5 (5th)

Steals: 8.6 (8th)

Blocks: 3.9 (26th)

Turnovers: 14.5 (16th)

Next: Future Positioning - draft, free agents

Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Vince Carter (15) commits a foul on Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat (13) in the second half at FedExForum. Memphis defeated Washington 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Free Agents

Restricted:

  • Otto Porter Jr.
  • Trey Burke

Unrestricted:

  • Marcus Thornton

All free agent updates confirmed via Basketball Reference and Sportrak

Future Draft Picks

See Real GM for full details:

Incoming:

  • None

Outgoing:

  • 2019 second round draft pick to Atlanta
  • 2020 second round draft pick to Milwaukee
  • 2021 second round draft pick to Utah

Average Age of Team: 26 years (as per Real GM)

Next: Off Season Moves

Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) dribbles in the first quarter as Memphis Grizzlies forward James Ennis (8) defends at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks

No draft picks

2016 Free Agents prior to July 1, 2016:

Restricted:

Unrestricted:

  • Alan Anderson
  • Jared Dudley
  • JJ Hickson
  • Nene Hlario
  • Gary Neal
  • Ramon Sessions
  • Garrett Temple
  • Marcus Thornton

Moves made following July 1, 2016:

Incoming:

Exiting: 

Re-upping:

Next: Schedule, League Pass, Win Projection Rankings

Oct 30, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) reacts to a call in the first quarter of the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas over-under for wins: 42.5

Schedule strength:

As ranked by ESPN: 19th with 1.51 extra wins

Only Chicago is slated for fewer estimated air miles than the Wizards and only Memphis has fewer games on zero or one day of rest.

Games versus Rockets:

  • Monday November 07 at Verizon Center, in Washington, DC at 6PM CT/7PM ET
  • Monday January 02 at Toyota Center, in Houston, TX at 7PM CT/8PM ET

Zach Lowe NBA League Pass Rank: 16

Wall needs a healthy Bradley Beal, and for Otto Porter to do just a little bit more on both ends. Markieff Morris launched more triples as a Wizard, and if he (finally) gets more comfortable beyond the arc, Washington’s starting five — a solid plus-5.5 points per 100 possessions in limited minutes last season — could coalesce into an effective spread pick-and-roll group around Wall….

The Wiz viewing experience feels tired, and we don’t have Randy Wittman around to enliven it with his whiteboard confusion and immortal Wittman Faces.

Next: Team Overview

Oct 21, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Committed Salary

2016: $104,141,073 – 11th ranked

2017: $94,928,433 – 6th ranked

Team Salary Ranking as per Hoops Hype, and team salary overview also via Hoops Hype

Starting 5:

Point Guard:  John Wall – 19.9  points,  10.2 assists,  4.9  rebounds

Shooting Guard:  Bradley Beal – 17.4 points, 2.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds

Small Forward:  Otto Porter Jr. – 11.6 points, 1.6 assists, 5.2 rebounds

Power Forward:  Markieff Morris – 12.0 points, 1.4 assists, 5.5  rebounds

Center:  Marcin Gortat – 13.5 points, 9.9 rebounds 1.3 blocks

Reserves:

Guards: Trey Burke, Danuel House,  Sheldon McClelan

Wings: Kelly Oubre Jr., Marcus Thornton,  Tomas Satoransky

Bigs: Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Smith, Daniel Ochefu

Injury News:

  • Ian Mahinmi – had surgery mid October to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in left knee, will miss 4 to 6 weeks. Targeting late November return.

All injury news as per rotoworld

Next: Strengths, Weaknesses, Prediction

Oct 18, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. The Wizards won 96-91. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Strengths:

John Wall: The kid has done it all and then some. Let me put it this way, put Wall on almost any middling to top team and tell me he doesn’t improve them immediately. Despite having injuries he consistently played through them to help improve his team. The same can’t be said of his backcourt mate Bradley Beal who has yet to log a full season worth of production. Washington needs to be careful because the longer they fail to surround Wall with quality teammates with his inherent desire to succeed the more they risk losing him.

Otto Porter Jr: Unlike most teams the Wizards have 2 guys they think can compete for the starting small forward position. When he’s on Otto Porter is one of the best 2-way small forwards in the NBA. Porter offers length and agility on defense and offensive versatility. The problem is he is inconsistent, which led to Scott Brooks saying Porter would have to earn his starting role over Kelly Oubre Jr. Cut to present and it appears Porter easily beat out the even more inconsistent Oubre Jr.

Pace and Assists: Wall again is the catalyst that spurs these strengths. Last season he spurred the Wizards to a top 5 finish in pace and assists. While the majority of the Association look to improve in both these areas Wall has his Wizards positioned well to continue as a top 5 team in this regard.

Weaknesses:

Defense:  Though the Wizards excelled on the offensive side of the court they regressed defensively. Scotty Brooks has never been known for his defensive chops, so it’s doubtful the Wizards will take strides upward this season. As much as Brooks can say defense is the priority it’s more likely he’ll implement his offense this season and then tweak the system throughout 2016-17 to figure out how to best utilize his roster.

Paint Protection:  In conjunction with the above point it’s important to note the Wizards lack depth in the front court behind Gortat and Morris especially with Mahinmi out injured. Andrew Nicholson offers  stretch four possibilities, however his defense leaves much to be desired.

Identity: If you can definitively tell me what the identity is of the Wizards (other than stating the obvious: a team built around John Wall) you either have inside knowledge or a keen observer. I literally couldn’t tell you who they are or even who they want to be.

More from Space City Scoop

Prediction:

Best Case: Wall has another spectacular All-Star season, Bradley Beal stays healthy, one of the 2 Jrs (Porter and Oubre) demonstrates growth and consistency with all of it adding up a seed somewhere between 6-8.

Worst Case: Beal has another injury riddled season and his rumored disenchantment with Wall becomes reality. None of the youngsters take the next step up and the Wizards defense regresses yet again. The Wizards miss the playoffs and team chemistry becomes an issue.

Though many pundits have cited the Wizards as a playoff team with some even suggesting a top 4 seed, I’m not convinced.  My reason is Washington doesn’t display unity nor any true identity. From my perspective Beal gets up for big National games when the lights are the brightest. The problem is he doesn’t display that same penchant consistently.

Though it’s only an observation combined with my opinion it certainly would explain why Wall who does give that type of effort 100% of the time gets annoyed with Beal.  Factor in, beginning this season through to 2018-19 Beal will earn  $6.3 million (M), $6.99M and $7.6M more than Wall. Notably Wall has referenced players like Reggie Jackson  and others salaries pointing to their luck of joining the league at precisely the right time, but says he bears no ill will toward them.  Makes you wonder if he’ll feel the same way if Beal gets injured again and the Wiz miss the playoffs. One thing is certain, Wall is a super star who has proven his mettle.  He’s becoming a player many fans would like to see achieve success. I’m just not convinced the Wizards have surrounded him with the proper core to do it.

FanSided Affiliate Site: Wiz of Awes

Next: Orlando Magic 2016-17 Team Preview

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Make sure to check out our entire NBA preview series.

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