Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders wonders if this is the year that the Wizards reach the Eastern Conference finals and take their seat among the conference elites. Greene believes Otto Porter’s development will be crucial for the success of the team this season. Washington failed to sign Paul Pierce, who opted to sign a three year deal worth approximately $10MM with the Clippers, leaving Porter to take on a bigger role with the team. New acquisition Jared Dudley should help to ease the burden, but the 30-year-old is recovering from offseason back surgery and is expected to miss nearly a month of the regular season. The Wizards also added Alan Anderson and Gary Neal via free agency and the duo should help boost the team’s bench unit.
Here’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Magic’s new four-year, $64MM deal with Tobias Harris makes him the team’s highest-paid player, and the team will call upon him to score in the clutch, putting him under the microscope like never before, writes Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Harris, who cares about the way others perceive him, will have to deal with plenty of criticism based on how he performs, Schmitz adds.
- The Heat shouldn’t need as much from Dwyane Wade on the offensive end as they have in past seasons because of the team’s offseason moves, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sentinel writes in his weekly mailbag. Miami re-signed starting point guard Goran Dragic to a five-year deal worth $85MM. The team also added Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudemire in free agency.
Eddie Scarito contributed to this post.