clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

50 predictions for the 2014-15 Washington Wizards season

New, comments

What's going to happen this year? The BF staff makes several bold (and not so bold) calls for the 2014-15 Wizards season.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, we're going to lay out our big predictions for the Washington Wizards' season. This time, we got to an even 50, which is (hopefully) the minimum number of regular-season games the Wizards will win this year.

Please use this space to make your own predictions in the comments section. Wins, individual benchmarks, whatever you want. This is the time.

Without further ado, the list. A note: several predictions conflict because they were done by multiple writers who disagree with each other from time to time.

wall beal

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

INDIVIDUAL BENCHMARKS

1. John Wall will shoot 40 percent from midrange and 36 percent from 3

We already witnessed Wall take huge strides as a shooter last year, raising his three-point percentage to 35 percent, but his mid range shooting still left a lot to be desired especially considering how many of those shots he attempted. He was below average in that regard last year at only 36 percent, which definitely derailed his efficiency. But given that Wall has showed us something new every year, I expect him to become a much more competent mid-range shooter, along with even improving his three-point percentage slightly. -Akbar Naqvi

2. John Wall leads the league in time of possession for the second straight year

This has more to do with Washington's big man depth, which I think has been exaggerated a bit this offseason, and Pierce being a natural fit at the 4 at this stage of his career. I think Wittman will have no choice but to go small more often than he'd like, and once Beal and Webster return, we'll see Wall unleashed in a more open offense. -Umair Khan

3. Bradley Beal's hand injury will prevent a breakout season

Wizards fans have high and sometimes highly unrealistic expectations for the third-year guard. Barring a dramatic increase in his ability to get to the free throw line or in his volume of three-point shooting, Beal will only marginally improve his numbers from last year. He will not be helped by the fact that he will miss the early going with a hand injury and will take some time to get into a rhythm with the offense. Still, monster numbers after the all-star break will give Wizards fans hope that his fourth year will show him to be a star. -Nick Bilka

4. Bradley Beal will improve, but only marginally

He's getting a slow start and overperformed in the playoffs against teams whose defensive schemes play to his strengths as an off-ball scorer. Looks for him to put up similar numbers as last year with a slight uptick in efficiency and assists. However, he's still at least a year or two away from even sniffing an all-star game. -Thomas Pruitt

5. Bradley Beal will shoot over 85 percent from the free-throw line

During media day, Beal said Pierce is holding him accountable for many things this season. One of those things was free throw shooting. Beal said Pierce told him there was no way his percentage should be where it is at now, which is 79 percent. I think Beal takes that to heart and drastically improves his production from the line -- including his free throw attempts. Michael Sykes

6. We'll write a lot of "Turns out Paul Pierce isn't washed up" stories

We won't complain about this though. -Jake Whitacre

7. Paul Pierce will play 66 games and average 29 minutes per contest

That gives him 16 games off due to rest or nagging injuries. Twenty-nine minutes is slightly more than last year, but the Wizards don't have quite as much depth as the Nets did. -Mike Prada

8. Kris Humphries will start as many games as Nene

This one isn't as unreasonable as it may seem, since Trevor Booker actually started more games than Nene last year. With the big man depth this season, we'd hope that Nene doesn't get another major injury, but with his age and history, it should be essentially assumed at this point that he'll miss some games. Wittman might also just rest Nene on back to backs more this season, considering Humphries is more than serviceable enough to take his place from time to time. -Naqvi

9. Otto Porter will make the Rising Stars challenge

How can he not? Look at those rec specs! -Amin Vafa

10. Glen Rice, Jr. will join Otto Porter in the Rising Stars Challenge

Rice has the ability to dominate. He can hit the deep ball, he's tough as nails driving the lane and hitting shots with contact and he's got a mean streak on the court. We saw it in the Vegas Summer League earlier in the offseason. For him to make the Rising Stars Challenge, he has to do the same thing throughout the season, but in a more limited role. That should make it even easier for him. -Ryan Gracia

