NBA Preview: Washington Wizards

Editor’s note: This is the 17th of Sam Amico’s look at all 30 NBA teams heading into the 2013-14 season.

Coach: Randy Wittman (eighth season overall, 147-291)

Last season:
29-53, did not make playoffs.

Projected starters: C Marcin Gortat; PF Nene Hilario; SF Trevor Ariza; SG Bradley Beal; PG John Wall.

Key reserves: SF Otto Porter (r); SG Martell Webster; PF Trevor Booker; PF Al Harrington; C Kevin Seraphin; PG Eric Maynor; SF Chris Singleton; G Garrett Temple; PF Jan Vesely.

New faces: Gortat, Porter, Harrington, Maynor, SG Glen Rice Jr. (r).

Scouting the Wizards

Trading Emeka Okafor to Phoenix and landing Gortat made sense for a team that could use some extra scoring punch in the frontcourt. … Gortat probably doesn’t take the game as seriously as he should, but he can run the floor and finish. When Wall is your point guard, those are two good attributes. …

Wall is perhaps the fastest man in the league this side of Chicago’s Derrick Rose. … But Wall remains unproven from the perimeter and isn’t a great setup man. … The overall athleticism and outside shooting of the determined Beal will only help Wall become the point man the Wizards hoped for when drafting him No. 1 overall. …

But no matter how you spin it, Wall and Beal are right up there with Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters as an electrifying and ascending backcourt duo. … Sources familiar with the team have said Beal is extremely focused and ready for a breakout season. …

Nene is inconsistent but when he’s good, he’s usually very good. He should benefit from not having to play center as a fill-in for the oft-injured Okafor. Nene seems to be at his best a power forward. …

Ariza defends and does all the little things well. Ideally, Porter will get healthy and take over the starting small forward spot. … Porter is already a better fit than Ariza. Porter has a reputation for being unselfish, knocking down open shots and defending. He doesn’t need the ball to be effective. …

Webster is a nice spot-up shooter who is capable of big nights. But other than him, the bench lacks scoring punch, unless you count on Harrington becoming a major factor. …

While the Wizards played hard toward the end of last season and have some capable athletes, it remains to be seen if anyone steps forward and becomes a consistent leader/scorer. There’s still a little doubt about should have the ball at the end of games. And there’s still plenty of doubt about who can actually deliver. …

Wittman often doesn’t receive enough credit, mainly becomes some of his previous teams have quit on him. … He doesn’t seem to have that threatening “my way or nobody’s way” edge owned by so many successful coaches. … But the Wizards played their best when everyone said Wittman was on the hot seat, so there’s really no reason to doubt him now.

Prediction: 37-45.

FOX Sports: Wizards home

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO