State of the Southeast Division: Washington Wizards


One of the biggest problems with the NBA Southeast Division is that four of the five teams have real playoff chances. Three of those teams have had some form of recent playoff success. None of those three teams are the Charlotte Hornets. They are the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, and the Washington Wizards.

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The Wizards are the subject of today’s look at the division. The Wizards finished 46-36 last season and swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs. Then they took Atlanta to six games before falling short.

Entering the off season, the Wizards were one of only two teams in the division who attempted to maintain the status quo. They were only partially successful in this, as Paul Pierce departed the team for the Los Angeles Clippers. The Wizards did make a deal for Jared Dudley to help fill that spot. They also drafted the shooter Kelly Oubre.

Perhaps the Wizards were quiet this off season to prepare for the next off season. When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in the last off season, there were rumors as to what other players might be interested in coming to their homes to play their professional basketball. One of the players mentioned was Kevin Durant, who is from the DC suburbs. Neither Dudley nor Oubre could deny Durant a spot if they wanted to.

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However that is a concern for next year. This year the Wizards are still a team based on talented guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. Down low is where Marcin Gortat resides to add rebounding and additional scoring. That is where things get more interesting. Pierce was the fourth leading scorer on last year’s team and the owner of big time playoff shots. He is gone, and his departure means that Pierce believes that he has a better title shot in Los Angeles with the Clippers than with the Wizards.

Projected Starting Lineup:

PG John Wall
SG Bradley Beal
SF Otto Porter
PF Nene
C Marcin Gortat

Key Bench: F Jared Dudley, G Kelly Oubre, G Ramon Sessions, F Dejuan Blair

The Wizards were 2-2 against the Hornets last year. Since the Hornets made significant changes while the Wizards did not change much, you would think this would be an opportunity to swing this series in the favor of the Hornets. The Wizards are the third biggest problem in the division after the Heat and the Hawks in some order.

Next: Future of the Charlotte Hornets