11. Otto Porter will be in the rotation, but Glen Rice Jr. won't

I'm buying Otto Porter's preseason run. He looks like a different player, and while he's not going to be overwhelmingly effective every game, he'll be good enough to keep his rotation spot assuming he continues to hit a decent number of his shots. The guy that'll get squeezed when Martell Webster comes back will be Porter's companion Glen Rice Jr. Fair or unfair, his leash is shorter. Randy Wittman isn't the type of coach that's going to live with a horrible shooting game or a brain fart that costs the Wizards a game. -Prada

12. Glen Rice Jr. will play at least 23 minutes per game

We've already seen the early test of depth on the wing this year. Three wing players, including Rice, have gone down with early injury. However, once Rice returns, I expect him to get lots of playing time in place of Beal. Pierce and Webster's absences will have Rice seeing more opportunity than expected as well. -Sykes

13. Martell Webster will not return until late January

In keeping with what once was a Wizards tradition, Martell Webster's return from injury will wind up being later than had originally anticipated. While there was some talk of a return in late December, later is more realistic. When he returns, he will provide a big boost to the team's outside shooting, but will again struggle on the defensive end. -Bilka

14. Martell Webster re-emerges as a key cog, shoots 40-percent from three

He still put up great shooting stats in a down year last season, so even if Glen Rice Jr takes a step in the right direction, it's unlikely that he'll ever be as proficient as Webster is in catch-and-shoot situations. Wall desperately needs spot-up shooters and the Wizards roster isn't exactly ripe with them. -Khan

15. Andre Miller will continue to excel

He'll further defying the laws of aging and gravity, all while subsisting on a diet of Chick-Fil-A and Ben's Chili Bowl. His season will peak when he becomes the first 38 year old to compete in and win the dunk contest. -Pruitt

16. Rasual Butler will stick around all season long

He may have been a long shot to make the team in training camp, but he has everything this team wants in a role player -- the ability to spread the floor and knock down shots, experience, leadership and an understanding of his role. Meanwhile, Al Harrington will not be signed by an NBA team when his season in China ends. -Gracia

wittman wall

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

TEAM PREDICTIONS

17. The Wizards will rally for a 10th-place finish in offensive efficiency

It won't be pretty early and there will be plenty of angst about Randy Wittman's supposed anti-analytics screed. But once Bradley Beal returns, I expect a more diverse attack that'll be tougher to defend on a night-to-night basis. Free throw generation will still be a problem, but both Wall and Beal will shoot better (though still too frequently) on mid-range jumpers. -Prada

18. The team will drop to 15th in overall defensive efficiency

I think the Wiz will still make the playoffs, but I think the defense will decline a little bit. I think Nene playing fewer minutes will probably impact this, and while the bench bigs will certainly do their part, I think Nene's just a few steps better than they are at playing off Gortat to defend the the paint. -Vafa

19. The 1-3 Wall/Pierce pick and roll will be the Wizards' go-to play

Watch this video quickly.

This is "Hawk," one of the Wizards main sets. It involves a pick and roll on one side and a staggered double screen on the other, with tons of options for where the ball actually goes.

Now, notice all the times John Wall and Trevor Ariza combined on a pick and roll. Replace Ariza with Paul Pierce, who is capable of crushing any switches in the post. Now you see why this will be the Wizards' go-to set when they need a bucket. -Prada

20. The answer to the third-best big man on the team is ... nobody

And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I just think Wittman will mix and match depending on matchups ... and that even includes going small every so often. (But not often enough). -Prada

21. The Wizards road record will be worse, but the overall record will be better

Buoyed by a solid start to the season and the early elimination of Washington from NFL playoff contention, fans in the DC area will start to flock to the Verizon Center to see the Wizards. For once, the Wizards will have a real home court advantage and will win close to 30 games at home. Their road record will still be decent, but will be below last year's 22-19 record. -Bilka

22. Kris Humphries and John Wall will have great chemistry

Humphries flairs out for the pick and pop from the top of the key, forcing defenders to make a choice: surrender an 18 foot jumper to one of the league's best mid-range shooters or allow Wall the chance to go to the hole for an and-one opportunity. -Pruitt

