- NBA Rank: 16
Conference Rank: 5
- Washington Wizards
Last season, the Wizards posted their first winning record since 2008 and won their third playoff series as a franchise since Wes Unseld last took them to the NBA Finals in the 1978-79 season. They made a series of off-season moves that looked to have them poised to hit fifty wins for the first time since the Carter administration. However, a series of injuries at the wing are threatening to derail that.
As I geared up to write my season previews, I was all set to love the Wizards this year. Then I ran the numbers, and they threw a big old damper on my hopes for them winning the Quidditch cup.
The Wizards success was built around all around good play from all their key cogs (i.e., zero bums), excellent play from Wall, Webster and Gortat and fantastic play from Trevor Ariza. None of their top seven fell into the red zone. They also had a great deal of health (except for Nene but at this point that's no surprise).
|Trevor Ariza ||2,723||29||0.234||13.3|
|Trevor Booker ||1,553||26||0.185||6.0|
|Jan Vesely ||470||24||0.145||1.4|
|Chris Singleton ||250||24||-0.004||0|
|Eric Maynor ||215||27||-0.099||-.4|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
Washington actually underperformed their win expectation last year by three whole wins. Why is the model so down on this team then? The key problems for the Wizards going forward start with the fact that they lost their two most productive per minute players in Ariza and Booker. Between the two of them, they accounted for 19.3 of the team's 47 wins produced. Their excellent injury luck seems to be going away.
|Paul Pierce ||3.0||2,086.2||37||0.118||5.2|
|Kris Humphries ||5.0||1,127.5||30||0.129||3.0|
|DeJuan Blair ||4.5||786.6||26||0.113||1.9|
|Rasual Butler ||2.5||763.2||36||0.073||1.2|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
Pierce is an excellent addition to this squad but, he's 37 and may not have much in the tank. Webster is openly talking about retiring in 2017 because of back problems. Beal is already out and hurt. I love the addition of Humphries and Blair, but I don't trust Wittman to play them enough over Nene, who may also be done. I also don't trust Wittman to do pretty much anything basketball related.
Here's a visual on their projected roster.
You'll note the fact that there are now some red players there. It is one of those players that may be the key to this season -- Otto Porter was loved by our draft model, but was terrible last season. If he live up to his promise and provides some critical backcourt depth, it'll could be the Wizards who will break from the pack and lead the Southeast.
In a familiar refrain, I think yet another Southeast team has issues, but is good enough to make the playoffs (while still being overvalued by Vegas). The Wizards biggest concern is the fragility of their backcourt. They have some nice lottery tickets on their roster that might pay off. All in all, I am more optimistic than the model but still slightly under Vegas in liking this team for around 43 wins.