Below are some of our writers’ predictions on how the 2020-21 season will go. I already wrote my record prediction more-or-less in SB Nation’s NBA league wide preview earlier this month and will stick with it. Here are eight predictions I have:
- The Wizards will finish 7th in the East for the play-in, and they will make the playoffs. From there, they will lose in the second round. (OPTIMISM FOLKS!)
- Scott Brooks will be terminated in the first half of the season after the Wizards stumble with a sub .400 start in their first 15 to 20 games.
- However, with an interim coach (who may or may not be on the bench), they bounce back strong and the Russell Westbrook/Bradley Beal backcourt develops the chemistry that many were looking for. The Wizards will go .600 in their remaining games after the coaching change.
- Westbrook will get at least 10 triple doubles this season, but will not average those types of numbers for an entire season.
- Westbrook and Beal will make the All-NBA Team.
- Deni Avdija is runner up for Rookie of the Year.
- John Wall cries when he sees a “Welcome home” video when the Wizards host the Rockets.
- There will be no fans at Wizards home games this entire regular season due to the coronavirus pandemic. There will be limited fans for the play-in round and playoffs.
And below are more staff predictions! Enjoy!
John Morrow’s predictions
- Troy Brown Jr. flourishes and takes control of the second unit, becoming a more integral part of the team. He got hurt right before the start of last season and his role was constantly in flux. I think he comes out and cements his rotation spot and could join the closing lineup.
- Deni Avdija will start day one and be a pleasant surprise to a fanbase that has a lot of questions regarding him. While he’s not the same defender Isaac Bonga is, he’ll provide a better all around game and will show that he can hit corner 3’s while being at least average defensively.
- Rui Hachimura will struggle to start the year (well now, after the start of the year). He may end up losing his starting spot to Bertans. I don’t buy that he’s willing to shoot it at volume and his game has more questions with Westbrook around as he won’t get as many touches in his preferred area, the mid-post.
- Moritz Wagner & Jerome Robinson won’t be in the rotation and will both have their 4th year options declined. One or both will be part of a trade at some point. Wagner especially seemed to lose the coaching staff’s confidence last season & Robinson won’t get enough touches to build his own confidence.
- Robin Lopez will surprise everyone with his fit. For years, the Wizards guards have been awful at fighting through screens and at going top-side, instead putting bigs in tough spots where they are forced to guard on the perimeter when they aren’t suited to do so. Lopez’s addition shows they are going to adopt more drop coverages and he’s a very good rim protector, even if his block numbers aren’t that notable. He will be a positive, like Mahinmi was at times when he was healthy in that first year, and he’ll be a contributor on the second unit.
Marcus Atkinson’s predictions
- Westbrook will shoot 45 percent or better from the field, but his points per game will drop 3 points per game, meaning he will average about 24 points per game this season.
- Hachimura will shoot 35 percent or better from 3 point range and be the 3rd leading scorer on the team.
- Avdija will have a solid rookie year and end up being 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting.
- Troy Brown Jr. will lose playing time and be traded before the trade deadline.
- The Wizards will finish in 9th place again, despite having a better winning percentage this season and Coach Scott Brooks will not be re-signed.
Matt Modderno’s predictions
- The Wizards will trade for a well-known Spurs veteran but it won’t be DeMar DeRozan. Keep your eyes on LaMarcus Aldridge or Rudy Gay.
- Scott Brooks will get an extension.
- Ish Smith will get traded for a second round pick to a team desperate for a competent back-up point guard.
- The Wizards will finish 6th in the East and lose 4-2 in the first round of the playoffs but put up a good fight.
- Thomas Bryant will be so solid that a large portion of the fanbase will pretend they haven’t spent the last year disparaging him.
- Jerome Robinson will end up on his third NBA team and player really well for them, establishing himself as a long-term contributor.
Akbar Naqvi’s predictions
- The Wizards will finish in the Top 7 and finish over .500.
- Westbrook and Beal make the All-star team, if there is one.
- Troy Brown Jr. will shoot over 37 percent from the three point line.
- Russell Westbrook will have his most efficient season since his MVP year
- Thomas Bryant will break out and cement himself as a top 10 center in the league, making strides defensively and raising his counting stats
- Davis Bertans experiences some regression to the mean and shoots slightly under 40 percent from the three point line.
- The Wizards make a significant midseason trade and add another wing.
We will revisit these predictions once the season is over!