5 Things Every Fan Needs to Know About Washington Wizards for 2013-14 Season
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No matter your level of fandom or connection to the Washington Wizards this season, it's a good year to be following the team.
John Wall and the rest of the young team are preparing to push for the postseason this year, as Wall looks to become one of the top point guards in the NBA to legitimize the max contract he received in the offseason.
For long-time fans of the franchise who are currently disgruntled about the poor performance of the team the past few years, no need to worry. The Wizards brought in some new faces this offseason to mix things up and to build a young core of players around Wall.
Brand new to the Wizards? Then enjoy seeing the best team Washington has put on the court in close to five years.
New fans and die-hards alike, this is a pivotal season for the Wizards. These are five things to watch for when the team takes the court for the first time on Oct. 30.
All stats are from ESPN unless otherwise noted
Power Forwards and Center Will Constantly Be Changing Roles
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Prior to Wednesday afternoon, the center position seemed pretty cut-and-dry.
Emeka Okafor was the starter, and Nenê would be joining him down low as the power forward.
But once news broke that Okafor is out indefinitely with a neck injury, it brought up all sorts of questions.
Now, Nenê could find himself as the starting center, leaving either Kevin Seraphin or Trevor Booker to play power forward.
Al Harrington is on the roster, but he's not a true starting power forward. It's conceivable that he could get some starts, but Harrington's stretch style makes him a better bench player.
Nenê could also stay at power forward, and Seraphin could be the starting center.
When Okafor is able to come back, it brings up even more questions. Jan Vesely is still on the roster as a power forward, but isn't likely to get very many minutes. But if everyone is healthy, does he get minutes over Booker, simply because the Wizards are desperate to get him time and hopefully improve his trade value?
No matter the outcome, the players appearing as power forwards and centers every night will constantly be changing.
Otto Porter Is Not Going to Be Ignored
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In all the talk about John Wall's max contract, the signing of Al Harrington and now the injuries to Emeka Okafor and Chris Singleton, the newcomer Otto Porter seems to be forgotten about.
Porter, who was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, isn't going to get the starting job at small forward, according to J. Michael of Comcast SportsNet Washington.
Most people expected Martell Webster to be starting, but that doesn't mean Porter can't make a difference for the Wizards.
He's not the most athletic player and doesn't have great straight-line speed, but he is a solid passer who makes plays for his teammates, and he shot 48 percent from the floor in his sophomore year with Georgetown.
Porter averaged just over 16 points and seven rebounds per game that same year, and was a 42 percent shooter from three.
It's also often forgotten about that he is only 20, so he has plenty of room to grow. Porter won't be putting up 16 points every night, but he'll be a great role player for Washington to have on its bench, and he will be a major factor if its offense is playing well.
John Wall Will Make the All Star Game
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After missing out on the game in each of this three years in the league, John Wall will find himself playing in the All Star game in 2014.
Wall has the best supporting cast he's had since coming into the NBA, and every year he seems to be getting better and better.
He posted career-high numbers in points, free-throw percentage and field-goal percentage for the 2012-13 season and recorded 7.6 assists per game.
With Al Harrington on the team, Wall's mid-range shooting numbers should improve, and Bradley Beal and Martell Webster's numbers both improved in the second half of the season when Wall was back from injury.
It's been a long time since the Wizards have had a basketball icon, but Wall could be the perfect candidate to bring the NBA spotlight back to the NBA, and becoming an All-Star would be a great place to start.
Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman's Jobs Depend on This Season
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Drafting Jan Vesely. Trading away the No. 5 draft pick for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. Extending Andre Blatche. The Gilbert Arenas debacle.
These are just a few of the things that Wizards fans are upset at team president Ernie Grunfeld for, and having a losing season this year could lead to his demise.
Grunfeld has been around since 2003, and made the playoffs four years in a row from 2004 to 2008, losing in the first round three of those times.
There have also been four head coaches under Grunfeld, most recently Randy Wittman, who "led" the team to a 20-46 record during the 2011-12 season.
Wittman is on the last year of a two-year deal, so he can't afford for the Wizards to miss the playoffs either.
If Washington flops again in the Eastern Conference, Grunfeld and Wittman's time will both be up in the nation's capitol.
The Wizards Will Make the Playoffs
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The good news for Ernie Grunfeld and Randy Wittman is that they could very well keep their jobs because the Wizards have a great chance to make the playoffs.
Assuming everyone can stay healthy (which so far, hasn't exactly happened) the Wizards will be able to make it in as a No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the East.
With John Wall leading the team, Al Harrington coming off the bench to score big three-pointers and the improved play of Martell Webster, this team is far better than the current Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics, two teams that made the postseason last year.
Having Bradley Beal back for his second year gives the team a solid shooting guard, and draft picks Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. could give the team a spark off the bench.
The East is also a much easier conference to navigate than the West, so making the playoffs is an easier feat for the Wizards than a team like the Utah Jazz.
Washington will be back in the postseason this year, and John Wall and Co. have a chance to even surprise a few perennial conference finals teams as the year goes on.