By: Travis Thayer (@TheTravisThayer)
2012-13 Record: 29-53
Projected 2013-14 Finish: 2nd in the Southwest
Projected Starting Lineup
The Wizards only won 29 games in 2012, but they did finish in the top 10 in scoring defense. Their 95.8 points per game allowed was eighth best in the NBA, and the Wizards were also a great rebounding team, finishing ninth. Defense and rebounding will again be the Wizards biggest strength, especially if John Wall is healthy. Wall has the quickness and strength to stay in front of any point guard, and he will help anchor a defense led by center Emeka Okafor (8.8 RPG, .97 BPG). I personally thing John Wall is in for a monster year. He was nearly a 20-10 guy last year (18.5 PPG, 7.6 APG), he has been working hard to improve his jump-shot. John Wall will be an All-Star this year, and he will have the Wizards battling for the playoffs.
Scoring didn’t come at a premium a season ago for the Wizards. Their shooting percentages were terrible (.435 FG%, .365 3PT%, .733 FT), and that will have to improve if the Wizards are seriously going to contend for a playoff spot. The saying is defense wins championships, which is true – but if you can’t score the ball then defense really doesn’t matter.
Washington fans can rejoice. Your team has a good chance to make the playoffs in 2013. John Wall is healthy and ready to lead this team. Wall has the uncanny ability to get to the basket, as well as getting his teammates involved. Sharpshooter Bradley Beal will be Wall’s main target on offense. The combo of Beal and Wall will power this team, but it’s depth and defensive capabilities will ultimately lead this team to where it wants to go. I look for the Wizards to be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, which will be an accomplishment in itself, but will result in a likely matchup with two-time defending champs – the Miami Heat.