The Washington Wizards are at the NBA All-Star Break. After a major offseason where Russell Westbrook was traded for several starting calibert players like Spencer Dinwiddie, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell, Dinwiddie and Harrell were traded to other teams at the deadline last week.
We will now re-evaluate the predictions made in our national preview last fall. How close or how far off are we?
How close were we to our best case, worst case and most likely scenarios?
Our best-case scenario was that the Wizards would be on track for a 45-win season with their new additions playing well together. In the real world, they call the previous scenario a “best case” for a reason. In short, the best-case scenario wasn’t close to happening. While the Wizards were on track to blow the 45-win best-case scenario out of the water after their first 13 games, they are now below .500. Beal hasn’t signed his extension. Dinwiddie didn’t even last more than half a season in D.C. Bertans hasn’t worked out. That said, Kuzma, Harrell and KCP made positive impacts, with Harrell now traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
The worst case scenario was that the Wizards would be a sub .400 team with the team not gelling at all. Thankfully, the Wizards haven’t played sub .400 basketball all season long, but Washington has played that way since their 10-3 start. Beal has not requested a trade out of Washington, for now.
The most likely scenario was a team that is just under .500 that starts off poorly but improves as the season goes on. I wasn’t far off from that prediction, but instead of a rough start, the Wizards had a very hot one. Washington has the fourth-easiest schedule remaining this season according to Tankathon, so there is room for the Wizards to go on a better run, especially if Kristaps Porzingis can hit the ground running.
Am I excited for the rest of the season?
No, I’m not that excited. I think the Wizards should have made an effort to trade Bradley Beal and begin a rebuild, something I have quietly pointed out in roundtables here or in one of our recent Twitter Spaces.
The Porzingis trade is a low-risk, high-reward move in a vacuum, but it also gives the Wizards a hedge, or some rationale to kick the can down the road on deciding on whether to offer Beal a new contract extension, possibly up to a supermax or not. I’d rather see this team develop as-is for a post-Beal future. In a way, we’re seeing that right now because Beal’s out for the season. But I don’t want to feel like there’s an “elephant in the room.”
Reviewing and updating our preseason predictions
I predicted the Wizards would be 38-44 and be the No. 8 seed in the East in the national preview. They are currently 27-31 with 24 games left to play. Given that the Wizards have still struggled to play above .500 ball since November, the 38-44 record would require that Washington finish the season playing at .500. I just don’t have confidence that they’ll do that, because I expect Porzingis to play sparingly as Washington looks to preserve him from injury.
So I’ll say that the Wizards will be 35-47 and 10th in the East, taking into account that they have an easier record than most teams. With the Brooklyn Nets at the No. 8 seed with a 31-27 record, Washington will likely have to be above .500 in the regular season to make it up that far.
What are the odds of the Wizards getting ... a championship?
Before you win a championship, I know:
The Wizards’ odds of winning the 2021-22 NBA championship and Southeast Division are at +100000. In other words, they have almost no chance of bringing home the Larry O’Brien Trophy or a Southeast Division one. If the Wizards do win either and you have money on them, you’ll get a lot of money!
Alright, here’s hoping that the Wizards can finish off this season on the right note! YOu never know if you could get rich off of it!
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