On Dec. 23, 2020, I asked you all for your predictions on the Washington Wizards for the 2020-21 NBA season, which just finished last week. Now that the season is over, let’s see how accurate they are at this point in time!
The verdicts on the predictions will be in bold italics.
Coaching and Front Office
- Coaching will be garbage again (imperialme) — Accurate. Okay, it’s a correct prediction! When Scott Brooks has a three guard lineup that went poorly and didn’t do much to get Deni Avdija more touches since he’s a playmaking three, not simply a catch and shoot guy, I don’t know what else to say.
- Scott Brooks gets a two-year extension (CDKA) — To be determined.
- Brooks will no longer be the Wizards’ head coach after the 2020-21 season, but he will still coach them for the year (kurli-kid, rotosportsbook, CzechWizfan, gorebd) — To be determined.
- Brooks coaches the whole 2020-21 season, but unknown whether he keeps his job after that (VCTerp) — Correct.
- Juwan Howard, the Michigan men’s basketball head coach will replace Scott Brooks (rotosportsbook) — To be determined. I doubt it even though the Trail Blazers are reportedly targeting Howard.
- Scott Brooks is fired midseason if the Wizards have a horrific start (0-8 or similar start), (rockyboyuser) — Incorrect, unfortunately.
- Tommy Sheppard will be fired as Wizards GM after 2020-21 (gorebd implies this) — To be determined. But it’s unlikely since Sheppard hasn’t decided whether Brooks stays or goes. Put another way, it would be diabolical by Ted Leonsis to have Sheppard do a lengthy review before making him fire Brooks as head coach — and then Leonsis fires Sheppard after that. It’s also a bad look for anyone looking to work for Monumental Basketball.
- Masai Ujiri is hired as an executive for Monumental Sports & Entertainment after the regular season where he hires his own GM for the Wizards. (gorebd) — To be determined. But I don’t see Sheppard being fired in any case given that they are openly trying to build around Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook. All of that said, new analytics head Dr. Katherine Evans comes from the Raptors franchise, so take that at face value.
- Scott Brooks will get an extension (Twelfth Man, sheedali) — To be determined.
- Scott Brooks gets an “Ernie Grunfeld special,” a/k/a the secret extension that’s announced after the fact. — To be determined.
Record: 2 correct predictions, one incorrect prediction, seven TBD predictions. I’ll go through the remaining TBD predictions later this summer.
- 34 wins and a 9th place finish for the play-in tournament (izaballa) — The prediction is correct on the number of wins (34-38). It’s incorrect where the Wizards placed eighth, though they made the play-in tournament. I’ll break this up into two predictions, one correct and one incorrect).
- The Wizards will go .500 or 36-36 (All dc and unc) — Incorrect.
- A Top-6 finish in the Eastern Conference, which means a guaranteed playoff berth (WarsawKen, DCUniverse, Mandark, sheedali, B4ThePearl, VCTerp) — Incorrect.
- The Wizards will win 38 games (drknowitall)— Incorrect.
- The No. 7 seed (which means a play-in berth (jeffco01, rockyboyuser) — Incorrect.
- A lottery finish (WizWatcher) — Incorrect.
- They make the play-in tournament but it’s unclear if they make the Round of 16 (WhyNotTyler, MeToo, DCPerspective, D.C. sports fan in SoCal) — Correct.
- They make the play-in tournament but miss the Round of 16 in the playoffs (kurli-kid)— Correct.
- The Wizards participate in at least 6 games with more than 250 total points scored. (WhyNotTyler)
- Wizards make the Round of 16 in the playoffs, but the seed is unclear (VBfan) — Correct.
- No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference (DarrellWalkerFan) — Incorrect.
Record: four correct predictions, eight incorrect predictions. Congratulations to izaballa for nailing the exact number of wins!
Player production, and team stats
- Russell Westbrook continues to put up numbers similar to his OKC and Houston days (kurli-kid) — Correct. He averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds per game which is at a very high level, like his last four seasons with the Thunder and Rockets.
- Beal is unhappy with the team at the end of the year but there are no real options for trades (kurli-kid) — Incorrect. Beal is happy to be in D.C. at least publicly. But since he was the second leading scorer in the NBA this season, there will be plenty of trade options if he wanted to leave.
- Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal make the All-Star Team if one is named (All dc and unc, rotosportsbook, VCTerp) — Correct. Bradley Beal made the All-Star team.
- The Wizards will make a trade for a veteran player by the deadline not named Russell Westbrook (All dc and unc) — Correct if we want to call Daniel Gafford a veteran since he isn’t a rookie! ... okay, I’m going to say this is .............. Incorrect. That’s because I’m assuming “veteran” means a player with over five years of experience and the Wizards made no such trades midseason.
