The new NBA season is fast approaching and the pressure is high for most teams. Here’s SportsRageous’ take on Washington Wizards, featuring their star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Washington Wizards 2016-2017 NBA Season Preview
The Washington Wizards came up big two seasons ago with two straight NBA playoff series victories. Along came 2015-2016 season, however, the hopeful young team found themselves struggling and missing the playoffs entirely last year.
They started last season as a potential Eastern Conference finals contenders but somehow things went the wrong way for the Wizards during the season.
“As an individual, you’ve got to take pride in guarding your man,” John Wall said in an interview. “As a team, you’ve got to have your brother’s back. That’s something we haven’t been doing.”
The Wizards’ disappointing performance (41-41) last season led to the team’s decision to fire head coach Randy Wittman. He was replaced by former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
Brooks made a good impression in the NBA when he coached the young and talented Thunder team led by then OKC superstar Kevin Durant to the NBA Finals in 2012.
“It’s hard to imagine Brooks being a disaster unless something crazy happens to the roster,” said Jerry Brewer of the Washington Post. “He’s a good coach. He contributed to building Oklahoma City’s enviable culture of collegiality, hard work and professionalism. His floor is on an elevated platform.”
Whose team is it, John Wall’s or Bradley Beal’s?
With the NBA season quickly approaching, there are reports stating that a friction between Wall and Beal is affecting the team’s chemistry and performance on the court.
Wall addressed the issue in an interview late August:
“I think a lot of times we have a tendency to dislike each other on the court. We got to be able to put that to the side. If you miss somebody on one play or don’t have something go right … as long as you come to each other and talk. If I start arguing with somebody I’m cool. I’m just playing basketball.”
“If we were playing well as a tandem like the other two superstars that play together as a backcourt, play as a tandem, one night it’s going to be his night, one night it’s going to be mine, some nights it might be both of us. Those are nights it’s going to be tough to beat us.”
Staying: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jarell Eddie, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris, Kelly Oubre, Otto Porter and Marcus Thornton.
Additions: Trey Burke, Danuel House, Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson, Sheldon McClellan, Daniel Ochefu, Tomas Satoransky and Jason Smith.
Losses: Alan Anders, Jared Dudley, Drew Gooden, JJ Hickson, Nenê, Ramon Sessions and Garrett Temple.
Projected Rotation 2016-2017: PG: John Wall, Trey Burke; SG: Bradley Beal, Tomas Satoransky, Marcus Thornton; SF: Otto Porter, Kelly Oubre; PF: Markieff Morris, Andrew Nicholson; C: Marcin Gortat, Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith
Strengths: John Wall and Bradley Beal have always been the go-to guys when it comes to tough situations for the team. Wall averaged almost 20 points and 10 assists. His passing skills improved a lot and could be considered as one of the league’s underrated defenders.
Beal, on the other hand, revealed himself as a legit threat from the three-point area. The team can also depend on their big men like Marcin Gortat and Ian Mahinmi. Both are very good defensive players who can contribute even without touching the ball.
Weaknesses: Aside from Wall and Beal, there are no other top 100 NBA players in the team. Beal’s durability is also an issue. With Jared Dudley gone, Beal might want to step up a little bit when it comes to scoring, or any other Wizards for that matter. Dudley was their best three-point shooter last season.
Prediction: 2nd in the Southeast Division and 9th in the Eastern Conference.
Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr