The NBA Trade Deadline and All-Star Weekend have come and gone, so that means we’re in the home stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season. In this serious post-All-Star Break, we’ll go over the outlook for every team in the NBA. Here, we’ll provide a short glimpse at championship odds and playoff chances for each team. Also highlighted are key injuries to note and a fantasy basketball player to watch the rest of the season.
Where do the Washington Wizards stand at the All-Star Break?
Playoff Chances: 2.8%
Championship Odds: +25000
Division Odds: +50000
Conference Championship winner: +25000
The Washington Wizards have dug themselves out of an early-season hole in the East, but it may only hurt than more in the long run. The team sports one of the best offenses in the NBA, ranking 6th in points per game (115.6) and 13th in offensive efficiency. The Wiz also play at the 4th highest pace. Their issue? Ummmm, defense? They just don’t really play any of it. Washington is dead last in defensive rating and opponent points per game. We’ve seen some teams endure this type of style, but not with this type of roster.
The Wizards have been without PG John Wall all season, which obviously hurts. Bradley Beal has put together an All-Star worthy season, but wasn’t selected to the game. Outside of those two, it’s a group of mostly veteran role players and youngsters. Davis Bertans has stepped up and is one of the top 3-point shooters in the NBA. Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura have formed a decent young front court.
The odds of the Wizards making the playoffs are slim, plus they’ve played well enough to sit ninth in the NBA Draft Lottery if the season ended today. That wouldn’t give them a good shot at the No. 1 overall pick and they’d likely be picking toward the middle of the first round in a weak draft. The Wizards are sort of in no-man’s land and it’s not the best situation for the franchise.
Prediction: Wizards miss playoffs and lose out on landing a Top 5 pick in the draft.
Key Injuries for Washington Wizards
Anzejs Pasecniks, C (hip) — DTD
Thomas Bryant, C (foot) — DTD
Garrison Mathews, SF (ankle) — DTD
John Wall, PG (Achilles) — out for season
Right now, the only injury impacting the Wizards directly is Bryant, who had to miss extended time due to the foot injury earlier in the year. Wall isn’t expected to return this season, so we’ll have to wait until 2020-21. The other two names mentioned aren’t really impactful players, so again, not much to cover here for the Wizards. Beal has been relatively healthy all season and he’s the most important player for Washington. I wouldn’t wish injuries upon anyone or any team, but the Wizards really need to start thinking about tanking. Resting some key players down the stretch to have them fresh for next season makes some sense. The younger players like Brown and Hachimura should get as much playing time as they can handle.
Fantasy basketball spotlight: Rui Hachimura
Speaking of Hachimura, he’s been one of the more underrated rookies this season. At the break, he’s averaging 13.9 points and 6.0 rebounds, shooting 48.7% from the floor. His 3-point shooting will need some work, but he’s capable of knocking down a shot here and there. Mostly he needs to keep working on his rebounding and inside game. If Hachimura can turn into a solid 3-4 for the Wizards, it’ll go a long way in getting Washington back to the playoffs. As for fantasy, like I mentioned above, it would be wise for the Wiz to get Hachimura as much playing time as possible. Bryant’s injury helps with that and I’d consider Hachimura a player to watch in season-long down the stretch.
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