The Washington Wizards come into the season with a lot of questions. These questions mainly revolve around their star backcourt duo. John Wall is expected to miss all of this season. Bradley Beal has been the center of trade talks all offseason. The Wizards missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016. The team selected Gonzaga Forward Rui Hachimura 9th overall in the draft. However, it appears that unless somebody is willing to take on Walls massive contract both him and Beal will remain in the nation’s capital. Heading into the season lets see how the Wizards starting five will look come October.
Point Guard: Isaiah Thomas
The Wizards have given IT the opportunity he has been seeking. Back in 2017, the Boston Celtics traded the guard to the Cleveland Cavaliers in order to get Kyrie Irving. Nobody can fault that move but due to injuries, many people have forgotten just how good Thomas was. The Wizards should know first hand as he scored 53 points against them in game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Thomas would finish the Wizards off in game 7 scoring 29 points and 12 assists to send Boston to the Conference Finals. After 44 games over the past two years with the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers the Washington Wizards could be just what Thomas needs. On a one year deal, the two-time All-Star gets to team with Bradley Beal and what could be one of the best backcourt duos in the East. Let’s see if Thomas can play at the level he did in 2016 where he averaged a career-high 28.9 points per game.
Shooting Guard: Bradley Beal
The Real Deal Bradley Beal is the star of this Wizards team for now anyway. The two-time All-Star is coming off a career year where he averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He has also played in all 82 games the last two years.
With Wall out, Beal did his best to carry the Wizards but they fell just short of the playoffs. The Wizards have offered Beal a 3-year $111 million dollar max extension which he has not yet accepted. If Beal makes an All-NBA team this year he will be eligible for a 5-year $254 million dollar supermax extension next summer. While there have been talks of the Miami Heat making a deal nothing seems imminent. Still, just 25 years old entering his prime Beal looks poised to continue to lead the way in D.C. and prove he’s one of the games best shooting guards.
Small Forward: Troy Brown Jr
Troy Brown Jr is entering his second season in the league. The 6’7 Forward from Oregon is looking to take that next step in his game. He started 10 games for the Wizards last season and appeared in 52. Across those 52 appearances, he averaged 4.8 points on 41% shooting He also started 11 games in the G-League for the Capital City GoGo where he averaged 16.6 points per game. In the summer league, Brown showcased a glimpse of what he can do.
In two starts he averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds. The 19-year-old also showcased his versatility and he can play both guard and forward despite having some turnover issues the rebounding and scoring output is a definite step in the right direction.
Power Forward: Rui Hachimura
Hachimura is what all Wizards fans were looking forward to seeing and he didn’t disappoint. The 9th overall pick showed out in Las Vegas. Overall he averaged 19.3 points 7 rebounds with 1.7 blocks per game while shooting 50% from the field across three games. His best game came against the Atlanta Hawks as he scored 25 points with nine rebounds. As a result, this landed the Japanese forward on the MGM Summer League Second Team.
Even though he played just three games the promise is there. Hachimura will get another chance to impress this summer as he will represent the Japanese national team during the Fiba World Cup.
Center – Thomas Bryant
Bryant has become the man at center for the Wizards. The team finally moved on from Marcin Gortat and Bryant took advantage. Last season the 22-year old started 72 games averaging 10.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.
The Wizards gave the Indiana big man a new three-year deal worth $25 million dollars. Bryant is looking to continue building on his game and could evolve into one of the better centers in the league.
The Washington Wizards have a very capable starting five. Off the bench, they also have some key veterans in Ish Smith, CJ Miles, and Ian Mahinmi. If Thomas is healthy him and Beal should be enough to keep the Wizards in playoff contention. This season will, however, depend on how well Troy Brown and Hachiumura play. Thomas is the oldest member of the starting five at 30 years old while Beal is the next oldest at 25. Youth is on the Wizards side as Bryant is 22, Brown is 20 and Hachimura is 21. Look for the Wizards to win between 35 and 40 games and sneak into the playoffs if all goes well in a top-heavy eastern conference.