Fact or Fiction: Washington Wizardsby Garrett Brooks September 3, 2021 0 comments
The Washington Wizards will look quite different entering the 2021-22 NBA season compared to how they finished the 2020-21 season. First and foremost, they ended the Russell Westbrook experiment. They shipped him to the Los Angeles Lakers for a number of players that hopefully fit perfectly around franchise player Bradley Beal.
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The Wizards are a better team now than they were last season
A tough question that involves adding up the sum parts and comparing it to the presence of, primarily Westbrook. The Wizards have a much deeper group than they did a season ago. While they still lack defense that will be an issue once again, they have a strong guard once again in Spencer Dinwiddie and a number of upgrades in the frontcourt.
Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope all bring skillsets the Wizards lacked last season. KCP and Kuz are both strong two-way players and Harrell is an inside scorer that Beal will appreciate. Overall, the Wizards became a better team despite losing a better player than any single player they added.
Verdict: Fact, the Wizards are a better team now than they were at the conclusion of last season
The Wizards will make the playoffs
The Eastern Conference is steadily improving and this offseason it happened yet again. The top got stronger while lower-level teams made improvements like the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Hornets. The Wizards finished 8th in the east one season ago and similarly to their competition made improvements. Whether they did enough is a fair question to ask, though.
They are not going to beat any of the seven teams that finished higher than them in the standings a year ago this season. Add in the Bulls, a lock to jump to playoff status this year, and the Wizards have a tough road ahead. They will not finish top eight in the east but can compete for a play in tournament spot with teams like the Hornets, Indiana Pacers and potentially the Toronto Raptors.
Verdict: Fiction, the Wizards will not make the playoffs
Bradley Beal will be traded before the NBA trade deadline
After Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons, the biggest name that will be floating around in trade rumors is Beal. He is running out of time to compete in Washington and many think it is inevitable he eventually asks for a trade. While I think that is likely in the future, I don’t expect it to happen before this year’s trade deadline.
Beal has remained extremely loyal to the Wizards organization and is likely going to give them at least one more run at building it right around him. The Wizards won’t move him unless the return is significant and it is hard to imagine where that return will come from unless it happens next offseason at the very earliest.
Verdict: Fiction, Beal will not be traded prior to the NBA trade deadline
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