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BF Staff Predictions: Our writers had a lot of near-misses on the Wizards’ season

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Let’s say that we didn’t have very many correct predictions to a T. But we were close on a lot of them.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Washington Wizards v Philadelphia 76ers
Let’s take a look at our writer predictions on the season that was!
Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Hi, yesterday we listed the results of our community predictions. Today, we will go over staff predictions for this season that were originally made. The original post from Dec. 23 is below, but let’s revisit them now to see how accurate we were.


Albert Lee’s predictions

  1. 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!) — Incorrect. The Wizards had a chance to be seventh in the East standings late in the season, and they were almost 7th in the playoff seedings if they could have just beaten the Boston Celtics in the upper half play-in game. They also lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Philadelphia 76ers, the one team that was one of the worst matches on paper for them.
  2. 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. — Incorrect. He made it through the regular season and could even be the head coach next season.
  3. 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. — Incorrect because Brooks wasn’t fired.
  4. Westbrook will get at least 10 triple doubles this season, but will not average those types of numbers for an entire season. — Incorrect. Westbrook had over 10 triple doubles but he averaged a triple double for the 2020-21 season. I’m not giving myself a mulligan.
  5. Westbrook and Beal will make the All-NBA Team. — Finally! A to be determined!
  6. Deni Avdija is runner up for Rookie of the Year. — Incorrect. He didn’t make the list of finalists for Rookie of the Year.
  7. John Wall cries when he sees a “Welcome home” video when the Wizards host the Rockets. — Incorrect as far as I know.
  8. 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. — Incorrect. The Wizards began hosting fans on April 21 with their home game against the Golden State Warriors. That said the Wizards had fans during the play-in round and playoffs. I’m partially correct, but not giving myself slack here.

Record: Every prediction will be wrong by the time the NBA Awards are released since I don’t expect Beal and Westbrook to make the All-NBA team given how the season has progressed. That said, I swung for the fences and I also didn’t give myself mulligans since I wasn’t far off. This is all good and fun, and I’m willing to be bold in these types of pieces.

John Morrow’s predictions

  1. 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. — Incorrect. Brown was traded last February.
  2. 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. — Incorrect. While he has been a good defender relatively speaking, Avdija’s three point percentage at the corners was not at the league average. That said, Avdija did start most of his games.
  3. 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. — Incorrect. Hachimura started all 57 of his games. He is still more like Emma Meesseman than Elena Delle Donne, if you know what I mean. But that’s not a bad thing, right? To be honest, this was expected given how high Beal’s (34.1 percent) and Westbrook’s (30.2 percent) usage rates are.
  4. 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. — Correct. Neither player received a fourth-year option. Wagner was traded in February. Robinson was released.
  5. 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 Ian Mahinmi was at times when he was healthy in that first year, and he’ll be a contributor on the second unit. — Correct. Lopez’s offensive rating was 124, the second highest of his career and his defensive rating was 116. He was a net positive for the Wizards even though his stats aren’t eye-popping though his scoring increased from 5.4 ppg last season to 9.1 ppg this season. On top of that his per-36 scoring rates were a career-high 17.1 points. Not bad!

Record: 2 correct, 3 incorrect.

Marcus Atkinson’s predictions

  1. 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. — Incorrect. Westbrook shot 43.9 percent from the field and his scoring average dropped five points a game from 27.2 ppg in the 2019-20 season to 22.2 this past season. This would be correct if I’m looking just at the second part.
  2. Hachimura will shoot 35 percent or better from 3 point range and be the 3rd leading scorer on the team. — Incorrect (but partially correct at the same time). Hachimura shot 32.8 percent from the three point line but was the Wizards’ third-leading scorer.
  3. Avdija will have a solid rookie year and end up being 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. — Incorrect. Avdija had a solid rookie year overall, but he wasn’t one of the top three picks in Rookie of the Year voting.
  4. Troy Brown Jr. will lose playing time and be traded before the trade deadline. — Correct. Brown averaged just 13.7 minutes per game during his appearances with the Wizards this season, down from 25.8 minutes per game in 2019-20. He was traded before the trade deadline.
  5. 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. — Incorrect. The Wizards were eighth place in the standings. Their winning percentage however was higher than last year’s and it remains to be seen as to what happens with Brooks.

Record: 1 correct, 4 incorrect (but many near-misses!)

Matt Modderno’s predictions

  1. 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. — Incorrect.
  2. Scott Brooks will get an extension. — To be determined.
  3. Ish Smith will get traded for a second round pick to a team desperate for a competent back-up point guard. — Incorrect.
  4. 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. — Incorrect. They lost 4-1 in the fourth round but put up a better fight in some games than anticipated.
  5. Thomas Bryant will be so solid that a large portion of the fanbase will pretend they haven’t spent the last year disparaging him. — Incorrect, but mainly because of his injury.
  6. Jerome Robinson will end up on his third NBA team and player really well for them, establishing himself as a long-term contributor. — Incorrect. He was released mainly because he was a liability on the court.

Record: 0 correct, 5 incorrect, one to be determined.

Akbar Naqvi’s predictions

  1. The Wizards will finish in the Top 7 and finish over .500. — Incorrect.
  2. Westbrook and Beal make the All-star team, if there is one. — Incorrect. Beal made the All-Star team while Westbrook didn’t.
  3. Troy Brown Jr. will shoot over 37 percent from the three point line. — Incorrect, he shot 30.4 percent from the three point line.
  4. Russell Westbrook will have his most efficient season since his MVP year — Incorrect. But Westbrook did average career-highs for assists and rebounds per game!
  5. Thomas Bryant will break out and cement himself as a top 10 center in the league, making strides defensively and raising his counting stats. — Incorrect.
  6. Davis Bertans experiences some regression to the mean and shoots slightly under 40 percent from the three point line. — Correct.
  7. The Wizards make a significant midseason trade and add another wing. — Correct. They made a significant trade by acquiring Daniel Gafford and added another wing in the same deal by adding Chandler Hutchison. This may also be the right time to share this, haha.

Record: 2 correct, 5 incorrect


Preseason predictions are always fun to look at once a season concludes. The Wizards had a very volatile season where it was ultimately quite difficult to nail something down to a T. However, there were many near-misses, in part because the Wizards ultimately finished their season with a playoff series, the goal this team set before the season.