- Russell Schmidt
NBA Future Power Rankings 9. Washington Wizards
*Photo via USA Today
The Washington Wizards ended the 2014-15 NBA season at the claws of the Atlanta Hawks in heartbreaking fashion. However, Washington faithful have a lot to be excited about. The Wizards d̶e̶s̶p̶e̶r̶a̶t̶e̶l̶y̶ ̶n̶e̶e̶d̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶i̶r̶ ̶u̶n̶i̶f̶o̶r̶m̶s̶ have a bright future ahead of them because of their young and talented backcourt.
All-Star point guard, John Wall, is already one of the best players at his position, He plays both ends of the court and does both well; Second Team All-Defense and second in assists per game in 2015. He’s also one of the league leaders in dance moves mastered, I mean c’mon, he had his own dance in college. At just 24 years of age, Wall has time to really improve his jumper, which is the one weakness in his game.
With Wall’s inability to consistently shoot from the perimeter, it’s a good thing his running mate, Bradley Beal, has one of the sweetest shooting strokes in the league. Beal, 22, is an up-and-coming two-guard who will join the elite of his position sooner rather than later. Beal does have injury concerns, but will still command top dollar once his restricted free agency beings. Expect Washington to match any offer he may receive if the Wizards allow him to test the market.
*Photo via USA Today
So with other players from the 2012 draft signing max extensions this summer, avoiding restricted free agency, why hasn’t Beal? Well, you see there’s a superstar who’s from the D.C. area who will hit the market next summer and Washington needs max cap space. That superstar is Kevin Durant, who could transform Washington into the favorite in the Eastern Conference.
Washington has set themselves up nicely for the addition of Durant. They have a bunch of players on expiring deals and others on non-guaranteed deals for 2016-17. They currently have all of their first round picks for upcoming drafts as well. Good job D.C.
Washington has roster uncertainty, but they have both Wall and center Marcin Gortat locked up, with Beal likely joining them with an extension. With lottery picks Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. also on the roster, this young core has promising potential. That potential, however, turns into legitimate championship hopes if KD makes his way back home.
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Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com, NBA.com, ESPN.com
Salary cap and contract information courtesy of Spotrac.com, Hoopshype.com, Basketballinsiders.com
Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com