Welcome back to another edition of the Sports Scripts NBA 2013-14 preview. This has been a running series, and earlier today I covered the New Orleans Pelicans, so make sure you give that and the others a read. The current team I’m about to cover had the worst start in NBA history last year, but that all changed when a certain point guard returned and rejuvenated them. That’s right, we’re talking about the Washington Wizards.
Key Additions: Al Harrington (Signed via Magic) Eric Maynor (Signed via Trail Blazers) Otto Porter Jr. (Draft) Glen Rice Jr. (Draft)
Key Departures: Jason Collins (Free Agent)
Projected Starters: PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Otto Porter Jr., PF Nene, C Emeka Okafor
The Wizards were a terrible team last year, then John Wall returned, and they weren’t so terrible. They didn’t make too many big time moves this offseason, but instead chose to keep the core of this team essentially intact from last year’s team. The big player that they did add was Otto Porter Jr. third overall in the NBA draft, ahead of the likes of Cody Zeller, Alex Len and Nerlens Noel, three big men they could’ve used in a real weak position, especially at power forward. But Porter is a very intirguing player, with really good size, a decent shot and really good ball handling abilities for a forward. But he’s very inconsistent, and that will be the big test for him in his rookie year. The more polished player right now might actually be Glen Rice Jr., who they picked up in the second round. Rice will automatically become one of the top two shooters on this team, which should put him right in the rotation. They also added Al Harrington and Eric Maynor, but they will be bit players at best, Maynor playing as Wall’s backup.
The starters look very good to start the year, with a great mix of young talent and crafty veterans. Okafor will man the center spot, and he should continue to play at a high level defensively like he did last year, so long as his neck doesn’t bother him very much. I’m not very high on Nene, he’s very overpaid, has lost some of his offensive touch around the basket, and plays matador defense underneath the basket, which is why I felt a player like Len, Zeller or Noel could’ve filled in a power forward or center, and bumped Okafor down. Otto Porter Jr as we mentioned above has some very high potential, but also has high “bust” levels as well. He’s going to have to find his niche as the third scorer behind Wall and Beal. Speaking of Beal, hopefully he will continue to develop into a premiere two guard in the league, and will give the Wizards some good scoring all over the court. Finally we have the cog that makes everything move, one of the most valuable players in the NBA, John Wall. Don’t believe me? They went 4-22 without him to start, and played 500 basketball the rest of the way. Wall is on the verge of becoming one of those elite point guards like we all thought he would be, and with an improved offensive game to go along with his blinding defense, I think he gets there this year.
This is a potential playoff team, but they’re just missing a little something. Maybe Porter is that missing piece, but I think it falls in low post production, and Nene is no longer a guy who produce at a decent level. I also think their bench is rather lacking, and to make a splash in the playoffs, you need a bench that can adequately support your starters, and give them time to rest, without skipping a beat. The Wizards will continue to improve, and with another lottery pick, this is definitely a playoff team. Just a little bit longer Washington, and you might have yourselves a legitimate team on your hands.
Final Prediction: 40-42, 9th Eastern Conference