23. The Wizards won't make a trade this season

Had the Wizards decided to pony up the money to keep Trevor Ariza, I'm not sure I would have made this prediction, but given the Wizards' current situation, everyone on the roster is either untouchable, not worth trading or untradeable. -Whitacre

24. Management eventually finds their backup point guard for next season

It's not that I expect Andre Miller to fall off completely, as he's still extremely valuable in the right matchup, but it's vastly different from a few months ago when he could invert the floor and play out of the post. Washington needs someone that can consistently get into the lane, and I think they'll be in the market for one eventually. (This also means I don't think Butler will stick). -Khan

25. Don Newman will be a serious candidate for a head coaching vacancy

As the Gregg Popovich tree continues to branch out, teams are going to start looking harder and harder at coaches who have grown under his tutelage and blossomed elsewhere. If the Wizards continue to improve on last season's success, people will inevitably begin to credit some of team's success to Newman. If they struggle out of the gate ... you never know, perhaps Newman ends up filling the vacancy right down the hall. -Whitacre

wall

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

LET'S GET BOLD

26. John Wall will finish top five in MVP voting this season

This seems like a stretch when you initially think about it, but the path is in place. Bradley Beal is going to miss at least 12 games, depending on how his timetable evolves. The Wizards second-best option as a secondary ball handler is the 37-year-old Pierce with Beal on the mend. Thus, Wall is going to get a lot more touches than originally expected and I think it gives him a huge bump in production. If the Wizards get off to a great start and keep it up throughout the season, Wall should get heavy MVP consideration even if he does not win it. -Sykes

27. John Wall will lead the league in assists per game

He came in second place in the category last year with 8.8, so it's not impossible. -Northam

28. Otto Porter will have a better season than Paul Pierce

With Otto Porter's fantastic preseason, he has showed the ability to consistently knock down threes, which was my biggest concern for him coming into the season. Considering he'll be able to initiate offense as a secondary ball-handler at times like in college, along with his length on defense, I expect him to be a more valuable player than an aging Pierce, as he'll be more suited to the Trevor Ariza role. Pierce is likely more valuable as a 4 anyway, but probably won't play it as much in Wittman's more traditional system. -Naqvi

29. Paul Pierce will get one triple-double this year

At this stage of his career, Pierce will likely be standing on the wings or in the corners waiting for a pass from Wall, but Pierce is still that player that can rebound on both ends, score in double digits at will and put his teammates in position to score. He will mess around and get a triple-double one night. (And no, he won't be the oldest to do so, that belongs to the 40-year-old Lakers version of Karl Malone). -Northam

30. The Wizards will be top-10 free throw percentage team

Again, Pierce is holding the team accountable for free throw shooting and Wittman is doing the same. If this team is going to be as good as they think they are, they have to make free throws. I think they will get it done. -Sykes

31. John Wall and another Wizard are going to be at All-Star Weekend

Then, at some point during the weekend, they will take a picture with Kevin Durant and post it to social media. People will go crazy. This is happening. Prepare yourself. -Northam

wall durant

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

MISCELLANEOUS

32. Obligatory Kevin Durant prediction

At some point during this season, this website will speculate on the possibility of Kevin Durant coming to D.C. when he becomes a free agent in the summer of 2016. -Bilka

33. Kevin Durant continues to crawl towards the dark side

It will be subtle, but Kevin Durant will continue to find ways to slowly distance himself from Oklahoma and make deeper and stronger connections to Washington D.C. -Whitacre

34. Kevin Durant takes a selfie with Colt McCoy

Like I said. Subtle. -Whitacre

35. Randy Wittman will drop an f-bomb in a press conference

Considering his latest rant on analytics and his propensity to get a bit irritable in press conferences, I can definitely envision him losing it the next time someone asks him about the Wizards' shot distribution. Naqvi

36. Paul Pierce will start at least four fights and be suspended for one

If he is going to poke Joakim Noah in the forehead during a preseason game, I have no reason to believe he'll be able to control himself in the regular season against ... say, I don't know .. Cleveland? -Sykes

