FanPost

Forget About the Future, The Wizards' Window is Now

Alright so we have had a few days to take in the Wizards' latest playoff run, and although they ended up in the exact same position as last year, there was a lot of optimism that came out of it with the encouraging play of Otto Porter Jr. and Bradley Beal. With that said, the Wizards are in a really dangerous position that has plagued franchises in the NBA quite often, they are good enough to make the playoffs, but not quite good enough to become contenders. The easy argument against that is well their core is young. Wall is only 24, Beal is 21, and Porter is 21. These guys will have years to get it done, right? Right? Wrong.


One of the worst assumptions we can make as sports fans is that because we have young talent, that we have a long window, but consider all the things that have to go your way to even be a champion: you need an exceptionally well-built team, great coaching, a good bill of health, and possibly a little luck. If any of those things falter, your chances diminish signficantly. Just look at the Thunder for example. It was largely assumed that after their NBA Finals appearance in 2011 that they would be perennial contenders. Well these past 4 years have been tough with key injuries and bad matchups that have cost them opportunity after opportunity, to the point that they haven't gotten close to that same point. Now they are faced with a new coach, continuing to work through a roster overhaul made through the season last year, and implementing a new system with both of those factors that may or may not lead to more success. Clearly their run as a contender isn't as cut and dry as it originally appeared.


With that said, that is how we should look at this current Wizards' situation. Right now you have 3 players who have shown steady improvement and have shown the ability to perform in key stretches of big time games, but they are still lack a few things that have prevented them from being contenders.


So why is right now important? Because the Eastern Conference is influx and will likely not have any clear front runners going into next year. Cleveland, who is likely the one true contender in the East at the moment, are faced with the likelihood of losing either Kevin Love or Tristan Thompson, with Love being the one more likely to leave. Certainly they will be a viable team and perhaps one of the only true contenders in the East but there will still be questions about their lack of depth off the bench, their team defense and how their team will compete through a whole season in the event that they do indeed lose Kevin Love. Atlanta, as well as they have played in the regular season, are facing the chance of losing Paul Millsap/Demarre Carroll to free agency and their postseason play has brought questions of their viablity as true contenders. Then you have Chicago who is mired in yet another potential coaching change and also dealing with the ever-changing health status of their star player, Derrick Rose.


Besides those teams, the only team that is expected to make a leap into potential contention is the Indiana Pacers who will have a presumably healthy Paul George and perhaps a new quicker big man, as rumors persist of Roy Hibbert being benched.


It is clear that the Wizards have the potential to be at the least, the 2nd best team in the conference and perhaps more if the right moves are made, so it's clear that now is the time to make the right moves for this team. There is no telling if the East will continue to be this weak. You have teams like Boston and Milwaukee who are constantly improving and so it's very unclear, after this year coming up, especially with a huge free agent period luming in the summer of 2016, just how much the East can improve.


With that said, the Wizards need to spend this off-season getting real solutions to the problems which have held them back these past few years. They need a solid 3rd big man, who is capable of guarding quicker/smaller bigs who can potentially space the floor, they need at least one and possibly two players capable of scoring off the bench and getting them 10-15 ppg and they need better in-game management whether that comes from a new coach or Randy Wittman doing a better job of adjusting to opposing team's post season Chess moves.


If the Wizards can address these needs then they have a legitimate chance to contend and take advantage of a very weak conference. But if they have any missteps, they could be looking back at this time as a wasted opportunity to win with a healthy young core and perhaps a conference that maybe much stronger in the future. The time is now.

This represents the view of the user who wrote the FanPost, and not the entire Bullets Forever community. We're a place of many opinions, not just one.