NBA Predictions 2011-12: Stat Projections for Washington Wizards Starters
While there are a lot of new faces on the roster coming off of the bench, this will be the same initial starting lineup (barring injuries) that the team has employed since the departure of Gilbert Arenas.
After an extended offseason and brief preseason, the Wizards hope that continuity in their main unit will equal more success this season. In this slideshow I will highlight each starter and their likely statistical lines that can be expected this year.
18.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 9.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 43% FG, 82% FT
The debate on how much Wall will breakout this season has been discussed to death by myself and every other sports pundit across the country. Despite being a biased fan, I believe the above stat line is a fair assessment of the type of production to expect from Wall.
Despite reports of how much Wall has improved his jumper, the preseason showed that it is still unreliable at best and thus his field goal percentage should continue to be sub-45 percent.
After a year in the league and a better feel for the game there should be slight increases in both his scoring and assist numbers. Best case scenario—Wall should be close to a 20-10 player by season’s end.
Wall is still surrounded by raw talent and few strong scorers, therefore the progress of front-line players Andray Blatche and JaVale McGee would go a long way in helping the individual statistics in Wall’s game as well as more wins for the team in general.
19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 45% FG, 87% FT
Young is coming into the season with a chip on his shoulder after receiving zero offers in the rushed free-agent market. This could be good or terrible news depending on whether Young continues to improve while buying into the team concepts (offensive and defensive) or becomes selfish and plays for individual statistics and a big contract next year.
Either way, I expect Young’s scoring output to increase and could even top 20 points per game on a Wizards squad with few scorers. So far in his career he has been pedestrian in every other statistical category but hopefully he can do his best to facilitate others when needed and rebound better for someone who is 6'7" with above-average athleticism.
With so much to prove in his second straight contract season, Nick Young’s performance will be crucial if the Wizards are going to win many games this year. Jordan Crawford will loom in the background and hopefully push Nick Young to progress or lose his starting spot.
9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 44% FG, 85% FT
While it is hard to take the preseason seriously when it comes to predicting how a player will end up doing, Rashard Lewis looked worse at full-strength now then when he was hurt for parts of last season.
Rashard has said all the right things in interviews, but it looks like he may have given up on playing hard on a rebuilding team like the Wizards.
With rookies Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton breathing down his neck, I’m positive that Rashard Lewis will lose his starting job by season’s end.
At this point, the Wizards will do well to try to move him after the season as a big expiring contract or just amnesty him to create even more cap space for the 2012 draft and offseason.
18.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 block, 46-47% FG, 79% FT.
The Wizards staff and fans alike have been hoping for a breakout season from Blatche since he took the starting PF reigns with the departure of fan favorite Antawn Jamison.
With his most drama-free offseason of his career, Blatche is looking to back up the talk and become the dominant post player that his talent suggests he can be.
While Trevor Booker and a slimmed down Kevin Seraphin are battling behind him, there is little room for error as long as Flip Saunders is willing to hold Blatche accountable.
As the season goes on I could see Blatche’s statistics either go above or below what I predicted based on whether or not he truly buys into playing smart and tough on both ends of the court, with this prediction as the middle-ground.
Despite his boneheaded nature, Blatche has improved his scoring and rebounding averages each year in the league. While he may not become the leader that the front office hopes he can, his individual numbers will most likely continue the upward trend.
14.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 3.0 blocks, 52% FG, 62% FT
JaVale McGee is hands down the most athletic center in the league not named Dwight Howard—and even then, it is pretty close.
McGee made strides last year, starting and playing in 79 games and averaging 10 and 8 while being one of the top shot blockers in the league.
He was the most impressive player on the Wizards this preseason and it is clear that he has the ability to be a 20-10 player in the near future.
Playing in the last year of his contract, he will certainly try to show that he has developed a semblance of a post game while attempting to be a complete defender instead of just a shotblocker.
Ultimately, the Wizards have the least depth at center and McGee will be given ample playing time to prove his worth to the Wizards and the rest of the league, with at least a few teams looking to bid for his services come free-agency.
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