Oh, how I miss the Washington Bullets name. It would be so perfect for this iteration of the Washington basketball team. With that said, I get why it was changed. Two things, though. The football team is still named the Redskins. Nothing wrong with that, my good people of Washington DC? Well, at least my Native American brethren were given free reign over some casinos. Why Wizards? C’mon man! Anyways, as a Lakers fan, I probably should just STFU when it comes to nicknames. Back to this squad. There’s John Wall, who is faster than a speeding…wait for it….bullet. There’s Death Row DC, a nickname placed upon the team by Markieff Morris. Why Death Row DC?
“Death Row; that’s the type of team we are, that’s the type of team we want to be…A physical team that will kind of trash talk you a little bit, and that just don’t take no BS” – Bradley Beal
Sounds gangster to me. Definitely not Wizard-esque. This squad is tough and athletic. They lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but it was a great season. They won the division for the first time since 1979 and accumulated 49 wins after opening the season 6-11.
2016 record: 49-33
- Jodie Meeks via free agency
The Bullets…er…I mean Wizards are legitimate contenders to sit on the throne of the Eastern Conference. I don’t think they are NBA Championship caliber yet though. While the starting lineup is very good, there are still question marks regarding bench production. In addition, a couple players have some injury concerns. There should be plenty of fantasy manna in Washington, as they will probably be top 10 in pace, top 10 in offensive rating, and bottom 10 in defensive rating.
PG – John Wall is the freaking man. The turnovers are high, but he’s going to dish out 10 apg, get you two steal a game, and could drop a 50 burger any night. Not much needs to be said about Wall. Tim Frazier will be the backup this year. Wall plays around 36 mpg, so that doesn’t leave much for Frazier. If you care, Frazier doesn’t shoot particularly well, but will take care of the ball and run the offense. He will also rack up some steals.
SG – Bradley Beal. Please stay healthy my man. Beal has played over 70 games in a season only twice in his five year career. But when he plays? He balls out. He and Wall are definitely in the discussion for best backcourt in the league. Beal shoots 40% from three-land, will grab three boards, dish out three dimes, pilfer one a game, and drop 20+. His game is so nice. Love watching him play. Jodie Meeks will backup Beal. I always thought Meeks would have a better career than he’s had. I guess there are two ways of looking at it. The one-dimensionality of his game prohibited him from becoming a star. On the flip side, maybe by focusing on that one dimension allowed him to carve out a role in the league. Anyways, he shoots 40% from three-land. He probably/shouldn’t get too much run, but Beal has shown to have some injury risk so it may be wise to keep Meeks on the waiver wire speed dial.
SF – Otto Porter, the most interesting man in fantasy. Ok, maybe not, but he’s definitely one of the more polarizing fantasy players out there. He contributes in all but doesn’t dominate in any. Much of his value is tied to his shooting efficiency. I’m in the pro-Otto camp, as I like contributions across the board and believe he hasn’t topped out ceiling wise. Before Otto joined the Wizards, the team won 29 games. After he joined, 44 games. Coincidence? There are no coincidences. Only glitches in the matrix. Kelly Oubre is the backup. He had PRP treatment in June, but all indications are that he’s good to go. There’s been talk that he and Otto could play more together, so there’s a chance he gets more than the 20 mpg he received last year. With that said, he’s not a great shooter.
PF – Markieff Morris, the leader of Death Row DC, will be the starter. It’s kind of funny, but not really, that he and his twin brother have a trial in mid-September for felony assault charges from 2015. He could miss some training camp, but the main concern is that he faces a maximum of four years in prison if found guility. Plus, the NBA would issue a 10 game suspension if convicted. If he does play, Morris is a stretch four that will contribute in everything, but is light on blocks. Jason Smith will be the backup and has some skills. He can shoot the three (47% last season) and Per 36 was at 8.7 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, and 14 points.
C – Marcin Gortat has been the model of consistency his four years in Washington, a double-dub machine that rarely missed a game. With that said, there are some concerning things. The blocks plummeted last season and he was often placed on the bench in favor of a small ball lineup. He just can’t guard on the perimeter. Don’t be surprised if his minutes decrease or he’s on the bench at critical stages of the game. Ian Mahinmi was signed to a four-year, $64 million contract before the start of last season, so there were high hopes for him. Unfortunately, he missed 51 games due to knee injuries and had a minor procedure after the season ended. If healthy, he could definitely carve out a role for himself since he’s much more adept at playing perimeter defense.