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The biggest questions the Wizards need to answer this season

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What will the Wizards do if John Wall isn’t healthy to start the season?

John Wall sounded optimistic about his chances of being ready to start the season, but he cautioned he wouldn’t rush it just so he could suit up for the season opener.

The good news is the Wizards have some competence behind him this season. Satoransky may not have NBA experience and Burke’s NBA experience isn’t anything to write home about, but both should at least be competent. That, along with Bradley Beal taking on a larger load, should be enough to help the Wizards stay respectable if he misses time.

Still, there’s a big difference between respectable and competitive, especially since seven of their first eight games are against teams who made the playoffs last season, including a trip to Atlanta, and home games against the Raptors, Celtics, and Cavaliers. They’ll need to do a lot more than just be placeholders if they have to go without Wall to start the season and still want to get off to a good start.

Are the Wizards going to add another piece like John Wall wants or nah?

Over the weekend, John Wall said he thought the Wizards “still have an opportunity to add one more piece” which he also mentioned during Summer League action. Problem is, there aren’t a lot of players left who would qualify as a piece. Maybe they’d qualify as a “bit” or a “scrap” or a “chunk” but not a “piece.” Other than Dorell Wright, and the spontaneously combustible Lance Stephenson, there aren’t a lot of options out there that would be anything more than a replacement-level player.

In a vacuum, you could understand why the Wizards might not want to add another piece, considering what’s left out there. But at the same time, If Wall keeps asking for something, and the team doesn’t address that concern, at what point does it become a point of contention for Wall, especially if the team struggles with depth at small forward?

Speaking of depth at small forward...

Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards - Game Three Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

What happens if Otto Porter gets injured?

Sure, Kelly Oubre played well in limited minutes as a starter last season, but if he had to play more time with the starting unit, it would be easier for teams to prepare accordingly and take Oubre away from his strengths. Plus, the depth behind Oubre gets extremely sketchy. Can the Wizards hold up if they have to depend on Jarell Eddie or Danuel House to play a dozen or more minutes per night?

Can the Wizards take on small teams?

Remember when everyone in the NBA was trying to go small last year? It certainly worked better for some teams, than others, and as a result, several teams pivoted back to more traditional lineups by investing big money in big men. Washington definitely qualifies as one of those squads. Nearly one-third of their payroll committed to Ian Mahinmi, Marcin Gortat, and Jason Smith.

When you invest that much in your big men, it’s hard to justify any situation where one of them isn’t on the floor, but it also makes it more difficult to defend teams when they downsize. Will all of their counters to teams going small involve trying to force them out of their lineups with size, or will they experiment with Markieff Morris as a center at times to fight fire with fire, even if they’re burning money on the bench? Scott Brooks’ approach to the issue will have important ramifications on how the team’s rotation shakes out.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder-Media Day Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

How exactly will Scott Brooks develop the Wizards this season?

We get it. Scott Brooks likes developing players. That’s good! There are several players on the team who should benefit from that this season.

But development works differently for different players. For some players, it means cutting back on certain areas to focus more on areas where they can excel. For others, it’s about doing the exact opposite, and broadening your skillset rather than focusing on a few things. Development also doesn’t happen on the same timeframe for everyone. Some players should be fast-tracked to the next level of development while others may need to be slowed down to ensure they’re mastering what they’re working on before taking it to the next level.

In Oklahoma City, Brooks had the benefit of joining a team at the start of a rebuild where there wasn’t pressure to deliver immediate results. In Washington, he’s coming into a situation where he needs to deliver wins right away, but he also has to work on developing the team’s rookies so they can sustain their success as their veterans age. His track record suggests he should be up to the challenge, but it’s certainly a different challenge than the one he faced in his first coaching stint.