The Washington Wizards aren’t as popular as they once were, former all-stars Gilbert Arenas and John Wall made their marks for some time even legend Michael Jordan who although fell short of leading the Wizards to the playoffs in his 2-year tenure with the franchise had many NBA fans tuning in to watch the Wizards. It’s shocking to see swingman Bradley Beal still with the franchise, most thought he’d bolt to go compete for championships the moment free-agency came around but general manager Tommy Sheppard has taken care of Brad with 2 separate contract extensions since his former running mate John Wall was traded away from the franchise with the latest extension being a 5-year max well worth over $250 million dollars. I never envisioned Bradley Beal becoming the franchise player of the Washington Wizards but it is great to see he has committed himself to the franchise despite one unsatisfactory season after another and has elected to take the route of sticking it out with one team which was the motto until LeBron James paved the way for player empowerment and taking control of your playing career in the NBA.
No one around the NBA is wondering when will Bradley Beal ever get a championship as opposed to LeBron James who rose to the top of the NBA and had binoculars on him since he was a 13 year old boy in high-school. Can we blame Bradley Beal? What was he supposed to take less money elsewhere when he has a whole wife and kids to take care of? There is life beyond the NBA and from a basketball standpoint the amount of money he was given was a bit too much but I am looking at the roster around him and believe he could certainly lead the Wizards on a few playoff runs through the span of his current deal and perform like one of the top 10-15 players in the game for at least 3 of them even if he is pushing 30. Kyle Kuzma,Kristaps Porzingis,Deni Avdija,Corey Kispert, and Rui Hachimura figure to be the best players around Bradley Beal and judging off last season there is room for optimism this coming season and they could certainly at worst find themselves in a the play-in-tournament which should definitely be considered a successful season.
Kyle Kuzma was the catalyst for the Washington Wizards a ton of nights last season, he scored and rebounded a ton and showed us everything we expected him to do as a third option behind former teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He demonstrated he could do a lot more on offense than just play off the ball and wait for a LeBron rifle pass on the perimeter with little time to work with on the shot-clock. Kristaps Porzingis’s time alongside Luka Doncic was short, I enviosioned them both winning at least 1 championship together in Dallas before ever separating but I guess Mark Cuban just gave up on believing Kristaps Porzingis would find his stride outside of the pressures of New York and morph into Dirk Nowitzki who made him look like a genius for over a decade in the 2000’s. I’ve always been a big fan of Porzingis since Phil Jackson drafted him 4th overall, it’s hard to get a gauge on what type of player he is at the NBA level because he has transitioned from being a 1st option in New York to a second option in Dallas and now it is looking like he’ll be that second option once again for Washington this coming season.
Former Mavericks head coach Ric Carlisle now head coach for the Indiana Pacers thought it was best to have Porzingis shoot 3’s and be the best shot-blocker possible and take away as many isolation opportunities possible to cater to Luka Doncic who is now the face of the Dallas Mavericks. Current head coach Jason kidd thought he could unlock the Doncic-Porzingis duo and surprinsingly out of left field the Dallas Mavericks traded away Kristaps Porzingis landing him on a Washington team where he will have all the room to showcase himself as a the 3-level scorer he is. As far as Deni Avdija goes his development over the past few years has been minimal but he was very productive for the Wizards last season as a floor spacer,play-maker,and defender off the bench and should continue to make an impact for the Wizards this coming season and provide them with much needed depth. Rui Hachimura and Corey Kispert are two other young pieces who will be sure to make an impact next season as well but the Washington Wizards’s success this coming season will be reliant on Bradley Beal,Kristaps Porzingis,and Kyle Kuzma primarily as those 3 will be their top guns.
The Wizards went 35-47 last season in a campaign in which Bradley Beal missed well over half the season and of course Kristaps Porzingis was acquired at the trade deadline. Kyle Kuzma did a great job stepping up as the main guy last season but with a healthy Beal and Porzingis his workload will lessen and while his touches will go down it won’t be drastic because Beal and Porzingis’s usage rates aren’t as high as LeBron and Davis’s also throw in the fact that Beal and Porzingis aren’t the playmakers LeBron and Davis were either when he suited up alongside them. The Wizards will need Kyle Kuzma to be a go to play-maker and play a more all-around game because there is no pure point guard on the roster at the moment unless Monte Morris is supposed to be the guy and we all know Morris flourished best as a floor spacer on the Nuggets and someone who could give you a spark offensively off th bench. And no Deni Avdija won’t be a go to play-maker since he isn’t much good at putting the ball on the floor, he plays best when used as a screen-setter and roller to the basket or as a go to target from the post where he can get others involved.
Within head coach Wes Unseld Jr’s offense Kuzma and Avdija will be sure to get well over 4+ assists a night being that the Wizards don’t have someone who can get you 8-10 assists a night consistently in their backcourt at the moment yet they will be very exciting team to watch this coming season. Kuzma,Porzingis,and Avdija can all defend multiple positions,block shots at the rim, and shoot the ball at a respectable percentage from the 3 which will bode well for a team in need of both offense and defense plus Beal could use all the help he can get in Washington in order to compete. I definitely don’t see the Wizards being a top 5 seed out East but I also wouldn’t be shocked if they were aassuming Bradley Beal plays at least 70 games this coming season which will be quite possible with a full-training camp and obviously a more lengthy off-season. My prediction is the Wizards go 43-39 and get bounced in a tough 1st round series as a 8th seed this coming season, Porzingis has had a rocky career in the NBA so far hampered by injuries and lack of a suitable role but I believe he’ll make it all right in Washington and we will once again enjoy watching Wizards basketball, till next time.