Holy crap. The Wizards are actually good. Like, have you watched them this season? They’re actually playing like an NBA team and not some D-3 community college. For the first time since ’09, the Wiz are over .500 (24-23); they’re currently the East’s 5th playoff seed (and they’re only 1.5 games out of 3rd); and the players are actually all healthy and performing. Led by the starting 5 of All-Star reserve John Wall (19.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 36.9 minutes per game), Bradley Beal (16.7, 3.7, 32.8), Trevor Ariza (14.3, 6.0, 35.2), Nene (13.8, 5.9, 29.6), and Marcin Gortat (11.9, 8.9, 32.6), the Wiz are poised to begin a new era. In Wall, Beal, and Nene, it seems as though Washington has their first true Big Three since the gradual decline and departures of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler. We’ve won 8 of 12, and of those 12 games, we’ve reached triple-digits in points 8 times.
It’s possible that we could be poised to become a perennial playoff team again. Just to provide background for some of you who haven’t followed the team that long: The Wizards made the playoffs four years in a row, from 2005-’08. In ’05, they made it to the second round, where they were swept by Miami. In each of the following 3 years, they were bounced by Cleveland
LeBrons Cavaliers in the first round. More history: before 2005, the franchise made the playoffs in consecutive years 3 times: from 1984-’88, the Bullets never made it past the first round. From 1969-80, however, the team made the playoffs every year, reaching 3 Finals and winning 1. Their other streak was a brief one: 1965-66.
In Beal and Wall, the team has seen 2 of their last 4 top draft picks (Wall was first overall in 2010; Beal was third in ’12) develop into powerful weapons on the court. Coupled with the team’s trading away 3 guys (the insane dunker JaVale McGee, Ronny Turiaf, and Nick Young) for the talented yet oft-injured Nene in ’12 (throughout his career, he’s averaged 12.5 points per game, however he’s played in 75 games or more just 5 times in his 13-year career), it seems like we finally have a good mix of young and veteran talent to complement each other. And as a casual Georgetown fan, I still have my fingers crossed that Otto Porter, Jr. (the 3rd overall pick last year) will find a way to break out.
I somehow haven’t been to the Verizon Center this year. Anyone wanna go with me?