37. Otto Porter will break his rec specs during a game

We still don't know enough about what makes Otto tick, since we've only really seen him play in Summer League and preseason games. Whether it's seeing his opponent make a few circus shots even though Otto's defended him well, or Otto just can't buy a bucket, we don't know how he'll react to certain situations. What I do know, though, is that he will get mad and smash those bad boys into, potentially, billions of pieces. -Gracia

38. Wale will shout out Marcin Gortat on a track

Wale has an album due out soon, and Gortat seems like a prime candidate to get name dropped on a song. He's already dropped John Wall, Marc Gasol, Rudy Gay and, yes, even Josh Selby in previous songs. It's Gortat's turn. -Northam

39. Gilbert Arenas attends a playoff game at the Verizon Center

It has to happen eventually, right? -Khan

excited

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

FINAL PREDICTIONS

40. The Wizards will be above .500 by the end of November

Remember how the big story for much of last season was this Sisyphusian battle against the elusive .500? Well, the Wizards are going to nip that in the bud early. I believe once the first full month of the season is over, we won't have to address this debate any longer. .500+ ahoy! -Vafa

41. The Wizards will have double the wins of the football team by December

The way I figure this is that the Wizards will have played 16 games through November. The Washington football team already have three wins so far this season out of eight games played and will have played a total of 12 games by November's end. If the football team wins two of their four November games, for example, that puts it at five total wins. The Wizards would need to win 10 of their 16. Despite early injuries and suspensions, that's an attainable amount. -Gracia

43. The Wizards will go 8-2 in their 10 nationally televised games

Have you seen their national TV schedule? I think the only games they might lose at this point are against Chicago and one of the two against Cleveland. Wiz gonna look gooooood on TV this year. -Vafa

44. The Wizards will split the season series against Cleveland

We're all looking forward to the Cavs-Wizards rekindled rivalry this season. LeBron vs. The Truth, Wall/Beal vs. Irving/Waiters, Varejao vs. Nene, Soulja Boy vs. Jay Z. This rivalry has everything. I think it will be testy, and I think both teams will come into opposing cities with something to prove. In half of the instances, Something to Prove will beat We Must Defend This House. -Vafa

45. We will continue to act like the Wizards are equals with the Cavaliers

We can't stop. We won't stop. Can't you see it's we who own that night? Can't you see it's we who ‘bout that (never letting go of an old rivalry) life? -Whitacre

46. The Wizards will split the season series with the Bulls

I think the level talent on these two teams are about even (if everyone is healthy) so that's why I think they'll split. We all know how heated these games get too. Also, multiple players will be suspended for fights during those games. I expect a few scuffles a games between the two sides. Joakim Noah will be involved, and so will Pierce and Nene. Will we see Wall throw a punch? Maybe. -Northam

47. The Wizards will NOT win the Southeast Division

With LeBron James' departure from Miami, Wizards fans are rightly optimistic about their chances to win the division where they've been a longshot for so many years. However, the Southeast is no cakewalk. A healthy Atlanta, a revamped Charlotte and a still-talented Miami team will all challenge for the division crown, and with the Wizards injuries and integration of new pieces, I could definitely see them falling behind in the division early on. -Naqvi

48. The Wizards will win the division, but get swept by the Hornets

Last season's struggles vs the then-Bobcats have already transferred into two preseason losses for the Wizards. There's something about those stingy Hornets that the Wizards can't quite figure out. But at the end of the season, Washington will have the overall better record. -Gracia

49. The Wizards will win 47 games, one playoff series and two second-round games

A so-so start thanks to Beal's injury, the several games Pierce rests and the inevitable Nene absence will hurt the regular-season bottom line, but the Wizards will be playing their best by the time April rolls around. I'm expecting another first-round win -- though probably not 4-1 like last year -- and another competitive second-round defeat, likely to Cleveland. -Prada

50. The Wizards will make the conference finals, but Ted Leonsis will not get a mohawk

Despite the Wizards taking the next step and making the Eastern Conference Finals, Ted Leonsis will not follow through on his promise. Referring to the "silly season" of "blogger-types," Leonsis will suggest he never really gave a ironclad promise to shave his head. Besides, Wittman didn't go through on his dunk promise, so why should Leonsis go through on his mohawk one? -Bilka