Wizards season preview

Sean Lynch

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Opinion on Spirit Week
February 25, 2019

Keith Allison (Flickr.com)

All Star backcourt mates John Wall and Bradley Beal look to gain control in the Eastern Conference.

    The new NBA season is right around the corner, meaning the return of the hometown Washington Wizards. Another promising season was cut short last year due to a loss in the first round at the hands of the Toronto Raptors. It the first time that the Wizards had been eliminated in the first round in 11 years. The Wizards front office tried their best to make some improvements this past offseason.

    Arguably the biggest news story for the Wizards this offseason was the acquisition of star center Dwight Howard. He was traded to the Brooklyn Nets from the Charlotte Hornets, and was waived almost immediately. Many speculated that he was going to sign with the defending champion Golden State Warriors, but he surprised many with his decision to come to D.C. He should be a big option on offense for John Wall and guard Bradley Beal.

    Senior Justin Bobb thinks that the addition of Howard will make a big difference for the Wizards this season.

    “The acquisition of a great new center gives the Wizards a mini big three. The other additions like veteran Jeff Green, and two new promising young players should help them make the push to making a deep run in the playoffs,” Bobb said.

    The next big move they made was trading longtime starting center, Marcin Gortat, for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Austin Rivers. Gortat reportedly had an argument with all star point John Wall about playing team basketball. While Wall was out with a knee injury for a chunk of the season, Gortat claimed that the team was playing better team basketball without him. This caused a tension between the two and even amongst many fans, finally causing the organization to send him to Los Angeles.

    Senior Dermot O’Kelly found the trade very beneficial for the Wizards, since they are seeking scoring outside of their two star players.

    “The trade was great for the Wizards. Gortat was underproducing and had a large contract,” O’Kelly said. “Austin Rivers provides backcourt depth and scoring which is something they seriously lacked.”

    The Wizards’ bench needed much improvement after multiple seasons filled with offensive lapses once the starters left the floor. Besides young forward Kelly Oubre Jr., there were no scoring options. Acquiring Rivers from LA was just what they needed. Rivers averaged 15 points and 4 assists last season. They also signed Georgetown University alumnus forward Jeff Green from the Cleveland Cavaliers after he went unsigned for most of the offseason. He brings more 3 point shooting and defensive versatility. Another notable signing was 2nd year player Thomas Bryant who brings an athletic defensive presence. They used the 15th overall pick from this years NBA draft on Troy Brown Jr. from Oregon University, someone who has have displayed talent throughout Summer League and this preseason.

    Additionally, Sophomore Phillip Stubin thinks the Wizards will improve this season based on these new offseason additions.

    “I expect them to make the playoffs and be at least the five seed in the weaker eastern conference,” Stubin said. “I would say a little over 40 wins out of the 82 game season.”

    With all these upgrades and changes to their lineup,  fans hope the team can survive a lengthy season without injuries and be better than last year.