Daily Digits is a new daily feature we’re doing at Bullets Forever this year where we take a look at stats about the Wizards. We’ll dive into the numbers, add some context, and discuss how they affect the product on the court.
Today’s stat is the number of games the Wizards have between now and the February 8 trade deadline, which is...
Although the Wizards still have over a month to figure out what they want to do before the trade deadline, they don’t have as many games between now and the deadline as it would seem. That’s because the Wizards have to in mid-January to face the Knicks for the NBA’s London Game. The league gave the Wizards three days off before and after the game to accommodate the extra travel, which is great for rest purposes but limits Washington’s opportunities to see if the team can still make a playoff push.
What makes things even more complicated for Washington is that the mix of opponents between now and February 8 doesn’t include many games against the key teams Washington needs to gain ground on. They play at Miami on January 4, host the Pistons on January 21, and face the Magic in Orlando on January 25. Everyone else is either well out of Washington league (the Raptors, Pacers, Thunder, Warriors, Spurs, 76ers twice, and the Bucks three times) or already planning ahead for next season (the Knicks, the Cavaliers, and the Hawks twice).
Last season, the Wizards faced a similar stretch (minus the London trip) without John Wall, and flipped some games that seemed like losses into wins that secured their spot in the playoff race. They beat the Raptors, Thunder, Bucks, Pacers, and 76ers before they fell back to earth in March.
They’ll need to follow a similar blueprint this season if they want to convince to front office to avoid a fire sale before the deadline, because if the Wizards just beat the teams in their range and below them while losing to the ones well ahead of them (a 7-10 record) they’ll be 12 games under .500 at the trade deadline. Right now, it’s looking like it will take at least 37 wins to grab the eighth seed in East. So if the Wizards are 21-33 at the trade deadline, they’d need to go 16-12 (a 47-win pace) the rest of the way just to get to 37 wins.