Our Washington Wizards preview 2020 – 2021 notes that this team was not very magical last season. The Wizards posted a 25-47 record, which earned them fourth place in the Southeast Division. The team finished 18.5 games away from the first-place Miami Heat. In the conference, the Wizards were 30.5 games out of first, which was held by the Milwaukee Bucks. This team was 5-9 in the Southeast and 18-27 in the East. There were only five other teams in the conference with worse record than Washington, including the Hawks. The Wizards were 2-8 in their final 10 games.
Washington Wizards Preview 2020 – 2021 – Stats
The Wizards averaged 114.4 PPG (7th), which is solid offense output. However, Washington allowed opponents 119.1 PPG (29th). Consequently, their PF/PA differential was -4.7. Overall, this team’s stats were either mediocre or downright terrible. On offense, they were 21st in field-goal percentage (45.7%), 18th in three-point shots (36.8%), and 11th in free-throws (78.8%). The Wizards grabbed just 42.0 RPG (28th), posted 25 APG (12th), and eight steals per game (11th). The team was 24th in blocks with 4.3 per game. Their 13.6 TO ranked 10th.
Defense was a big issue for this team. Along with ranking 29th in points allowed, the Wizards were 29th in opponent field-goal percentage, which was 48.8%. Opposing teams hit threes at a rate of 37.6% (27th) and grabbed 46.2 RPG (25th). The team’s rebound differential was -4.2. The Wizards were -1.9 in turnover differential (25th), -0.7 in blocks (23rd), and +0.4 in steals (11th). As can be seen, this team struggled on both ends of the court.
Although a number of the players on the Washington roster are listed as day-to-day, all of the issues appear to be short term. Three of the players who are day-to-day, Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and Davis Bertans, all need rest, while Jerome Robinson is dealing with a bit of a stomach problem. Ish Smith is complaining about some lower back soreness. When healthy, this roster offers point potential. The Wizards certainly have some very fine players. But Russell Westbrook is aging, and there could be issues with his health and stamina. The point guard backups are also a tad worrisome. However, there are some very fine players who are either ready to breakthrough or who are coming off of breakthrough seasons.
Washington Wizards Preview – Backcourt
PG Russell Westbrook (Day-to-Day) and SG Bradley Beal (Day-to-Day) are the primary players in back. Westbrook, who played 11 seasons with Oklahoma City, was with Houston last year. He shot 47.2% with the Rockets, averaging 27.2 PPG and 7.0 APG while playing 35.9 MPG. He also averaged 1.6 SPG and 7.9 RPG. Despite his age, Westbrook is still a major force on the court. In eight seasons with the Wizards, Beal has consistently showed improvement. Last year, he topped his best points and assists per game with 30.5 and 6.1 respectively. His shooting stats were 45.5 FG%, 35.3 3PT%, and 84.2 FT%. On defense, he posted 1.2 SPG.
Wizards Preview – Frontcourt
Our Washington Wizards preview 2020 – 2021 notes that in front, Davis Bertans (Day-to-Day) gets the start at small forward and Rui Hachimura is in the power spot. After three seasons with San Antonio where he posted so-so numbers, Bertans came to the Wizards where his averages exploded. Last season, he recorded 15.4 PPG, which just about doubled his previous output. He also brought down 4.5 RPG while averaging over 29 MPG. Bertans can hit from virtually anywhere on the court. His field-goal and three-point percentages were both over 42%. In his first NBA season, Hachimura averaged 30.1 MPG while recording 13.5 PPG and 6.1 RPG. He posted a 46.6 FG% and 28.7 3PT%. Look for Hachimura to put up even better numbers in his second NBA season.
Center Thomas Bryant (Day-to-Day), who has double-double potential, starts his fourth NBA season and third with the Wizards. Last year, he was good for 13.2 PPG and 7.2 RPG while averaging 24.9 MPG. A premium shooter, Bryant was good on 58.1% of his field goals and 40.7% from downtown. He also recorded 1.1 BPG.
Ish Smith (Day-to-Day) and Raul Neto are the designated backups at the point, while Jerome Robinson (Day-to-Day) and, again, Neto come in at the shooting spot. In 10 seasons, Smith has been with 11 different NBA teams, splitting five of his seasons between two different teams. In 2019-2020, he contributed 10.9 PPG and 4.9 APG. In five NBA seasons, Neto has averaged 13.8 MPG. Last season with the 76ers, he averaged 5.1 PPG while shooting 45.5% from the floor and 38.6% from the arc. Robinson, who came to Washington last season after two years with the Clippers, averaged 24.0 MPG while scoring 9.4 PPG and completing 39.7% of his field-goal attempts and 34.9% from downtown.
Small forwards Troy Brown Jr. and Deni Avdija are ready to offer support. Avdija and the especially versatile Bertans perform double duty as power forwards. In his second NBA season last year, Brown increased his playing time from 14.0 MPG to 25.8 MPG. He also pushed his point average from 4.8 PG to 10.4 PG and rebounds from 2.8 PG to 5.6 PG. Avdija, the ninth overall pick in this year’s draft, is a 19-year-old, Israeli-Serbian player. A solid shooter, he comes to the Wizards from the Maccabi Tel Aviv, a team in the Israeli Premier Basketball League.
Look for Robin Lopez and Moritz Wagner to offer relief at center. Lopez, a well-traveled vet who played last season with Milwaukee, averaged 5.4 PPG and 2.4 RPG over 14.5 MPG with the Bucks. He can hit inside and out. Wagner, a third-year NBA player, comes back for a second season with the Wizards. In 2019-2020, he contributed 8.7 PPG and 4.9 RPG over 18.6 MPG. He posted a 54.5 FG%.
Washington Wizards Preview 2020 – 2021 – Coaching
After five years as an NBA assistant coach and also as a college coach, Scott Brooks got his first head coach gig in 2008 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was hired by the Thunder after being an assistant for the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2007-2008 season. On April 22, 2015, Oklahoma City fired Brooks. That was one week after the Thunder missed the postseason for the first time in his half-dozen seasons as head coach. When he was fired, Brooks was the third-winningest coach in team history.
Our Washington Wizards preview 2020 – 2021 notes that in his first two seasons, Brooks led the Wizards to a first-place and then, the next year, a second-place finish. In the playoffs, in their first attempt, they lost in the Conference Semifinals and the second year the Wizards were out in the First Round. The last two seasons, Washington has missed the postseason.
Brooks spends a lot of time watching film, analyzing details, and running efficient and productive practices. He’s known as being one of the ultimate detail guys. He sees practice as his time, and the games as his player’s time. During a game, he does not express emotion. He keeps focused on the game as it develops.
Washington – Pluses and Minuses
- Good point production
- Lots of potential with the young players
- Various players can score inside and outside
- Westbrook is a great player, but he’s aging
- This team needs more defense
- Must improve on rebounding
Washington Wizards Preview 2020 – 2021 – Final Word
Our Washington Wizards preview 2020 – 2021 notes that we see this team as still struggling on defense. Last year, they could not stop teams from scoring, and we don’t expect that to change this season. They will put points on the scoreboard. But so too will their opponents. Concerns about Westbrook’s stamina are real.