Washington Wizards 2016 Preview
2015 Season Review: 41-41, 4th in Southeast Division, 10th in Eastern Conference
Playoff Finish: Missed Playoffs
Offensive Rating Rank: 18th
Defensive Rating Rank: 14th
Pace Rank: 5th
Ian Mahinmi (Free Agent – Indiana Pacers)
Trey Burke (Trade – Utah Jazz)
Andrew Nicholson (Free Agent – Orlando Magic)
Jason Smith (Free Agent – Orlando Magic)
Ramon Sessions (Free Agent – Charlotte Hornets)
Jared Dudley (Free Agent – Phoenix Suns)
Garrett Temple (Free Agent – Sacramento Kings)
Nenê (Free Agent – Houston Rockets)
The Wizards were a .500 team last season and after an offseason without a Kevin Durant signing it looks as though it will be more of the same in 2016-2017. The Wizards used the money that was supposed to bring Durant to D.C. on guys like Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson and Jason Smith – role players. Mahinmi will be a very nice upgrade to backup Marcin Gortat, but unless their starters all improve there isn’t much evidence pointing to them getting better. Every other team that finished ahead of them in the East last year did something this offseason to improve their squad (outside of the Miami Heat and maybe the Atlanta Hawks). Washington will have to overachieve to get back to the playoffs.
The team revolves around John Wall who was a top 10 fantasy option last year. He had surgery on both knees in May which is something to watch for in the preseason and early on. Wall relies heavily on his athleticism so a pair of bad knees is somewhat worrisome. Recently, however, Optimus Dime has seen an increase in minutes in practice and even played without a knee brace in a preseason game against the Knicks – all signs point to Wall being ready to go for the start of the season. He will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this season as he’s been vocal about being underpaid and feels he has something to prove. I’ll probably pass on Wall until I’m sure he’s back to 100%. If I like what I see he is good in any format and he’ll find his way into many of my lineups.
Bradley Beal is only 22 and has a lot of room to improve. Some may argue that losing Beal for 27 games hurt the team and it’s certainly possible. However, when Beal played last year the Wizards were 28-27; when he did not they were 13-14 – not a whole lot of drop off there. If Beal stays healthy it will hurt the value of John Wall who saw his usage% climb from 28.2 to 30.1 when Beal was not on the floor.
Otto Porter is a solid two way player who has great energy. At just 23 years old, the former No. 3 overall pick could be ready for a big year. Last season was the first full year playing as a consistent starter and he showed us some glimpses of his capabilities. He uses his long arms to get into passing lanes and gets a lot of steals – last year he ranked 7th at the small forward position with 1.4 steals per game. He can also block shots, rebound and hit threes. He’s always been a role player and will probably continue to be one next year as one of the Wizards’ last scoring options.
Marcin Gortat was a beast last season and he helped me win quite a bit of money. I used him as a cheaper pivot off higher priced centers in cash game and he consistently delivered for me. The Polish Hammer nearly averaged a double-double and 1.3 bpg. On a team that is you’d think would be dominated by guard and wing players, Gortat found a way to contribute on a nightly basis. If he wasn’t scoring, he was rebounding or racking up fantasy points with defense. Gortat is a workhorse and I love him (I really do) but I’m worried that entering his age 32 season he is due for some regression. It seems the Wizards share my concern as indicated by the Ian Mahinmi signing (Ian Mahinmi recently injured his knee and had surgery on October 14th. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks which puts his return sometime between early November and Thanksgiving). Gortat has averaged nearly 30 mpg over the past 6 seasons and over the past 3 he has played in 81, 82 and 75 games.
Markieff Morris rounds out the starting five for the Wizards and will look to build on what was a strong finish to the year after being traded from Phoenix. After joining the Wizards Morris improved his game in nearly every statistical category. I’m not sure if that’s because he was happy to move on from the Suns or if it’s because he played alongside John Wall. Regardless of the reason, Morris played better and with all the other storylines circling the Wizards, not much is being said about him. I think he’s due for a big season in 2016-2017 because he matches up well against other power forwards in the Eastern Conference. Markieff is very big and athletic for a power forward. He is a versatile player who can run the floor, get rebounds and knock down shots. Another reason I’m optimistic he’ll have a good year is the coaching change. I considered Randy Wittman to be one of the worst coaches in the league last year. I trust Scott Brooks’ ability to manage players and now that he’s at the helm there’s a good chance Morris and rest of the Wizards will be utilized properly.
Mike works in pharmaceuticals and is a diehard fan of all Boston based sports teams. He’s been playing DFS for a little over a year and enjoys all sports, but his favorite is NBA. He is mainly a cash game player, but likes to throw his hat in some GPPs as well. In his first year he grew a $50 deposit into a few thousand dollars. He dreams of grinding away and growing his bankroll so one day he can quit his job and do DFS full time.