The 2012-13 Pro Basketball Prospectus is out, and I can think of no more comprehensive preview of the NBA season than this. The folks who run that site and publish that book are among the hardest-working scribes on the Internet, and the level of detail for each of the player previews is pretty incredible.
As part of their book, they use a projection model called SCHOENE that predicts player and team performance based on a series of similarity scores to past players and teams of that ilk. That specific projection system, for what it's worth, isn't a fan of the Wizards this season. It predicts that the Wizards will go 25-57 and finish 14th in the East, which would obviously be a major failure.
Here's a relevant sample from the team write-up from Bradford Doolittle, who did not like the Wizards' offseason and was particularly critical of Ernie Grunfeld:
Now as we enter Grunfeld's 10th season at the helm of the Wizards, this summer's machinations strike me as an overreaction to another disappointing season. The concern is that Grunfeld has again fallen into the trap of latching onto middling Proven Veterans in order to escape the lower rung of his conference, and could be doing so at the peril of the franchise's path to a title. After all, the high-water mark in Grunfeld's nine seasons has been 45 wins and a lone playoff series victory in 2004-05.
It's harsh, but it's not a unique position (and it is fact shared by several in this community). Obviously, statistical models are not always accurate, and I think even the folks behind the model would agree that 25-57 is underselling the Wizards. But while I think they will be better than 25-57, many of the issues raised in the chapter and in the player profiles are very legitimate.
Anyway, here's the link to buy the book. I also contributed a brief excerpt on which player on the team should take the last shot. Here is that excerpt:
The answer to this question is John Wall, but that's only because it has to be John Wall. If you go by the numbers, Wall is actually one of the worst clutch players in basketball. Last season, he shot just 22 percent from the field in clutch situations, according to Basketball-Reference.com. Blame his lack of a jump shot, his poor teammates, his inexperience running pick-and roll and his struggles changing speeds. Basically, blame everything that has slowed his rise as a player in general. But the Wizards have centered their rebuilding effort around Wall, so they really don't have a choice but to put the ball in his hands and hope he learns from experience. The good news? At least he knows
exactly what has been holding him back.