Skip to content

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: Washington Wizards

Oct 3, 2013, 8:45 AM EDT

Bradley Beal, John Wall

Last season: The Wizards were pretty good when healthy, so they were pretty terrible.

John Wall, Nene and Bradley Beal all battled injuries, and Washington finished 29-53. But looking closer, the Wizards actually weren’t half bad when their good players were healthy.

  • With Wall: 24-25
  • With Wall and Nene: 22-19
  • With Wall, Nene and Beal: 15-7

Signature highlight from last season: At home last season, the Wizards beat the Eastern Conference’s top six teams and four of the Western Conference’s top five teams (Spurs excepted). That impressive show for the home fans included Washington’s play of the year:

Key player changes: The Wizards drafted Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr., adding two players who could crack the rotation this season. They also signed Al Harrington and Eric Maynor to fortify their depth. Otherwise, Washington stood pat.

Keys to the Wizards’ season: 

1) Has John Wall taken the next step? Quietly, Wall shot well from the perimeter late last season, perhaps filling the biggest hole in his game. But it’s also possible that was too small a sample to mean real improvement. The Wizards gave Wall a max contract, because they believe he can at least be the best player on a playoff team, and so do I. But Wall is so dynamic, his ceiling is superstar. If he reaches that level, expectations will ramp up in a hurry for the Wizards.

2) How healthy will Washington be? John Wall (33 games), Bradley Beal (26 games), Trevor Ariza (26 games) and Nene (21 games) all missed a substantial number of games last season. This year, Emeka Okafor is already hurt and so is Chris Singleton. Ariza and Nene have a history of injury , and they’re at the age when bodies sometimes breakdown. Wall and Beal are more likely to play a full season, but between the bunch, Washington is probably relying on too many players whose odds of being injured are higher than the average NBAer. 

3) Will the Wizards make the playoffs? Obviously a lot of smaller questions will determine this large one, but a postseason berth would be huge in Washington. The Wizards have sacrificed long-term upside to build a team capable of winning as soon as possible. A sixth straight season ending before the playoffs could mean big changes, from general manager Ernie Grunfeld to coach Randy Wittman and on down.

Why you should watch the Wizards: John Wall, for my money, is the NBA’s fastest player end-to-end with the ball in his hands. Watching him whir can be jaw-dropping, and shooters like Bradley Beal and Martell Webster ensure Wall has space to operate.

For those into ruin porn, Jan Vesely has a great combination. He plays with energy and without skills, increasing the odds something crazy happens when he nears the ball.

Prediction: 44-38. John Wall has gotten better in each of his three seasons, and he’s my pick for 2013-14 Most Improved Player. The Wizards have surrounded him with a well-balanced team, meaning they’ll get the most out of their talent, because everyone can play to their strengths rather than having to compensate elsewhere. If they stay relatively healthy, the Wizards should make the playoffs. Unlike last year, I think they’re deep enough to suffer slightly worse-than-average injury and still reach the postseason – and with Okafor already out, they might have to prove it.

Latest Posts
  1. Matt Bonner blames down shooting season on iPhone 6

    Jul 7, 2015, 12:17 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v San Antonio Spurs - Game Four Getty Images

    Bonner claims a Spurs strength-and-conditioning coach supports the theory

  2. Report: Mo Williams signing with Cavaliers for most of their MLE

    Jul 6, 2015, 10:04 PM EDT

    Mo Williams, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving AP

    Cleveland fills its biggest need with its second-best roster-building mechanism

  3. Reports: Mavericks re-sign J.J. Barea for two-years, $5.6 million

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:44 PM EDT

    J.J. Barea J.J. Barea

    This is a solid signing, but the Mavs need more help at the guard spot.

  4. Report: Cavaliers, Clippers discussing Jamal Crawford for Brendan Haywood trade

    Jul 6, 2015, 6:01 PM EDT

    Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    This trade could work for both teams if the Clippers can flip Haywood’s contract again for a big man.

  5. Reports: David West agrees to veteran minimum deal to play for Spurs

    Jul 6, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT

    David West David West

    West left $10.6 million on the table to go to a contender.

  6. Report: Dallas thinking of bringing back Jason Terry

    Jul 6, 2015, 4:12 PM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Houston Rockets - Game Two Getty Images

    Signing Terry would go over well with the fan base in Dallas

  7. Manu Ginobili tweets he’ll play next season

    Jul 6, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10:  Manu Ginobli #20 of the San Antonio Spurs gestures to a teammate in the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on November 10, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Can the Spurs keep Patty Mills and Boris Diaw, too? Ginobili must still negotiate a contract

  8. Report: Cavaliers-Nets Joe Johnson trade talks stagnate

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:36 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nobody wants Anderson Varejao and his contract

  9. Report: Nuggets hire Ed Pinckney as assistant coach

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg, Ed Pinckney AP

    Michael Malone lands a good lieutenant

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5687)
  2. D. Jordan (3784)
  3. W. Matthews (3781)
  4. R. Rondo (3264)
  5. D. Wade (3219)
  1. R. Hibbert (3134)
  2. D. West (3059)
  3. K. Bryant (2946)
  4. R. Lopez (2940)
  5. T. Harris (2896)