Thursday, September 18, 2014

2014 Offseason winners: Washington Wizards

Paul Pierce - Washington Wizards
The Truth arrives in DC
2013-2014: 44-38

After winning just 72 games in his first three seasons with the Washington Wizards, 2010 No. 1 overall pick John Wall exploded in his fourth go-round, starting all 82 games and posting career-highs of 19.3 PPG, 8.8 APG and 1.8. SPG. For the first time since 2007-2008, when DeShawn Stevenson went head-to-head with LeBron James, the Wizards reached the playoffs, even defeating the fourth-seeded Chicago Bulls in the First Round. Sure, they couldn't resist the Indiana Pacers, losing 2-4 in the Conference Semifinals, but for the first time in a long while, the Wiz were relevant again.

If youth is the way to go in the NBA, then the Wizards have a bright future ahead of them. With All-Star John Wall and former No. 3 picks Bradley Beal (17.1 PPG in 2013-2014) and Otto Porter in tow, coach Randy Wittman sure has some talented youngsters at his disposal. Add re-signed Polish center Marcin Gortat (5 years, $60 million), Brazilian big man Nenê (17.4 PPG last season), forward Kevin Seraphin (15.5 PPG in 53 games), guards Martell WebsterGlen Rice and Garrett Temple, and veterans Andre Miller and Drew Gooden as returnees from last year, and it becomes clear that the team's success is of the sustainable kind.

Sure, the Wizards lost two important Trevors, being 3-and-D swingman Ariza and rebounding big man Booker, but they were adequately replaced. Former Celtics captain Paul Pierce, who was traded to the Nets after 15 seasons in Boston, joins the team on a modest 2-year, $11 million deal. His high-scoring days are behind him, but Pierce is still one of the savviest small forwards in the game, and the former NBA Champion will be a great mentor for sophomore Otto Porter. Forward Kris Humphries, another former Celtic (and Net, and Mav, and Kardashian), signed a 3-year, $13 million deal to provide rebounding and hustle. Former Spurs big man DeJuan Blair (6.4 PPG and 4.7 RPG) joins the team after a year in Dallas.

2014-2015:

The Wizards have arrived. It will be up to coach Randy Wittman to keep the momentum going, make Otto Porter and the young guys better, and incorporate the new guys. Now that Wall & Co.had a taste of the playoffs, you can bet your bottom dollar that postseason play is their goal. 

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