Washington's younger players will play the biggest role in the team's success or failures this season.
The Washington Wizards only won 29 games last year, but they certainly aren't acting like it.
John Wall, among other players on the team, have exuded confidence all offseason, especially during recent interviews.
At Washington's media day, players expressed high expectations for the team, and Wall recently told B/R columnist Howard Beck that he'd be writing "playoffs" on his shoes before every game this season.
With a solid mix of veteran leadership and young talent, the Wizards could be primed for a playoff run in a weakened Eastern Conference.
But do they have the personnel to make it happen? Here's a ranking of the players, from worst to best, who can take the Wizards to the postseason for the first time in five seasons.
Glen Rice Jr. has been more involved in the Wizards' game plan with Otto Porter Jr. injured but is making the most of his opportunity.
15. Jan Vesely
Vesely has done virtually nothing to show that he is worthy of anything more than the last spot. Although he's a decent defensive asset to have off the bench, Vesely can't do anything on offense. In 30 minutes against the Chicago Bulls earlier in the preseason, Vesely went 1-for-5 from the floor but did register three blocks. For now, Vesely doesn't seem to be the answer at power forward for Washington.
14. Chris Singleton
While Singleton plays every once in a while at power forward, he's primarily a small forward. At that position, he is fourth on the depth chart and is almost as low at power forward. In 57 games last season, Singleton barely broke 38 percent field-goal shooting and shot less than 60 percent from the charity stripe. At this point, he isn't more than a plug-in guy for the Wizards.
13. Garrett Temple
Temple is the primary backup shooting guard unless Martell Webster is moved over from small forward but wouldn't fill that role on any other team. Temple is a career 39.6 percent field-goal shooter, which would explain why he's played on six different teams in three seasons. Although he started 36 games for the Wizards at guard, he's a less talented player than most of the players on the roster.
12. Glen Rice Jr.
By the end of training camp, Rice could move further up this list. With fellow rookie Otto Porter Jr. out of the lineup with an injury, Rice has gotten plenty of opportunities in the preseason. He tied the game with a last-second putback in the first preseason game and most recently scored eight points in 16 minutes against the Miami Heat. Keep an eye on Rice, as he could become a huge steal for the Wizards.
11. Eric Maynor
Maynor was a good signing for the Wizards in the offseason and is an upgrade at backup point guard over A.J. Price. But should John Wall miss time, fans shouldn't feel particularly comfortable about Maynor starting. In his four years in the NBA, he's only averaged 4.5 points on 40 percent shooting, and the Wizards are his fourth team. He's not a terrible player, but he's also not incredibly effective on offense outside of his passing ability.
Power forward Trevor Booker may get some extra time on the floor with Emeka Okafor out, and the Wizards are looking for a replacement on defense.
Trevor Booker may be the most underutilized player on Washington's roster but mainly because of his ineffectiveness on offense.
In 48 games last season, Booker just eclipsed five points per game in an average of 18.5 minutes but did average five rebounds.
With the center position taken care of, Booker may not see much time but could as soon as someone has to miss time.
Booker got the opportunity to start against the Miami Heat in Tuesday's preseason game and scored eight points in 16 minutes while picking up five rebounds.
As long as Okafor is out, Booker could get some legitimate minutes at power forward, especially with Vesely's poor offensive performance this preseason.
Kevin Seraphin is the early favorite to get the minutes at center left behind by Emeka Okafor.
After news of Emeka Okafor's injury surfaced, Seraphin seemed to be the early favorite to pick up some minutes at center. But following the Gortat trade, Seraphin will mainly be backing him up.
A young talent, Seraphin has only started in 30 games in his three seasons with the Wizards but is able to produce on offense under the basket.
In 21.8 minutes per game last season, Seraphin averaged 9.1 points on 46.1 percent shooting. However, Seraphin is pretty ineffective on defense, as he's shown consistently throughout his career.
He failed to take advantage of Nene's absence last season with an ankle injury and really slid during the second part of the season. For the last two months of the season, head coach Randy Wittman stuck with Chris Singleton and Trevor Booker at power forward rather than Seraphin.
Even with Gortat on the roster, Seraphin will still be able to pick up 15 minutes or so per game, and could play some power forward if Nene sustains an injury.
Rookie Otto Porter Jr. has some risk associated with him at his young age but could turn out to be the small forward of the future for the Wizards.
Earlier on in the offseason, Otto Porter Jr. was much higher up in this ranking because of his promise right out of the draft.
However, he has stumbled out of the gate for the Wizards and doesn't seem to have a defined role on the team heading into the season.
Porter was expected to play small forward for Washington, but it brought back Martell Webster in the offseason, and veteran Trevor Ariza is still on the team as well.
In the summer league, Porter only shot 30 percent from the floor in three games before missing the remainder with an injury. He is still out of the lineup with a hip injury and has yet to practice with the team or play in a preseason game.
Now, Webster and Ariza seem to be the two main small forwards for the Wizards, leaving Porter the third man at that position with Glen Rice Jr. still on the roster.
