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What do the Wizards need to do in the playoffs to make this season a success?

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Should an up and down season, change our expectations for the playoffs?

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Wizards Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Now that the regular season is over, we have an opportunity to reflect on what has transpired this season and what we should reasonably expect for the playoffs. The Wizards finished 43-39, six games behind their 49-33 record last season.

Expectations going into the season were high. The team was expected to maintain or surpass last year’s record with an improved bench and a young core on the rise.

The season had quite a few ups and downs. The Wizards started the season losing seven of their first 13 games against teams with a losing record. Early losses to the Lakers, Suns, Mavericks, and Hawks quickly took the wind out of the team’s sails. Instead of talking about if the Wizards could finally get their first 50-win season since 1979, discussions quickly shifted to the team’s focus against bad teams and some finger pointing began to happen.

In spite of the poor play against teams with a losing record, the Wizards pulled off some impressive victories early in the season. They got quality wins over the Rockets, Cavaliers, Celtics and the Raptors. Your perspective on the team largely depended on how much you bought into the Wizards’ performance when they were at their best and their worst.

Then in late January, John Wall suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for two months and forced the Wizards to move the ball more in an effort to get quality shots without their best playmaker. The early results paid big dividends in the middle of the season. They won 10 of their first 13 games after Wall went down.

The run gave us as fans a glimmer of hope that this team could take another step into being a contender once Wall returned. But just as Wall started getting closer to returning, the team faltered again. They lost 11 of their last 16 games to drop from fourth to eighth in the East standings.

There’s no question the team hurt themselves with the games they blew to inferior teams early in the season. But that’s offset in part by how they were able to go on that unexpected run without Wall to keep them in the thick of the playoff race before they trailed off at the end of the season.

This brings us to what is about to transpire. The Wizards will start the playoffs against the top-seeded Toronto Raptors. Given how disappointing the season was, how should we realistically look at this year’s playoffs?

The playoffs could be a great opportunity to help people forget about the malaise of the regular season and re-establish hope for the future. But what would be considered a successful playoff run, in light of what transpired in the regular season?

This was supposed to be the year the Wizards made a serious push for the Eastern Conference Finals. Now they’ll need to join a rare club just to get out of the first round. Does that change your expectations? Should it?

It’s impossible to come to a consensus with so many variables to weigh, but it’s a discussion worth having before the team starts their playoff run. What will it take for the Wizards to make you forget about this season’s disappointments? Vote below:

Poll

What do the Wizards need to do in the playoffs to make this season a success in your eyes?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Give the Raptors a scare in the first round
    (66 votes)
  • 33%
    Advance to the second round
    (225 votes)
  • 47%
    Advance to the Eastern Conference Finals
    (320 votes)
  • 5%
    Advance to the Finals
    (37 votes)
  • 4%
    Title or bust
    (32 votes)
680 votes total Vote Now