The Wizards’ moves this summer haven’t done much to move the needles in the eyes of ESPN’s advanced analytics crew. Kevin Pelton put together his forecast for the upcoming season, using ESPN’s Real Plus/Minus and his playing time projections, and while they don’t take a step back, they don’t take a step forward either, finishing 7th in the conference with 43.6 wins.
Here’s some of what Pelton had to say about the projection:
RPM sees this season more likely looking like last season’s 43-39 finish. The addition of Dwight Howard (projected minus-1.4 RPM) doesn’t figure to help much, though John Wall performing more like he did in 2016-17 would help Washington beat this projection.
To put it another way, this year’s projection has them looking like virtually the same team this season. The only difference is that they bump up a spot in the conference rankings thanks to Cleveland taking a big step back. That said, Washington would only need to outperform their projections by two wins to jump Pacers, Bucks, and Heat and slide into fourth, where they’d get homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
Before you accuse the metrics of slighting the Wizards, don’t forget that the same system projected Washington would finish third in the East last season. Let’s just hope after falling short of projections last season that they can balance things out by overshooting this season.