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2014-2015 NBA Season Analysis- Washington Wizards
It’s time for the Wizards to make a step forward. I do believe with the talented team they’ve got and the help of the great future Hall of Famer veteran Paul Pierce, Washington should get closer to the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Also, a couple of good acquisitions in the front court and the improvement of some young players like Glen Rice Jr. or Otto Porter will make the team a little deeper.
Coach: Randy Wittman
PG: John Wall; Andre Miller
SG: Bradley Beal; Glen Rice Jr.; Martell Webster; Garrett Temple; Xavier Silas
SF: Paul Pierce; Otto Porter; Rasual Butler; Damion Jones
PF: Kris Humphries; DeJuan Blair
C: Nene; Marcin Gortat; Drew Gooden; Kevin Seraphin
One of their main strengths offensively is the fact that all five starters can score the basketball. This makes the defenders hesitate when helping out, makes them have to close out on every player, and opens up plenty of options for the Wizards.
Especially important is the great improvement John Wall’s shown in his shooting ability. It not only allows him to score from the perimeter (something he lacked in his first seasons), but also to get past defenders because of his quickness and the fact that they have to close out on him. Once he does that, he can either penetrate and get to the rim, where he’s brilliant, or find the open man in case of defenders rotating over to deny his penetrations; and this last play turns out to be amazingly powerful due to the ability of the Wizards players to knock down shots from the outside (Beal, Pierce, Glen Rice Jr., Otto Porter, Martell Webster…). Wall’s shooting improvement also makes the defenders have to watch his shots when playing pick & roll, what creates more room for the pass (something he’s really good at), and allows great finishers like Nene, Gortat or even Blair to continue to the rim and get easy points in the paint. As I mentioned in Derrick Rose’s case, a great weapon for the Wizards is also to put the ball quickly in Wall’s hands after defensive rebound or even after a basket, so that he can get easy points in transition due to his amazing quickness and ability to finish.
I believe we’ll also see designed plays for Bradley Beal many times, through multiple indirect screens, trying to get open shots (he’s one of the league’s best shooters) or continuations to the basket, where he’s certainly capable of getting lay-ups or finding the open man. And he's also very capable of putting the ball on the deck and create plays for his teammates.
Let’s not forget about the veteran Andre Miller, who can still provide great minutes for the team coming off the bench. With his high basketball IQ and great ability posting up point guards, he’ll find easy points either for himself or for his teammates through cuts to the basket or finding wide open shots for them in the perimeter.
Finally, all three members of the starting front court are still capable of playing isolation and creating their own shot, what means an extra weapon for the Wizards.
Let’s now focus on the defensive end of the court:
I do believe the Wizards can be a pretty good defensive team. They’ve got many athletic guys who can really stop great offensive players. Their only liability could be Paul Pierce, who, although still capable of doing a great job defending post-ups, may have some trouble defending quicker small forwards like LeBron, Durant, Parsons and so on. In this regard, I think Martell Webster could play a better role; or they could even use zone defence several times during games (mainly when the opponent team doesn’t have all the shooters in the court), something I consider under-used in NBA basketball.
Another of the main strengths is the fact that all big men in the roster are great rebounders, what reduces second-shot opportunities significantly, and I consider a key to winning basketball games.
To sum up, if the athletic players they’ve got are committed to defending, and they can compensate their weaknesses, we’ll be witnessing a great defensive, tough-to-beat team, that can get to the next level.
Likely Starting Line-up
Wall – Beal – Pierce – Nene – Gortat
With one of the most talented back courts in the entire Association, three more guys who make a great starting line-up and the help of their bench (as I said, couple of good acquisitions in the front court and hopefully some young players stepping up), my prediction is they’ll get home court advantage for the 1st Round of the 2015 NBA Playoffs with #4 spot in the East.
This is a preview of what we might see this NBA Season for the Washington Wizards