The Washington Wizards missed the playoffs last season, but they have high hopes for the 2022-23 campaign with a fully healthy Bradley Beal available.
Washington's starting five should look a lot better this season following the addition of former Denver Nuggets veteran Will Barton and a full season of Kristaps Porzingis, who was acquired from the Dallas Mavericks last year.
In addition, the Wizards selected Johnny Davis 10th overall in the 2022 NBA draft out of Wisconsin, and he's slated to be the team's starting point guard to accompany Beal at shooting guard.
Davis had an impressive 2021-22 season for the Badgers, averaging 19.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 31 games while shooting 42.7 percent from the floor and 30.6 percent from deep.
The Wizards will be hoping his game translates at the next level, or they'll be spending another season searching for that extra piece to put alongside Beal.
This will also mark Washington's second season under head coach Wes Unseld Jr., who was hired ahead of the 2021-22 season to replace Scottie Brooks. If his roster can remain healthy, he'll be expected to guide the team to the postseason.
All that said, here's a look at Washington's 2022-23 schedule, championship odds, top matchups and season forecast.
2022-23 Wizards Schedule Details
Season Opener: Oct. 19 at Indiana Pacers
Championship Odds: +16000 (via FanDuel)
Full Schedule: NBA.com
Dallas Mavericks (First Game at American Airlines Center: Jan. 24)
While the Mavericks visited the Wizards toward the end of last season, Porzingis will make his highly anticipated return to Dallas on Jan. 24 in what should be an exciting matchup.
The Wizards acquired Porzingis and a second-round pick in the 2022 NBA draft from the Mavericks last season in exchange for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans.
Porzingis had spent two-and-a-half seasons in Dallas before being moved to Washington, and a lot of his time with the Mavericks was marred by injuries. In 17 games with the Wizards last season, he averaged 22.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 blocks.
The 27-year-old will be looking to prove to the Mavericks that they made a mistake by trading him, though it seems as if he's a better fit in Washington anyway.
Boston Celtics (First Game: Oct. 30)
One of the most difficult matchups of the season for the Wizards will come against the Boston Celtics. However, it's always a good battle between lifelong friends Beal and Jayson Tatum, who grew up together in St. Louis.
The Wizards defeated the Celtics in their first two meetings of the 2021-22 campaign. There's no reason to believe they can't compete with the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
Health will be a huge factor for the Wizards during the 2022-23 campaign, and it could be a determining factor in whether the team reaches the playoffs.
Beal missed half of the 2021-22 campaign after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. Porzingis, meanwhile, has struggled with injuries throughout his career, and Kuzma also missed time last season because of injury.
Making sure Beal, Porzingis and Kuzma remain healthy will need to be a priority for Unseld, and if that means resting them every so often, then so be it.
If the Wizards can remain healthy, they could compete for one of the lower seeds in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They could land anywhere from the sixth seed to the eighth seed.
Record Prediction: 46-36
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