Can Washington Wizards Be a Playoff Team Next Year?

Eric EdelmanCorrespondent IApril 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 16: Bradley Beal #3 and and John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards talk during a free throw in the first half against the Phoenix Suns at Verizon Center on March 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Wizards aren't the worst team in the NBA, but they're certainly one of the unluckiest.

Injuries to John Wall, Bradley Beal, and others have absolutely ravaged their chemistry and personnel throughout the season, and for a team struggling to rebuild, the pervasive health woes have made that process even more difficult.

If you're already a team that lacks depth like the Wizards, you need all of the little things to go your way to have a chance, and that includes staying healthy.

Before their March 23rd game against the Golden State Warriors, the Wizards were the owners of an abysmal 25-43 record.

Despite the terrible record, this isn't a bad or untalented team, but rather a team that has not been resilient in the face of injuries. When healthy, this is a team with a serviceable frontcourt, and a pair of talented guards who have shown a lot of encouraging chemistry with one another.

If you're just looking at their team's name and not considering the ability of John Wall and Bradley Beal combined with the interior presence of Nene and Emeka Okafor, then it explains why you might be counting them out.

Two teams that were in the NBA Finals last season also counted them out, but they soon learned this is a Wizards team that has the ability to beat anybody.

Don't think so? Just ask the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder.


Aside from wins against big time competition, they have shown the ability to put together stretches of good games when at full strength this season.

A perfect month to look at to see proof of this is February when the Wizards actually had their core talent available.

They finished 7-5 that month and also beat key Eastern Conference opponents like the New York Knicks, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, and Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards are also above .500 in the month of March, and no matter who the wins are against, the Wizards have proven to be competitive and consistent at peak strength. 

So now that they're looking ahead to the Draft Lottery and 2013-14 season, can the Wizards and their fanbase expect a trip to the playoffs next season?

Considering how well they have played against the league's better teams at full health, then it would be safe to say the Wizards could at least sneak in as a seventh or eighth seed.

Although they're trapped in the same conference as the reigning champs, the Wizards have the good fortune of being in the most open conference as far as seeding is concerned.

This season the Milwaukee Bucks are an even .500 and are clinging to the eighth seed, and if the Wizards can just chip away next season by staying a few games above .500, they could very well clinch an playoff spot in similar fashion.

Another fascinating stat is the records of Milwaukee and Washington against teams above and below .500.

Milwaukee is 13-23 and Washington is 13-22 versus teams at or above .500, but against losing teams Milwaukee is 21-12 whereas Washington is 12-20.

Washington is also 2-1 against Milwaukee this season with their only loss to Milwaukee being without Nene or John Wall.

Had Washington been healthy, who knows how many easy wins they would've had, but clearly, if a team like Milwaukee is eight games ahead of ninth seed Philadelphia, there's no doubt the Wizards can be competitive as well.

Assuming they can stay healthy and their talented duo can continue to mature and develop chemistry, expect the Wizards to scrape by with a playoff opportunity in 2014.