Heading into the 2013/14 season, we’ve polled Hoops Rumors readers on whether a handful of contenders will reach the playoffs. So far, you’ve weighed in on the Cavaliers, Bucks, Lakers, and Trail Blazers, but none of those teams could use a postseason berth quite as badly as the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards haven’t appeared in a playoff game since the 2007/08 season, meaning the club hasn’t made the postseason since owner Ted Leonsis assumed control of the franchise in 2010. Leonsis hasn’t been shy about spending to contend, having inked John Wall to a max extension earlier this offseason, and approaching tax territory for Washington’s 2013/14 team salary. The Wizards owner has made comments indicating he’s tired of appearing in the lottery and expects the team to be in the playoff hunt this season.
Do the Wizards have the talent to finish in the top eight in the East? That answer will largely be determined by Wall’s health and development, but the team played well in the second half last season, and added third overall pick Otto Porter to the fold this summer. With continued improvement from the club’s young players, including Bradley Beal, and contributions from veterans like Nene, Trevor Ariza, and Martell Webster, Washington should definitely be in the mix for a postseason berth.
Of course, health is always a concern. Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton have already suffered injuries, leaving the Wizards a little thin in the frontcourt. Wall and Nene have also missed time with injuries in recent years, and would put a serious dent in the team’s chances if they were to do so again.
What do you think? How will in the Wizards fare going up against teams like the Pistons, Hawks, Cavaliers, Bucks, and Raptors for a spot in the back half of the East’s top eight? Will Washington end its postseason drought and make the playoffs this season?