One of the biggest conversations around the NBA this summer was the drama and eventual fallout in Cleveland between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. With the former Cavaliers point guard now in Boston alongside a slew of talent and James remaining with his hometown team, the conversation has left out the Washington Wizards.
Eastern Conference Bold Prediction: Washington Wizards Will Grab No. 1 Seed
Coming into the playoffs as the fourth seed a season ago, Washington was still behind Toronto, Cleveland, and Boston, respectfully. John Wall and Bradley Beal still managed to prove that they’re a deadly duo, and at one point seemed like they were in the driver’s seat of the conference before everything settled.
The Wizards had enough in the tank to escape the first round of the post-season against Atlanta, but not enough to get the Celtics out of the way. However, the reality of the situation is that the team has more to gain from their second round exit than those in the league realize.
Instead of taking it too hard, Washington is the kind of group that knows how to land. John Wall used last season, it seemed, as a way to really bring out his personality at his position. He’s obviously no Stephen Curry.
One of the biggest factors when it comes to how the Wizards will perform in the upcoming season is strictly momentum. Cleveland and Boston will have their own drama to worry about, and it will wind up being a distraction.
Contrary to all of that, Washington has a clear mission and focus and that is to be one of the best basketball teams in the NBA. Amidst the teaming up of superstars over the summer, both John Wall and Bradley Beal have made it clear that they intend to stick with Washington and not jump ship.
Here’s what Wall thought about the free agent situation this summer, per a report from NBA.com:
“There’s no point in testing free agency if I know where I want to be,” Wall said on Friday. “I have the ultimate goal what I want to do here. I know what team I want to play for my whole career.”
The star point guard did sign an extension with the Wizards for four years and valued at $170 million. It’s one of the richest contracts in league history, but for Wall the focus is on winning, not about money.
Scott Brooks, the head coach of the Wizards, added his take on the situation in Washington regarding loyalty. His comments are clearly aimed at pointing out the fact that what they have going on with the team is special and that being able to win without using any outside superstar additions would be great.
Outside of Beal and Wall, the Wizards have a nice couple of weapons on the wing in Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. Porter Jr. averaged over 13 points per game and six assists to go along with whatever Wall and company were putting up.
If anything, the team that the Wizards should be worried about in the Eastern Conference is the Milwaukee Bucks. Instead of worrying about the Cavaliers or the Celtics by way of star power, the opportunity to seize the Eastern Conference is just as much a chance for the Bucks as it is for the Wizards.
Milwaukee has the young stars to buck the trend of downward teams in their conference, but the Wizards have all the keys to stay on top. It’d be an incredible missed opportunity if things don’t work out in the fashion of a number one seed for Washington.
WASHINGTON, USA – February 4: Washington Wizards’ John Wall (2) tries to dribble past New Orleans Pelicans’ Solomon Hill (44) at the Verizon Center in Washington, USA on February 4, 2017. The Wizards lead the Pelicans 53-49 at halftime and are trying to claim their 17th straight win at home. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)