Since the news broke that Washington Wizards’ star point guard John Wall would likely miss the entire 2019-20 season with an injury, rumors have been swirling about this team. Specifically, about Bradley Beal and his future with the team. Since the Wizards likely won’t be competitive in the upcoming season, there is a reason to trade Beal and start a rebuild. The Washington Wizards preview digs deeper.
Washington Wizards Season Preview
Recap of Last Season
The Washington Wizards had a rough start to their 2018-19 season, losing seven of their first eight games. Their lone win in that span was by only one point. Wall also only played 32 games, in which the Wizards were 11-21. This equates to 28 wins over an 82 game season. In reality, the Wizards won 32 games. This record made some people call Wall’s importance into question. Also, during the offseason, the Wizards reportedly were trying to package Wall in a trade with Beal. While Wall is a five-time all-star, his contract is exceptionally high. Wall signed a super-max extension that kicks in this upcoming year. He is owed 171 million dollars over the next four years. The lone bright spot last year for the Wizards was Beal. Beal averaged 25.6 points and 5.5 assists per game on pretty good efficiencies. This performance undoubtedly raised his trade value.
The Wizards signed three players in free agency. They re-signed Thomas Bryant for three years and 25 million dollars. Ish Smith received two years and 12 million, and Isaiah Thomas received the veteran’s minimum. Bryant averaged 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in just 20.8 minutes per game last year. While his defense is lacking, he is a good young offensive player. Smith’s deal makes a lot less sense. There’s no question the Wizards need a starting-caliber point guard, but Smith is far from that. He averaged nine points and three and a half assists last year on putrid efficiencies with bad defense. Smith is certainly not a starting-caliber point guard. Thomas struggled heavily during the 2017-18 season and barely played last season. However, because of how good he was before that, it’s a good idea to take a flier on him.
In the draft, the Washington Wizards selected Rui Hachimura ninth and Admiral Schofield at 42nd overall. Hachimura gives the Wizards another scoring option and Schofield gives them shooting, but neither provides the Wizards the defense they so desperately need. The Wizards had the 14th highest offensive rating last year but just the 28th best defense. They would’ve been better off taking a defensive-minded prospect.
The Wizards also made a couple of essential trades. They received Davis Bertans from the San Antonio Spurs for hardly anything. This trade was because the Spurs were creating cap space for Marcus Morris, who never even signed there. The Wizards also traded Dwight Howard to the Memphis Grizzlies for C.J. Miles. Both of these players are excellent shooters. While having proper spacing is important and will help Beal a lot, defense should be a top priority for the Wizards. Still, though, these were both excellent trades.
The Wizards said goodbye to a lot of players in free agency as well. Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green, Markieff Morris, Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, Austin Rivers, and Tomas Satoransky all left. Losing Ariza, Green, Morris, and Rivers won’t be much of an issue. One puzzling move was letting Portis and Parker walk after trading Otto Porter for them late in the season. They may have just been trying to save space with that move. Losing Satoransky makes even less sense. After the news that Wall may be out for the year, point guard was a position of need. Satoransky filled in for Wall after he got injured last year and did a good job.
The Washington Wizards would be wise not to have high expectations coming into the 2019-20 season. Beal, in theory, should play very well and put up outstanding stats. However, without another scoring option on the team, Beal will have a heavy offensive load to handle. To add onto this, Beal might be the Wizards best guard defender so he may not have as much energy to spend on offense. Also, Beal is one of the only playmakers on this team so the offense will almost always go through him. Regardless, he should still do very well. With the rest of the league adding talent and the Wizards moving laterally, fans should be expecting a season with a win total in the high 20s.
Washington Wizards 2019-20 Season Predictions
The Wizards will likely be near the bottom of the eastern conference, with only the Charlotte Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers as teams that will probably be worse. Bryant should also develop more on offense, and he may even crack a season average of 15 points. Considering Bryant is probably second-best scoring option on the team, barring a return from Wall or Thomas returning to his 2016-17 form, his minutes should be staggered with Beal. If there’s a time in the game with no Beal or Bryant, the Wizards must play a very pass-heavy and free-flowing game. However, this relies on the players being good passers, which most of them aren’t. The Wizards can only hope Wall comes back early or they trade Beal, get a great young prospect, and tank for a high overall pick.
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