- Westbrook will not have a great statistical first half of the season because he is “trying too hard” to be a good teammate (WhyNotTyler) — Incorrect.
- The Wizards participate in at least 6 games with more than 250 total points scored. (WhyNotTyler) — Correct. The Wizards’ sixth 250+ combined point game (which includes opponents’ scoring) happened on Feb. 2 vs. the Portland Trail Blazers.
- A Wizards player will win the Most Improved Player of the Year award this season (DJMilk) — Incorrect, Julius Randle won it.
- Westbrook finishes the regular season top 5 in assists per game (WhyNotTyler) — Correct. Westbrook was the leader.
- Deni Avdija makes the All-Rookie team (VBfan, Twelfth Man, sheedali, gorebd) — To be determined.
- Bradley Beal will be traded by the end of the 2020-21 season (VBfan) — Incorrect.
- Beal remains a Wizard the entire season (VCTerp) — Correct.
- The Wizards will trade for a post player by the trade deadline to split time with Thomas Bryant. — Correct. The Wizards traded for Daniel Gafford, though Bryant was injured and out for the season.
- Deni Avdija is a starter for most of the season, at the expense of Davis Bertans (CzechWizFan) — Incorrect. While Avdija started 32 of the 54 games he played in, Bertans only started 7 of the 57 games he played in.
- Bertans will average 5 three-pointers MADE per game (CzechWizFan) - Incorrect. He averaged three three-pointers per game.
- The Wizards will entertain trade offers for Westbrook this season, but won’t move on them (Twelfth Man) — Incorrect.
- Bradley Beal make the All-NBA Third Team (Twelfth Man) — To be determined.
- Rui Hachimura will not show much improvement (sheedali) — Hachimura had a better playoff stat line (14.8 ppg and 7.2 rpg) than a regular-season one (13.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) so I’ll go with .... Incorrect.
- The Wizards’ defense improves significantly (Wall2Beal4Three) — Correct. The defense was 19th in the 2020-21 NBA regular season (and better than that after the Gafford trade), and it was 29th last season.
- The Wizards have about a Top-20 defense in the NBA (noinipo) — Correct.
- Westbrook leads the NBA in assists (gorebd) — Correct.
- Westbrook averages a triple-double (gorebd) — Correct.
- The Wizards trade for Myles Turner (gorebd) — Incorrect.
- Bertans’ three-point percentage drops by five or more percentage points. That means he will average 37.4 percent or less of his threes this season (VCTerp) — Incorrect. Bertans averaged 39.5 percent of his threes.
- Four players average 14 ppg or more (CDKA) — Incorrect. Only three (Beal, Westbrook, Bryant) did. And Bryant only played 10 games.
- Four players average 6 rpg or more (CDKA) — Incorrect. Only two players (Westbrook and Bryant) did.
- The Wizards finish in the Top 20 for points given up per game (CDKA) — Correct. The Wizards gave up the most points per game in the NBA.
- Russell Westbrook plays both games of a back-to-back in February on, presumably to save Scott Brooks’ job (CDKA) — Correct.
- The Wizards’ roster will include two players shooting better than 40% from 3 and two non-centers shooting worse than 30%. (WhyNoteTyler) — Cassius Winston and Bryant shot above 40 percent from three, but neither played most games. Jerome Robinson was the only player to shoot below 30 percent from the field overall and multiple non-centers shot below 30 percent from three. Ultimately, it’s incorrect.
- The Wizards have a Top 5 offense and Bottom 5 defense (All dc and UNC) — Incorrect. The Wizards had the 17th best offense and 19th best defense based on team rating.
Record: 12 correct, 15 incorrect, 2 to be determined. A shoutout to gorebd for nailing the predictions on Westbrook’s assist ranking and his triple-double average.
And more that may or may not involve other teams
- There will be a new BF flame war over one of Troy brown, TB, or Bonga vs Brad and Russ and how they’re being held back by the two stars. (sheedali) — Incorrect. Phew!
- There will be a new BF flame war over who the backup point guard should be. Ish Smith? Raul Neto? Troy Brown? Jerome Robinson? Beal? (sheedali) — Incorrect. Ish and Neto were the main backups and thankfully it wasn’t like the Wall vs. Sato wars.
- The Houston Rockets finish with a better record than the Wizards (rockyboyuser) — Incorrect. The Wizards were 34-38. The Rockets were 17-55.
- Robin & GWiz make up and become best friends (Bullets Fever) — Correct? Or Incorrect? To be determined.
- Deni Avdija performs worse than Tyrese Haliburton (kurli-kid) — Correct. At a very high level, Haliburton averaged 13 ppg and played 58 games, while Avdija averaged 6.3 ppg in 54 games.
Record: 1 correct, 3 incorrect and one to be determined.