Every year we gather our writers together to make predictions about the upcoming season for the Washington Wizards.
In the first part of our series, we discussed what we think the Wizards will do with their 2018 first round pick. In the second part, we made some predictions about certain goals we think the Wizards can reach this season. In this installment, we’ll make some player predictions and then we’ll cap things off on Tuesday with predictions on the Wizards’ record and how far they’ll go in the playoffs.
Otto Porter establishes himself as one of the best midrange players in the league
Now that the secret is out about Porter’s deadly outside shot, teams will work harder to force him off the line and create shots in the midrange area, similar to what we saw in the playoffs with both Atlanta and Boston.
The good news is that he’s always been very effective in that zone. Last season, he shot 48.1 percent there. Chris Paul was the only player in the league who took as many shots from the midrange as Porter and shot a better percentage.
Better yet, it looks like he’s worked on improving that aspect of his game. Look at this deft little one-footed fadeaway he used to get this shot off.
Even if Porter’s three-point attempts go down this season, he’ll be just fine. - Jake Whitacre
Jodie Meeks will be the most important player off of the Wizards bench
We only have a small sample size but so far, Jodie Meeks looks like he might be the elusive scoring threat off of the bench that the Wizards have been looking for. Meeks has the ability to get hot from three-point range and playing alongside John Wall will only help that. Meeks has the ability to hit five three-pointers and score 20 on any given night. If he can stay healthy, Meeks can very likely end up being the best player off the bench in a resurrection season for him. - Alan Jenkins
Marcin Gortat’s rebounding rate will tumble this season
Believe it or not, Marcin Gortat has managed to increase his rebounding rate in each of the past two seasons. He went from grabbing 16.3 percent of all available rebounds in 2014-15, to 17.9 percent in 2015-16, and then bumped it up to 18.6 percent last season. It helps that Gortat has fewer people to fight with to grab rebounds than he used to now that the floor is more spread out, but he deserves credit for crashing the glass harder at an age when most guys start tailing off.
Still, it feels like something has to give eventually. Based on Gortat’s production during the preseason, that time may be coming sooner than later. He only snagged 19 rebounds in 99 minutes of preseason action. That works out to a rebounding rate 11.9 percent and an average of 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes. Part of that is certainly self-preservation for when the games count, but still, it feels like at least a little bit of a red flag.
Even if it’s nothing, Father Time has to catch up with Gortat eventually. Maybe he won’t fall off a cliff this season, but odds are he’ll fall off at least a little bit on that end this season. - Jake Whitacre
Bradley Beal makes the All-Star Game
With conference affiliation in the All-Star Game coming to an end, some people may think that it hurts Beal’s chances. It might, but we also should recognize how respected Beal already is. Over the summer ESPN ranked him as the 28th overall player in the league and with 24 players making an All-Star team, it’s not unrealistic to think that he can make it. - Matthew Gilpin
John Wall will be John Wall
Nothing more I can say about him other than that he’ll continue to play his game and in order to lead this team he needs to continue to be dominant averaging a double-double. - Diamond Holton
Beal or Meeks will be in the Three-Point Contest
Not only will Bradley Beal appear in the 2018 All-Star game, but he will also participate in Three-Point Contest. He played in the contest in 2014, but rejected an invitation last year because he was robbed of an All-Star reserve spot. Plus, he could finally redeem himself from being a few shots from winning in 2014.
If not Beal, then Jodie Meeks should represent the Wizards. If his play in the preseason is any indication of how this season will go, then Meeks will definitely get an invite. - Jesse Lyles
Kelly Oubre gets a drastic haircut at some point this season
Oubre isn’t a kid anymore. He needs to do something to establish his #brand in the league, and nothing does that better than a funky new ‘do. Honestly, it’s just a matter of when, not if. - Jake Whitacre
John Wall gets to the All-NBA First team
With the NBA’s Western Conference acquiring a lot of star talent last summer, the Wizards should see their first 50-win regular season since 1979. Also, when stars team up, their stats are going to go down. John Wall didn’t get any new stars to join his team. He also has a chip on his shoulder since he’s noticed what his peers have done. The combination of a weaker Eastern Conference and his willpower should culminate in an All-NBA First Team appearance, which will be the first the Wizards have seen in quite some time. - Albert Lee