Coaching Carousel: Washington Wizards
Who said Merry-Go-Rounds can’t be fun for adults? Well if you’re an NBA coach it might not be, but for us at Off The Glass they sure are. Let’s take a look at who's new and who’s through in this year’s coaching carousel.
Out With The Old: Randy Whitman – 10 years exp 278-406
In With The New: Scott Brooks – 7 years exp – 338-207
What Happened: After a mild surprise playoff berth the previous two year the Wizards defined average with a 41-41 record. This was a major disappointment for a team with a solid amount of talent to fail to crack the top 8 in a weak Eastern Conference. When things like this happen, coaches lose jobs and this was true for Coach Randy Whitman, with former OKC darling Scott Brooks hired to do some back tracking to find success.
What Could Happen:In today’s NBA a team with a top 10 overall talent, several reliable role players and a veteran rim protector, should win a lot of games. John Wall is too good a player to not be balling in late April & May. As you cycle down the Wizards roster the amount of talent would indicate a team with a much higher ceiling than the 39ish wins they have been hovering around.
The aforementioned Wall is my pick for the best Point Guard in the East. His 20,10 & 5 stat line from last season was epic and his all-out attack of the basket in the fast break will be sure to remind Brooks his days coaching Russell Westbrook. While Wall should be a constant the team has many unproved variables that their success will hinge on. Bradley Beal is really good, but the Florida product is going to need to play more than 50 games a year to take full advantage of this. Beal has underrated bounce and in a league that values shooting 3’s, his 39% career average is an asset. 70 games from him and a healthy Wall gives our nation’s capital the 2nd best backcourt in the land. In addition to Beal, Markieff Morris is a guy who could make some noise. Despite being a complete weirdo, Morris is a unique talent with great vision as a passer from a 6’10 guy. Skillsets like this don’t grow on trees and if the new coach can deal with his childish demeanor, he could be a real player for the Wizards.
In addition to those big names, guys like Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat are solid NBA starters. Gortat brings the shot blocking and toughness you need from a center and Porter’s Georgetown smarts and scrappy defense are great additions. Combine this with Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson and Trey Burke coming off the bench and you have a pretty solid group
Prediction: 50-32 _ Beal’s health and Morris’s character are two HUGE unknowns, but if they work out, I really like Washington. A Wall,Beal,Porter,Morris Gortat starting 5 could be a lot worse, combined with a weak Eastern Conference and a coach with playoff experience is a recipe to make the playoffs. I think this is going to happen, and that the Washington Wizards are my pick for the biggest sleeper of the 16-17 NBA season.