The Oklahoma City Thunder won the draft. This was the first year in my Thunder fandom where I was nervous about the draft. This was going to be the make-or-break it for the rebuild. For Thunder fans in the last ten years, the draft meant drafting raw athletic long-term projects with later picks. Players like Josh Huestis, Terrance Ferguson, and...
Far-Fetched Friday: Washington Wizards Return to Playoffs Next Season
By: Ryan Stein
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, our focus is on John Wall, Bradley Beal, and a forgotten franchise.
The Washington Wizards have seen their stock steadily drop since they made it to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs three years ago. Washington has been plagued by injuries the past few seasons, particularly with John Wall, who has missed 155 of 228 games since the team's second-round trip. This has placed all the burden of the franchise onto Bradley Beal, and although he has performed terrifically in Wall's absence, he hasn't been enough to make the Wizards relevant in the East. That being said, the 2020-2021 season will see D.C.'s team return to the playoffs - and it won't be as an 8-seed.
John Wall's return from injury will automatically be a boom to the Wizard's playoff chances. While there have been some chemistry issues in the past, Wall has still put up big-time numbers during his tenure on the team. Washington will also have $15 million in cap space this upcoming free agency. Although that's not enough to pick up a star (not that this year's free agent class is flush with stars), there is plenty to pick up a significant contributor, and they can go over the cap to re-sign key rotation player Davis Bertans.
What teams will the Wizards leap over next season? Two teams come to mind as the only realistic possibilities: the Orlando Magic and the Indiana Pacers. The Magic are the quintessential average team in the league at this point, and while the Pacers are admittedly quite a bit ahead of the Wizards, they'll be relying on Victor Oladipo to get back to form following his extended absence due to injury. Washington has had a tendency to outperform expectations in the recent past, and the 2020-2021 season will see a continuation of that as they pass up the Magic and maybe even the Pacers en route to a return to relevance.
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