Porter has the potential to be a sizable disappointment for the Wizards, but he's only 20 and has plenty of time to prove himself.
Veteran Trevor Ariza could possibly be the starting small forward by the start of the season.
By the beginning of the season, Trevor Ariza could very well be starting at small forward by the first game of the season.
Although he could be traded halfway through the season because he's on an expiring contract, Ariza has been playing better than Martell Webster in practice and in preseason games.
In Washington's game against the Heat, Ariza started at small forward and scored 13 points in 29 minutes, adding on five assists and nine rebounds.
If head coach Randy Wittman wants to go with a defense-first approach, Ariza seems to be the obvious choice to start.
Even coming off the bench, Ariza brings valuable experience to the Wizards but really needs to improve on his shot selection (Ariza is a career 42.9 percent shooter).
Despite the possibility of being a starter, Ariza's offensive struggles hold him back from passing the likes of the next six players.
Big man Al Harrington was brought in during the offseason to stretch the floor and provide some offense off the bench.
Washington's biggest acquisition in the offseason, Al Harrington gives the Wizards a whole new dimension to their offense.
Assuming he can stay healthy, Harrington provides a spark off the bench as a stretch-four forward who can shoot the three.
Harrington will presumably be Washington's sixth man, and stated during the offseason that he doesn't feel comfortable starting.
After getting off to a slow start in the preseason, going 0-for-3 from behind the three-point line in the first game against the Brooklyn Nets, he turned it around against the Miami Heat, going 3-for-6 from behind the arc, scoring 14 points in 17 minutes.
Besides Martell Webster, the Wizards don't have a quality three-point shooter, and Harrington now allows the them to stretch the floor more, opening up lanes for John Wall and breaking the dual-statue combination of Okafor and Nene of last season.
Last season, Gortat averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds, both down from the previous two seasons with the Suns.
However, he averaged his highest number of blocks of his career and shot 52.1 percent from the floor.
Mainly a low-post scorer, Gortat plays mainly under the basket, but does have a solid jumper from mid range, especially when he's on the sides of the basket.
By the second half of the season, Gortat will be 30, so his minutes may have to be cut back from his previous two seasons in Phoenix, but he still is one of the best frontcourt players for the Wizards.
Nene has had a past history of injury, but when Emeka Okafor is healthy, the Wizards should be able to cut down on his minutes.
Despite a history of missing serious time during the season, Nene is still one of the most important players on Washington's roster.
With Marcin Gortat at center now, Nene will be able to play power forward mainly, his natural position.
When he's healthy, Nene is a great defensive player who plays under the hoop and makes most of his points on putbacks.
A career 55 percent shooter, Nene has good shot selection and is able to make it to the foul line, attempting 4.4 free throws per game last season.
The Wizards are paying him as the No. 2 or No. 3 player on the team, but because of his history of injuries, he isn't the most reliable player around.
Washington's breakout player last season, Martell Webster caught on in the second half of the season.
After struggling to break out of mediocrity, Martell Webster broke out in the second half of the season, having a career year on offense.
Webster was an obvious target for team president Ernie Grunfeld in the offseason, since he was re-signed for $22 million almost immediately after the draft.
In three preseason games, Webster has scored 33 points, going 3-for-6 from behind the arc against the Bulls.
Besides Al Harrington, Webster is the best option from three for the Wizards but is a worse option on defense compared to Trevor Ariza.
If the trio of Webster, John Wall and Bradley Beal can get going, the Wizards offense is going to be significantly better than last year, and that's without factoring in Harrington off the bench.
Bradley Beal has started off the preseason strong, after posting a solid rookie year out of Florida last season.
Bradley Beal and John Wall are the future of the Washington Wizards, and at this point, Beal is the second-best player on the team.
During his rookie season out of Florida, Beal proved he could be the primary scorer when John Wall was injured and meshed well with Wall when he returned.
The 20-year-old wasted no time getting his momentum back, posting 16 against the Chicago Bulls in the second preseason game and 29 in the most recent game against the Miami Heat.
Beal mainly struggled with his shot selection last season and definitely felt the pressure of not having Wall on the court during the first half of the season.
But if everyone can stay healthy, the one-two punch of Beal and Wall could be one of the best in the NBA in a matter of years.
After receiving a max contract in the offseason, John Wall is ready to lead the Wizards to the playoffs.
Point guard John Wall is undoubtedly the best player on the Washington Wizards.
The Wizards seemed to think so, giving him a max contract in the offseason, and Wall has proven time and time again that he's capable of leading an NBA team.
After returning from an injury that kept him out for about two and a half months, Wall finished the season with career highs in points, field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage. He capped off the season by scoring a career-high 47 points against the Memphis Grizzlies on April 3.
Because he has virtually no three-point shot, Wall has only gotten better at driving to the hoop, and having Al Harrington as an outside shooter should open up the opportunity for him to increase his assist totals.
At only 23, Wall is already one of the top 10 point guards in the league and could soon find himself in the top five if he's able to lead the Wizards to the playoffs.