After reaching the playoffs with Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook leading the way two seasons ago, the team failed to reach the postseason last year after Beal and new acquisition Kristaps Porzingis each missed half the season due to injury. Beal was signed to a five-year supermax contract in the offseason, and he will be leaned on to get the team back to the postseason after he was second in scoring in the NBA in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.
Washington finished the 2021-22 season at 35-47, which was good enough for fourth place in the NBA Southeast Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. They were eight games behind the Charlotte Hornets for a spot in the play-in tournament prior to the start of the playoffs. Beal, however, missed 42 games due to injury and probably wasn’t fully healthy for a lot of the games he did play, as evidenced by this chart.
|Season||Points Per Game||NBA Rank||Games Played|
|2018-19||25.6||13||82 out of 82|
|2019-20||30.5||2||57 out of 72|
|2020-21||31.3||2||60 out of 72|
|2021-22||23.2||21||40 out of 82|
The main takeaways from the Westbrook trade was getting the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, who averaged 17 points per game, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who added 13 PPG. The Wizards also turned Spencer Dinwiddie around during the middle of the season after acquiring him in the Westbrook trade and got Porzingis from Dallas. Porzingis averaged 22 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game in the 17 he played for Washington.
The team is all-in on Beal as its superstar, signing him to a five-year supermax contract extension this offseason. Washington was 24-26 when Beal went down for the season in late January, so if he remains healthy and Porzingis is also healthy and effective, it could be potent one-two punch for the Wizards.
The other big offseason move was trading Caldwell-Pope to Denver for Will Barton and Monte Morris. Barton should fit into the team’s offense, and while Morris was a backup point guard in Denver, he was seen as a locker room leader and a fan favorite.
In June’s NBA Draft, Washington selected Johnny Davis from Wisconsin with the 10th overall pick. Davis was named Big Ten Player of the Year last year for the Badgers after averaging nearly 20 points and eight rebounds per game and was the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year.
Washington Wizards Predictions
This is head coach Wes Unseld Jr.’s second year in charge. He was an assistant with the Wizards from 2005-11 before serving as an assistant elsewhere around the league for 10 more years before being hired for the main job to replace Scotty Brooks.
He has a young and talented team that should be better than the projections if Beal and Porzingis can stay healthy. Beal has been durable throughout most of his career. Injuries have been more of a concern for Porzingis, but expect him to be managed to avoid a lot of wear and tear. Kuzma can build on his solid season last year, Barton will be in a good role to contribute, and expect Davis to see plenty of playing time as a rookie.
We predict the team will gel and finish at 41-41, making the play-in tournament by finishing between the seventh and 10th seed in the Eastern Conference. FanDuel lists the over-under win total for Washington at 35.5, so we are confident that the Wizards will go over that total this season.
Washington opens its schedule at Indiana on Sept. 19. The home opener is two days later on Friday, Sept. 21 against Chicago. The All-Star break is from Feb. 17-23, and the final regular-season game is vs. Houston on April 9. You can see the full Wizards schedule here.
You can buy Wizards season tickets or single-game tickets on the team website. Their shop link is tied into the group that owns the Wizards, Washington Capitals, and Washington Mystics and can be accessed here.
The majority of Wizards games are broadcast on NBC Sports Washington, and select games are also broadcast on NBC 4. National games are on ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.
As explained here in greater detail, the state of Maryland does not yet have online sports betting in 2023. Currently, you can only bet on the Ravens in person at casinos, but Maryland is expected to have online sports betting ready by Jan. 1, 2023. That means you will be able to wager online from a device anywhere in the state of Maryland for over half of the Wizards’ NBA season plus any potential playoff games.
If you’re going to a Wizards game, there is good news: you can bet on Washington or any other sporting event at the 20,000-square-foot Caesars Sportsbook inside Capital One Arena — the Wizards’ home arena. Washington, D.C.’s laws also allow you to place online sports buts but only in certain locations.