Wizards Looking to Build Off of Last Year’s Success

Paul Pierce goes to the basket against the Indiana Pacers earlier this season.

Photo Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons user Keith Allison

Paul Pierce goes to the basket against the Indiana Pacers earlier this season.

Andrew Horick, Staff Writer

After five straight losing seasons, the Wizards found themselves in the playoffs last year. Over the five losing seasons, the Wizards made key transactions and obtained young players in the draft. The Wizards selected their franchise players in John Wall and Bradley Beal, and are hoping that Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. will become stars of the league themselves. While the Wizards have stacked up on young talent, they have also acquired Marcin Gortat and Nene, two veteran big men who helped the Wizards reach the second round of the playoffs last year.

Many were surprised about  how far the Wizards went in the playoffs last year.

 “I was surprised on how well the Wizards did last year, especially in the playoffs,” said sophomore Michael Joseph. 

This year the Wizards  came into the season as one of the top four teams in the Eastern Conference, and are poised to make a deep run in the playoffs. In the off-season the Wizards made a surprising move and signed future Hall of Fame veteran forward Paul Pierce to a two-year, ten-million dollar contract.

Junior and basketball player Charlie Ali believes that Pierce will definitely help the team and will be a good mentor to the young players.

The Wizards have started off well despite the early injuries to Bradley Beal, Martell Webster and Glen Rice Jr. Beal and Rice have already returned from their respective injuries, and are looking to contribute to the team.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls are the two teams that have the best chance to knock off the Wizards in the playoffs this year. The Cavaliers have the best player in the NBA, LeBron James, as well as two all-stars, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. The Bulls do not have as much star power as the Cavaliers, except for their former first overall pick Derrick Rose, but they play great defense under coach Tom Thibodeau.

“They may have the best bench [in] the NBA,” said Ali, which is another reason why the Bulls will be a tough team for the Wizards to beat this year.

The Wizards should not have a tough time making the playoffs, because the Eastern Conference is top-heavy this year. Last year, the Atlanta Hawks made the playoffs with the record of 38-44. But the playoffs could be hard to deal with because of teams such as Cleveland, Chicago and a hungry Miami team after the loss of LeBron.

“LeBron’s return to Cleveland is going to be hard for the Wizards to deal with this year,” said junior Michael Mahdavi. 

Wizards fans have suffered with their losing team over recent years, but after the team made it into the second round of the playoffs last year, Wizards fans had something to look forward to for the first time since the 2008 season. The Wizards have started off very hot, and are looking forward to have Bradley Beal back in the lineup at full strength.