Predicting Disney: Washington Wizards
Trouble in the Bubble: Life without Bradley Beal
If Davis Bertans’ decision to sit out was the death knell, then Bradley Beal’s rotator cuff injury could be the final nail in the Washington Wizards’ coffin.
Washington will look more like a Summer League Team in the Disney Bubble with so many of their top players unavailable. This spells trouble for the 24-40 Wizards, a team sitting ninth in the East and trailing Orlando by 5 ½ for the final playoff berth in the East.
It appears the cash-strapped Wizards have made a calculated move of protecting Beal from further injury, thus giving up this season for the future, the prudent thing to do. A trip to the Draft Lottery could help the Wiz add talent to the core of Beal and John Wall next season.
In the event that a miracle of biblical proportions happens and the Wizards do make the playoffs, the team will slide down to the 15th spot in the Draft. This would mean forfeiting a 5.7% chance to get into the top four with a 4.5% shot at the No. 1 pick. (Last year, the New Orleans Pelicans started the Lottery at ninth spot before vaulting to the top and landed Zion Williamson.)
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s hone in on the Wizards remaining regular season games and make some predictions about life for Washington inside the Disney Bubble.
Eight Game Schedule
July 31 vs Phoenix Suns - Prediction: Loss
The Phoenix Suns also sit six games out of the playoffs in their conference, but are expected to compete like a bat out of hell. Ricky Rubio and Devin Booker will run rings around the remaining backcourt of the Wizards, while the Suns’ frontline of DeAndre Ayton, Aaron Baynes and Dario Saric will be too much for Thomas Bryant and rookie Rui Hachimura.
August 2 vs Brooklyn Nets - Prediction: Loss
The Wizards have a mental edge over the Brooklyn Nets after winning their first two meetings this season but without Beal, Washington will be hard-pressed to get three in a row.
This game could give the Wiz their only shot at an upset, as the Nets will be without their top four players – Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie. The Nets still have the superior lineup with Caris LeVert and Joe Harris.
August 3 vs Indiana Pacers - Prediction: Loss
Even without Victor Oladipo, the Indiana Pacers will still be the overwhelming favorites in this game. It’s safe to say that T.J. Leaf will see minutes in this game.
August 5 vs Philadelphia 76ers - Prediction: Loss
This game is going to be ugly for the Wizards. While the 76ers can have the luxury to rest their stars, head coach Brett Brown may go full strength and try to build playoff chemistry after a long layoff.
August 7 vs New Orleans Pelicans - Prediction: Loss
Zion Williamson will have a monster game. Brandon Ingram will be in the zone. There’s really not much this depleted Wizards team can do against a young, healthy, athletic club like the Pelicans.
August 9 vs Oklahoma City Thunder - Prediction: Loss
With one day's rest heading into this game, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will have fresh legs and that spells big trouble for the Wizards. OKC has its own playoff seeding to protect, this game won’t be close.
August 11 Milwaukee Bucks - Prediction: Loss
Maybe the Bucks will give Giannis Antetokounmpo an extra day off as they wind down before the playoffs but still that won’t give the Wizards any chance to score an upset against the best team in the East. The Lopez twins could have a milestone here with a twin double-double game.
August 13 vs Boston Celtics - Prediction: Loss
With the seedings fairly settled, the Celtics will probably rest or sparingly use their top players. That means, it’s time to unleash Time Lord.
Robert Williams III is headed for a fun matchup with Bryant inside while the likes of Brad Wanamaker and Semi Ojeleye get the chance to gain more confidence heading into the playoffs.
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