'30 Teams in 30 Days' 2015-2016 NBA Season Preview: #12 Washington Wizards

By Rob Perez
Oct 12, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
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  • Odds to win the 2015-2016 NBA Championship: 55:1
  • 2014-2015 Record: 46-36 (Defeated by Atlanta, East Semi-Finals).
  • 2015 Draft Results:
    • Kelly Oubre Jr., Kansas University (15th Overall)
    • Aaron White, University of Iowa (49th Overall)
  • Key Offseason Additions: Jared Dudley, Gary Neal
  • Key Offseason Losses: Paul Pierce, Kevin Seraphin, Andre Miller
  • Projected Starting Lineup:
  • Player Salaries:
  • Season in Review:

The Good:

  • The Wizards won 46 games, the most in 35+ seasons.
  • The Wizards won a playoff series! Something 8 other playoff teams can’t claim.
  • John Wall has officially made the leap from “All-Star” to “Superstar”, and simply put: is irreplaceable as a Washington Wizard – recording a ridiculous 3.9 V(alue) (O)ver R(eplacement) P(layer) last season … meaning he is single-handily was four points better than anyone else in the Wizards’ back court. You can talk for days about how good this guy is, so, instead of writing/reading about it: let’s sit back, relax, and enjoy the awesomeness that was John Wall’s 2014-2015 season.
  • Marcin Gortat had one of the best years of his career. Not so much in the box score, as he only averaged 12.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, but, his importance to the lineup was arguably only second to John Wall…

To elaborate, The Polish Hammer’s individual rating was +14!!!! (ORTG 114/DRTG 100), meaning: when Gortat was on the floor, the Wizards produced 14 points more per every 100 possessions that they conceded. Those are LeBron James numbers, not even kidding.

The Bad and the Ugly:

There’s plenty of it, so, let’s start at the top with the completely clueless Randy Wittman.

He even has his own “Worst Coach in the NBA” Reddit thread! 

At what point is Randy going to realize that he has the best transition point guard in the NBA? It is absolutely INEXCUSABLE that a team with John Wall is not in the top 10 in pace, LET ALONE 18th SLOWEST (93.7 possessions average per 48 minutes). The byproduct of Randy not emphasizing pace is that the Wizards settle for a ton of half-court possessions … and guess what those can lead to when your coach has no clue what he’s doing? Bingo! Mid-range jumpers. John Wall’s shooting % by distance from the basket last season:

  • 0-3 feet: 62%
  • 3-10 feet: 40%
  • 10-16 feet: 42%
  • 16 feet – three-point line: 39%

Woof.

(To Wittman’s credit: it appears he heard the fans’ displeasure and is attempting to completely renovate the team’s offensive system this preseason by instituting a ‘Pace and Space’ style, which encourages small-ball and shooting a ton of threes … it’s the right thing to do, but, will it be efficient immediately or will it take time for the players to get used to? TBD)

Wall wasn’t the only one who struggled in the half-court last year either – we can’t go on without mentioning how the Wizards’ slow pace affected their best shooter: Bradley Beal. Of all shots that the second member of “The House of Guards” attempted last season, a disgusting 40.3% of them were from between 10 feet and the three-point line (not including threes). Considered to be the least efficient shot in basketball, Beal not only attempted 340 of them last year – he converted only 34.4%. That’s completely fine, mid-range jumpers are hard. We know this. My point here is that Randy Wittman, FOR YEARS, refuses to coach to his best players’ strengths – which, are for the most part: a result of transition basketball.

And finally: don’t even get me started on Nene Hilario. For years, this doofus has had a “he’s pathetically lazy on defense and literally does not care about rebounding to the point he’d rather just give up points and go run to the post for the ball” dark cloud hovering over him. I may or may not have just made that up, but, if you’re a Wizards fan or so much as have watched one of his games – it’ll take you all of five minutes of him being on the floor to agree with me. In addition to the fact that he averaged only 5 … FIVE … rebounds per game … as a starting NBA power forward/center! …the guys at WizoFawes.com unearthed a great statistic to illustrate his lack of passion and effort on the defensive end: 33.5. That is the percentage of contested rebounds that Nene was involved in which he ultimately retrieved, dead last on the entire roster. He only gets one out of every three rebounds – and he is a 6’11” 270-pound monster!

Maybe ‘monster’ is a bad term for Nene. Actually, no it’s not. He’s like the George Sanderson of the NBA.

Before the rebound hits the rim:

And after:

Have I mentioned that he was the only starter with a negative box score plus/minus last year too? Because he was. Things eventually got so bad last year … even the Coach Klein of the NBA, Randy Wittman, recognized it and benched him for…

  • Baseless God Wob

Kevin Seraphin! Who straight killed it for the Wiz on defense in 2014-15. In only 15.6 minutes per game played on average during the regular season, Kevin still accounted for 18% of the team’s TOTAL defensive rebounds while he was on the floor. In addition: he was the team’s best rim protector, as opponents shot only 47.6% there when he was playing. Of course, the Wizards let him walk to the Knicks for a minuscule contract that Washington could have matched twice over if they wanted to.

Seraphin wasn’t the only important player to leave: Paul Pierce is now a Los Angeles Clipper. Second to LaMarcus Aldridge leaving Portland, losing Paul Pierce will go down as the most influential transaction of the Summer in my opinion. Yeah, he’s old. Yeah, he only plays ~25 minutes a game … but, ‘The Truth’ still got it and other than John Wall – was the only player with a set of cojones on the entire roster of soulless Wizards players.

Do I even need to elaborate on this?

Who exactly is going to take these shots now that he’s gone? Otto Porter?

In conclusion: the Wiz had an opportunity this summer to get better AND replace Pierce. They failed. In fact, they got worse. They’ll make the playoffs again because John Wall is just too damn good to let them miss it, but, if you expect them to get past the second round – let alone make it – you’re out of your mind. Ownership will never admit it, but, this franchise is going through the motions this year – refusing to retain talent at market value so that they can have open cap space in 2016/in lieu of making a run for their hometown hero next summer: Kevin Durant. Thus, the Wizards aren’t going to improve. As long as they make the playoffs, management won’t care what happens from there because a championship isn’t a realistic expectation in the nation’s capital this season.

Trump 2016? Hilary 2016? Jeb 2016? No, in D.C.: it’s Durant 2016… or bust.

  • 2015-2016 Season Projection:
    • 45-37 Record
    • 5th Place in East
    • Playoff Prediction: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
  • Fan Mindset, as told by Hollywood:
    • Michelle Tanner, Full House
  • Baseless God Wob’s 3 Divine Questions:
  • If Otto Porter ever learns how to shoot, how good can he be?
  • If the Wizards are playing well going into the trade deadline … will they use up their available cap space to make a run? Or stand pat and wait for Durant?
  • Is John Wall the best point guard in the NBA if he learns how to shoot threes > 40%?

OTHER NBA SEASON PREVIEWS/PRESEASON RANKINGS:

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