What a whirlwind of an offseason it has been for the Washington Wizards. The swap of John Wall for Russell Westbrook sent NBA Twitter into a frenzy. But is it a move that shakes up the East any? Will the Wizards be able to fight for a playoff spot?
Key Additions: Russell Westbrook, Deni Avdija
Though the Westbrook trade had previously been discussed, it came as quite a shock. Despite the negative attitude some view Westbrook, he is a former MVP and was the reason the OKC Thunder made the playoffs after Kevin Durant left. But I’m not sure how much better, if any better, the Wizards got with this trade.
As for Avdija, I like his game and think he can contribute as one of the first guys off the bench. His shooting started to trend upwards and is already a good playmaker. Most had Avdija going to the Bulls, but he somehow slipped to the Wizards at 9. Solid pickup and a solid player.
Key Losses: John Wall
Again, I do not know who really won this trade. But Wall had a lot more question marks than Westbrook. Wall hasn’t played in two years. While the Wizards were raving about his workouts, workouts and games are different types of basketball. Still, it will be odd not seeing Wall in a Wizards jersey.
Starting Lineup: Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, Davis Bertans, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant
Nothing really surprising here. Have to start Bertans because of the money you gave him. Hachimura had a promising rookie season. He’ll need to do better on the defensive side if this team is to have a chance.
At a glance, this Washington Wizards team will compete for a playoff spot. But where exactly do they fit in? And what about their defense? Wizards were one of the worst defensive teams in the league last year. Westbrook brings some defensive intensity to this team, but the rest of the lineup is pretty much the same. Lack of a defense could mean the difference by just a few points in one or two games, and that may very well keep them out of the playoffs.