Washington barely snuck into the playoffs last year as an 8th seed, and that was with John Wall playing just half the season. They were a sporadic team, and struggled against teams below .500, as Scott Brooks cited playing down to their level. They have a ton of talent and one of the better backcourts in basketball. They also just added Dwight Howard which helps on the glass and as an interior defender. The Wizards at the moment are not on par with Toronto, Boston, or Philly, but have the roster to be able to. We will have to see if they can make it work.
Dwight Howard is coming off a strong season averaging 16 points and 12 rebounds. He also added 1.6 blocks per game in 30 minutes per game. Washington was ready to move on from Marcin Gortat, and this team desperately struggled defensively around the rim. Howard can help in that area, but also bring consistent numbers. Howard has played 70+ games in three straight seasons, but is also coming into the season with an injury that makes him questionable for the opening week. Howard could leave the team with a bit of a hole to fill if injuries do occur for the starting center.
Scott Brooks is no stranger to superstar talent and superstar egos, given he coached in Oklahoma City. Last season was a bit of a rollercoaster for the Wizards, on the court and off. John Wall has had an interesting time frame over the last year, with some doubts about his weight and interest when on the court. He also now has Howard, and while he wasn’t an issue in Charlotte, the scenes are a bit brighter in Washington. Brooks will have his hands full this year, and will need to have a short leash with some of his players this season.
John Wall played just 41 games last season, and had his worst field goal percentage since his rookie season. Wall has been a hot topic in this offseason, at least for a period of time before other drama blew him aside. Wall is up in weight quite a bit, and preseason stories have been about his game shape. The athleticism has been dropping, and the Wizards don’t seem to be too concerned, but analysts and more so fantasy players are. Wall will be 28, which is supposed to be a prime age for basketball players, but Wall might be starting an early decline.
The Wizards play in one of the easier divisions in the league, with Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, and Orlando rounding it out. Three of those teams were lottery teams last season, with Miami being a playoff team, but not a very good one. Washington went just 20-15 against teams below .500, and Scott Brooks has been vocal about them playing down to their level. Washington easily has the best team in the division, but four teams that could haunt them if they drop games against them. They went 8-8 against their own division, which is horrendous when you look at it.